English Harbor, Antigua (Antilles)

Nelson's Dockyard: The Former Naval Base and Abode of the Admiral

Ramp to Heaven
In the wind of the Antilles
The View from Shirley Heights
Inside Channel
Living room
Nelson's Docks
traveler's tree
British Telephone Legacy
little cannon
Former Officers' House
Mine, from the Bakery
Admiral Inn
the pillars
At the Cove Shelter
In the XNUMXth century, as the English disputed control of the Caribbean and the sugar trade with their colonial rivals, they took over the island of Antigua. There they came across a jagged cove they called English Harbour. They made it a strategic port that also housed the idolized naval officer.

A final slope takes us to the southern edge of the island of Antigua.

To the southwest is the ill-fated island of Montserrat, which the Soufriére volcano turned into the only territory on earth with a ruined and abandoned official capital.

to the south is Guadalupe, on the contrary Montserrat and Antigua, during the colonial era of these parts and today, French.

Guadeloupe and the French rivalry played a major role in the function of English Harbor and Nelson's Docks, which we were eager to discover.

When we conquer the panoramic top of Shirley Heights, facing north, it is above all the intricate orography, the relief of Antigua's bottoms and the intimacy it maintains with the tropical Atlantic Ocean, which dazzles us at 360º.

The Iconic View from Above Shirley Heights

Exposed to the Trade winds, humidity blown from the east and the opposite Caribbean Sea, Antigua goes through the year without anything that can be compared to a dry season.

From there, downwards and onwards, the vegetal result of its abundant rainfall also extends.

Luckily, and little more than that, on that early morning in mid-November, what was left of a depression, of bad weather that had irrigated other places, passes over Antigua. Bright white patches of clouds flow over the landscape. They impose a rolling shading on it.

From that height, we contemplated the half-moon-shaped cove, enclosed by a promontory lower than the one we had conquered. From this lofty plane, we could see that behind it was another one, we found, on the map, that of Falmouth Harbour.

Twelve or thirteen sailboats moored dotted the nearest translucent sea, that of English Harbour.

Where it narrowed to an eastern extent, instead of just sailing ships, we also saw large yachts, larger than the line of secular buildings that justified their presence.

The heights of Shirley Heights honor Sir Thomas Shirley, one of the governors of the Leeward Islands. Today, they are known for revealing Antigua's most iconic views and sunsets.

Its setting became so notorious in the British colonial sphere that, for decades, it was entitled to its own stamp on the monarchical collections of “fine mints”.

In a contemporary context that is substantially more playful than that of philately, between 4 pm and 10 pm on Sundays, Shirley Heights hosts one of the eat parties Caribbean memories.

Antigua and the Colonial Era, in the British Possession

In the midst of the colonial era, of course, the beauty of the scenery and the festivities were of little concern to the military commanders and governors who passed through there.

In the early XNUMXth century, the British were vying hand in hand with the French and the Dutch over each Antilles and supremacy over the vast Caribbean domain.

In 1632, the British took possession of the archipelago of Antigua and Barbuda. Antigua, in particular, has proved to be a strategic gem.

The south of Antigua where we were traveling allowed them to follow the movements of the Gauls to the south, starting from the island of Guadeloupe. What was at stake then was much more than the mere possession of the islands.

At that time, the Dutch, the English and the French were trying to expand, in their tropical territories, the cultivation of sugar cane, which, still in the XNUMXth century, the Portuguese developed in Madeira Island and in the São Tomé and Principe.

With a hot and humid climate, the so-called West Indies quickly proved to be perfect for the production of the appreciated, still rare and valuable sugar.

Now, aware of the “sugar-sweetened” wealth that each island full of sugar cane could guarantee to its respective Crowns, each power did everything it could to seize and preserve the largest number of islands. By providing them with slaves who would ensure the workforce and, in the end, the profit.

At the outset, Antigua would be just another island with that potential. Its privileged location on the map of the West Indies and its growing prosperity made it a constant target that the British did everything to defend.

But not only.

English Harbor and Antigua: The Same Strategic Location in the Lesser Antilles

Bearing in mind that then, as now, from May to November, successive hurricanes and tropical storms battered the various islands, isolated from the Atlantic and the Caribbean Sea, the two “harbours” that we admired formed invaluable shelters.

The years passed. In 1671, the first recorded entry of a British ship into English Harbour took place, requisitioned from the Crown for use by the governor of the so-called Leeward Islands, already traveled by pirates, often sponsored by rival nations and determined to plunder and/or sink. the ships they targeted.

