Our time in Antigua was always destined to be a re-stock and re-crew stop. Our first crew, Ann and Friso, left us on April 29th and our new crew CP and Nena joined us the same day. While we were in Jolly Harbour we decided to take a trip down to English harbour and Nelson’s Dockyard.
When we arrived in Antigua, myself, Dad, Ann and Friso had overnighted in English Harbour to have a break from being at anchor each night and give us chance to get off the boat whenever we wanted with much more ease. Our day trip was after they had left, mum returned and our new crew arrived. Nelson’s Dockyard is a beautiful place, full of history and accurately restored buildings. There are also a few large sailing and motor vessels tied up there which gives you some variety in what you want to look at.
They have a museum dedicated to the building of Nelson’s Dockyard, housed in what was the Naval Officer’s house, which is full of really interesting exhibits and information about the area. As with everywhere you go in the Caribbean there were cannons dotted around the site, because why to eh? Some are there for decorative purposes and some are used as path markers and other stage uses for cannons. There are also old anchors around the site in various states of decay.
Just next to the museum there is a Palm tree dubbed “The Royal Palm” and was planted by Queen Elizabeth II when she visited the dockyard in 1966. The tree is huge, and I’m pretty sure the tallest one there. Rumour has it that if you touch/hug the tree you get good luck.
Also in Nelson’s Dockyard there are 2 of the original Capstans from when the dockyard was an active naval base. They sit in the remains of the Capstans house, which is no longer standing.
Lots of the restored buildings are now used by local businesses, including a convenience store, café, 2 restaurants, souvenirs shops and many more. They even have a beautifully restored red phone box which is still used as a public phone.
Nelson’s Dockyard isn’t a huge place but is good for a history/cultural fix for an afternoon and I do highly recommend visiting if you are ever in Antigua. We noticed that there are many tours that visit the dockyard so if you’re booked on to one then you wont miss it.
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