Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Return to Wadadli - Nelson's Dockyard

In addition to being known for its beaches, Antigua is known as a major yachting center. If you're into sailing, Antigua isn't a bad place for chartering a boat or just sailing for the day.

I haven't been to Nelson's Dockyard since I was a little kid, so I completely forgot how historic this area really is. Lord Horatio Nelson, famous for his naval victories on behalf of the British during the Napoleonic Wars, spent a lot of time here. The dockyard was the hub for much of the British naval activity on the island and its base of operations for the Caribbean Sea. While the structures of the buildings still survive, there is not much left of their interiors. I was a little sad to see that they were primarily shops selling super touristy stuff. :(

At the entrance, you can see that there were old fortifications and other protections for the area. Those doors are massive.

As I said above, Antigua is known for being yachting center. Every April there are a series of races called Sailing Week. It is supposed to be one humungous party for the sailing set and those who want to party with them. It attracts boats from all over the world. My father-in-law used to race boats competitively (Husband J knows how to sail as well), so I'll definitely have to ask him what a regatta is like. Husband J and I would like to come back for Sailing Week at some point.

Even though I was hoping for something a little less touristy, the dockyard does have a small museum in what used to be the naval officers' house that I thought was a worthwhile stop. I like nice, old things. The museum essentially gives a history of sailing, yachting and shipping activity around Antigua and a little something about Lord Horation Nelson. According to some of the information in the museum, he hated Antigua because it was too hot for him. Maybe his English wig was on too tight.

Lord Nelson

Another famous person who visited: Prince Charles. I think this is a visit he made as boy in the 60's.

Here's Cousin C and Husband J practicing nautical knots. Thanks to Cousin C for taking us around. I miss you!!

Like I said, I just like old stuff. I don't think I've seen an anvil in person.

model of an old English ship

I was glad to return to Nelson's Dockyard if only to remind myself of Antigua's great sailing heritage. If you're ever in Antigua, you should stop by, too.

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