Accordingly, the authorities endowed Antigua with dozens of forts. In 1704 they decided to build one at the entrance to English Harbour. They named it Fort Berkeley. Both the fort and the cove, also protected by nature, have lived up to expectations.

Two decades have passed. Aware of the security it guaranteed to ships, the British Royal Navy began to anchor in English Harbor on a continuous basis. In September 1723, the port's reputation was reinforced.

From Hurricane Shelter to Royal Navy Naval Base

A powerful hurricane slammed against the coast and damaged more than thirty ships anchored in other ports and points around the island. Instead, Her Majesty's only two ships sheltered in English Harbor survived unscathed.

From then on, always using slave labor, the British Royal Navy dedicated itself to making it a naval base and shipyard.

Gradually, the importance of the port adjusted to that of sugar.

Satisfied with the visual elevation of Shirley Heights, we returned to sea level. The entrance to the complex forces us to go around the capricious cut at the top of the cove.

Nelson Dockyards. The docks that welcomed the Admiral

At the base of the promontory that delimits it, a so-called Dockyard Drive crosses a green isthmus and takes us back to the edge of an inlet with water so calm that it acts as a mirror.

Moments after we left the Eastern Caribbean Amalgamated Bank, we find the first buildings of the complex, erected in 1788, recently restored from ruin to immaculate elegance.

In such a reliable way that, in 2016, UNESCO granted it the status of World Heritage.

The old warehouses and store for pitch and tar, as well as those for gunpowder, were converted into a sumptuous four-star inn, Admiral's Inn and Gunpowder Suites and its “Boom” restaurant.

It has the competition of another christening of Copper & Lumber Store, according to the place where the copper that covered the bottom of the ships and the wood, used by sailors to stretch their hammocks, were kept.

Different palm trees adorn them, several of which are imperial. Over the years, the palms have grown above a line of iconic stone pillars, originally laid out to support the Casa dos Barcos and Sotão das Velas, which a hurricane of 1871 robbed the roof of.

Next is the Docks Museum, housed in the airy Victorian house that housed the British Royal Navy officers and which improved the conditions in which they were housed in their former quarters.

Between 1784 and 1787, one of them was Admiral Horatio Nelson.

Horatio Nelson's Mission on the Challenging Island of Antigua

Around the age of 27, Nelson found himself named captain of the “HMS Boreas”, sent to Antigua with the mission of developing local facilities and enforcing British law at a time when commercial anarchy, exploited by pirates and privateers, seemed to be taking hold.

Nelson came to occupy the post of Supreme Commander of the Leeward Islands. During this period, he encountered such resistance to his mission that he vented that the island of Antigua was little more than a vile place.

With eighteen more years of naval experience, Nelson would guarantee the British an unlikely triumph over a larger Franco-Spanish armada at the Battle of Trafalgar.

This decisive victory won him undisputed prestige. And numerous honors, of which the subsequent baptism of the Docks of Antigua with his name is not particularly noteworthy.

Tired of identifying the buildings and their functions, the old ones and the current ones, we chose to sift through the installations, absorbing the atmosphere that is breathed there.

Sailors of our times, wealthy or even millionaires, wash or have the decks and other salt-vulnerable parts of their sailboats and yachts washed, lined up around the docks.

One or the other, exchange adventures of recent navigations, with curious eyes on the boats that enter. This new life at Nelson Dockyards is recent.

Colonial Decline, Abandonment and the Deserved Recovery

In 1883, the Slavery Abolition Act put an end to forced labor by Africans.

It precipitated the decline of the sugar trade and made the British turn their attention to other profitable parts of the world.

Six years later, they abandoned the Naval Base and docks to the elements and recurring hurricanes.

The recovery of Nelson Docks did not set sail until 1950, funded by the Society of Friends of English Harbour, lasted a decade.

In 1982, among its refined patrons were Simon Le Bom and other members of Duran Duran, all lovers of the sea and sailing.

The band filmed in Shirley Heights and in English Harbor the video for their hit “Rio”, partly on board a sailboat anchored in Antigua called “Island".

Since then, countless other moments of fame radiated from there.

English Harbor is, for example, home to two of the most prestigious sailing competitions in the world, the Antigua Sailing Week and the Antigua Charter Yacht Meeting.

