Nelson’s Dockyard

Having waved au revoir to my sister on the 27th December we sailed the next day from Deshaies on Guadeloupe to Falmouth Harbour on Antigua. The sailing was good with Kool Kat averaging 7 knts over the 44.5 nm, taking us just under 6 hrs. We had some 17 knt squalls and I felt a little under the weather but nothing I couldn’t handle 🙂

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We dropped the hook and immediately joined friends from S/Vs Slow Waltz and Serenade in a walk to Shirley Heights, which affords beautiful views over English and Falmouth Harbours as well as boasting the best vantage point for sunsets. Shirley Heights is a military complex which houses many buildings including an old Signal Station. History states flags were flown by day and guns used at night to convey messages to Fort George in St John’s, over 10kms away. Sunday is party night at Shirley Heights with bands playing, bbqs cooking and drinks flowing, so we joined hundreds of cruise ship participants and danced the night away! We even sang and danced to Men At Work’s “A Land Downunder”!

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View over English (foreground) and Falmouth Harbours from Shirley Heights
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L-R: Jo & Gregg from Serenade, Guillaume & Gwen from Slow Waltz amongst hundreds of cruise ship tourists.
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The 1st of two bands for the night, a tin-pan band.

Like many Caribbean islands, Antigua, since first discovered in 1492 by Christopher Columbus, has been colonised by the Spanish, French, Dutch and most recently, the English. The end of WWII marked the beginning of the road to independence, with  independence finally gained in 1981. The English Harbour Dockyard, more commonly known as Nelson’s Dockyard, is a major Caribbean yachting centre. It has been restored to house businesses, restaurants and hotels and is a hive of activity. The Lord Nelson sailing vessel, pictured below, was purpose-built to enable able-bodied and physically disabled people to sail together.

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Sail lofts at Nelson’s Dockyard. (Aussies note the gumtree!)
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The Engineers’ Offices now used as a modern hotel.
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S/V Lord Nelson

The next day our good friends, Dalynn & Glenn from s/v Amoray, arrived in port and we went hiking with them and their guests, Reed and Cathy. It was a beautiful hike from Falmouth to English Harbour and ended at Fort Berkeley near Nelson’s Dockyard.

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Love these tree roots embedded in stonework at Fort Berkeley

I had to include one photo of the many super yachts here in Antigua. Air is 81m long, 11m wide, has 21 crew and, of course, comes with her own personal helicopter. She’s currently available for charter at 750,000 Euros/week, that’s approximately $1,089,900AU PER WEEK! If you’d like to check out more before booking her, click here.

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Super yacht, Air, with personal chopper.

We ended the year on a high, with friends. We started the night on s/v Nightwatch, courtesy of Mary and Ralph, and then moved to Kool Kat to watch the fireworks from our trampoline. Kool Kat’s dance floor got a good workout and the singing was heard across the anchorage right into the wee hours of the morning! It was a great night and we shared it with Serenade (Jo and Gregg), Nahanni River (Wendy and Doug), Amoray (Dalynn and Glen), Nightwatch (Mary and Ralph) and Slow Waltz (Gwen and Guillaume)!

Happy New Year to you all and we hope your 2015 is full of happiness and joy! Sue & Mal.

 

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