Sunday, February 21, 2016

Onwards to the South Shore

We wrapped up our time in Nonsuch Bay where we said goodbye to Blue Moon as they are making tracks to St. Martin, and then with a visit to Harmony Hall over on the southwest corner of the Bay.  An old sugar mill has been converted into a bar and local yacht club and along with an art gallery and wonderful little restaurant we treated ourselves to lunch out after a record number of zero-dollar days sitting on the hook in eastern Antigua.

We joined Livin' Life and Slow Dancing and we checked out the grounds before settling into a delicious lunch and then an afternoon lounging by the pool.  I think this is the life most people think we live on a daily basis but believe me when I say it was a real treat for us!

We passed Leander (the motor yacht) on our ride over.  The sailboat tethered to the back of the yacht is probably 35' - just a little toy for the big boys!
All the amenities are covered - what a delightful place.
Harmony Hall Yacht Club - complete with free rum tastings.
Our lunch table awaited under the canopy.

A delicious meal and just look at the view out over the bay!
Post lunch lazing by the pool
More lazing in the delightfully cool shade.
With reluctance we finally tore ourselves away and back to the boats having thoroughly enjoyed the day.

On Thursday we had finally eaten our way through most of our provisions so we headed along the south shore of Antigua, continuing our clockwise circumnavigation, and arrived at Falmouth Harbour where we dropped anchor.

As we entered the harbour and drove past the docks we ogled the big boys who are here to race in the RORC 600 which heads out on Monday.  These are serious racing machines with high-tech sails that are worth more than our entire boat!  Sailing however is a completely inclusive pastime and mariners of all stripes are welcomed ashore and along the docks, and it seems that we all end up eating in the same little restaurants.  Just some of us don't come with matching polo shirts.

Nero and Athena anchored next to each other.

Phaedo3, a trimaran, crossed the Atlantic in the RORC Transatlantic Race averaging 28.3 knots and maxed out at 678 miles in one day!!  We're happy to toddle along at 6 knots :-)

Lots of beautiful motor yachts at the dock but I would say that this is not one of them.  Who would name their boat SKAT??

Another glimpse of Phaedo3.  The mast rake is controlled from the decks to improve their performance.

After wandering round the docks we set out on a few exploration walks around Falmouth and Nelson's Dockyard.  When we were here last June we were only able to visit briefly by bus but staying in this anchorage puts you smack-dab on the doorstep of nautical history that goes back to the 1600s.

We did one hike around the end of Falmouth Bay and ended up at Papa's for lunch with Janice and Dave.  We did another late afternoon hike where we reunited with Dave and Jackie on Tempo and met George from Wildcat, up from Pigeon Beach and over the ridge to Fort Berkley and then back through Nelson's Dockyard.

Finally this morning with George and Dave, we did the longer hike up to Shirley Heights, an old fort that sits high up on the hill above the eastern approaches to English Harbour.

Not your usual mode of transportation, but if you pick a short donkey it makes it easier to get on.

It was a hot, seemingly never-ending walk just "around the corner" but we eventually made it to Papa's.

Deep and comfortable Falmouth Harbour - all our boats are anchored out there, dwarfed by the tall masts of the boats at the dock.  Some of them are so tall they have to have a red light at night for aircraft warning.

Jackie and Henry enjoying the views at the top of the hill.

As we hiked along the ridge we passed the ongoing construction of Eric Clapton's latest abode.

Looking down on the entrance to English Harbour, Fort Berkley in the foreground and Shirley Heights at the top of the hill on the other side of the bay.

George, Dave, Henry & Jackie pointing the way back home, I think...

There - evidence I was there too!

We scrambled down the hill to Fort Berkley where we took a look at the powder magazine and guard house dating back to the 1700s.

We walked up the road to Shirley's Heights but found this trail that led down to Galleon Beach.  Not sure who Desmond is/was but the trail up to Shirley's Heights from Galleon Beach would be a good workout. 

The views from Shirley's Heights are stunning, capturing English Harbour and Nelson's Dockyard in the foreground and Falmouth Harbour in the distance.  We could see all the way across Antigua to the north shore from up here.
This area of Antigua is a little like sitting on a resort in that the feeling is quite different from the rest of the country.  Between the massive boats, the constant activity with their crews running to and fro, and then partying into the evenings and the beauty of the historic surroundings, its a bit of a rarified atmosphere.

It is time however for us to push on back around the island and prepare for a completely different place.  We're off to Barbuda as the weather permits later this week which promises to be a completely different experience.