Plymouth, Montserrat

From Ashes to Ashes

Built at the foot of Mount Soufrière Hills, atop magmatic deposits, the solitary city on the Caribbean island of Montserrat has grown doomed. As feared, in 1995, the volcano also entered a long eruptive period. Plymouth is the only capital in a political territory that remains buried and abandoned.
Montserrat, Lesser Antilles

The Island of the Volcano that Refuses to Sleep

In the Antilles, volcanoes called Soufrière abound. That of Montserrat, re-awakened in 1995, and remains one of the most active. Upon discovery of the island, we re-enter the exclusion area and explore the areas still untouched by the eruptions.  
Fort-de-France, Martinique

Freedom, Bipolarity and Tropicality

The capital of Martinique confirms a fascinating Caribbean extension of French territory. There, the relations between the colonists and the natives descended from slaves still give rise to small revolutions.
Saint-Pierre, Martinique

The City that Arose from the Ashes

In 1900, the economic capital of the Antilles was envied for its Parisian sophistication, until the Pelée volcano charred and buried it. More than a century later, Saint-Pierre is still regenerating.
Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands

Virgin Gorda's Divine "Caribbeans"

Discovering the Virgin Islands, we disembark on a tropical and seductive seaside dotted with huge granite boulders. The Baths seem straight out of the Seychelles but they are one of the most exuberant marine scenery in the Caribbean.
Sainte-Luce, Martinique

The Nostalgic Projectionist

From 1954 to 1983, Gérard Pierre screened many of the famous films arriving in Martinique. 30 years after the closing of the room in which he worked, it was still difficult for this nostalgic native to change his reel.
Martinique, French Antilles

The Armpit Baguette Caribbean

We move around Martinique as freely as the Euro and the tricolor flags fly supreme. But this piece of France is volcanic and lush. Lies in the insular heart of the Americas and has a delicious taste of Africa.
Soufriere e Scotts Head, Dominica

The Life That Hangs from Nature's Caribbean Island

It has the reputation of being the wildest island in the Caribbean and, having reached its bottom, we continue to confirm it. From Soufriére to the inhabited southern edge of Scotts Head, Dominica remains extreme and difficult to tame.
Guadalupe, French Antilles

Guadeloupe: a Delicious Caribbean, in a Counter Butterfly-Effect

Guadeloupe is shaped like a moth. A trip around this Antille is enough to understand why the population is governed by the motto Pas Ni Problem and raises the minimum of waves, despite the many setbacks.
Saint Petersburg, Russia

When the Russian Navy Stations in Saint Petersburg

Russia dedicates the last Sunday of July to its naval forces. On that day, a crowd visits large boats moored on the Neva River as alcohol-drenched sailors seize the city.
Puerto Natales-Puerto Montt, Chile

Cruise on board a Freighter

After a long begging of backpackers, the Chilean company NAVIMAG decided to admit them on board. Since then, many travelers have explored the Patagonian canals, side by side with containers and livestock.
Gorongosa National Park, Mozambique, Wildlife, lions
NP Gorongosa, Mozambique

The Wild Heart of Mozambique shows Signs of Life

Gorongosa was home to one of the most exuberant ecosystems in Africa, but from 1980 to 1992 it succumbed to the Civil War waged between FRELIMO and RENAMO. Greg Carr, Voice Mail's millionaire inventor received a message from the Mozambican ambassador to the UN challenging him to support Mozambique. For the good of the country and humanity, Carr pledged to resurrect the stunning national park that the Portuguese colonial government had created there.
Faithful light candles, Milarepa Grotto temple, Annapurna Circuit, Nepal
Annapurna (circuit)
Annapurna Circuit: 9th Manang to Milarepa Cave, Nepal

A Walk between Acclimatization and Pilgrimage

In full Annapurna Circuit, we finally arrived in Manang (3519m). we still need acclimatize to the higher stretches that followed, we inaugurated an equally spiritual journey to a Nepalese cave of Milarepa (4000m), the refuge of a siddha (sage) and Buddhist saint.
Sheets of Bahia, Eternal Diamonds, Brazil
Architecture & Design
Sheets of Bahia, Brazil

Lençóis da Bahia: not Even Diamonds Are Forever

In the XNUMXth century, Lençóis became the world's largest supplier of diamonds. But the gem trade did not last as expected. Today, the colonial architecture that he inherited is his most precious possession.

Mountains of Fire

More or less prominent ruptures in the earth's crust, volcanoes can prove to be as exuberant as they are capricious. Some of its eruptions are gentle, others prove annihilating.
Tiredness in shades of green
Ceremonies and Festivities
Suzdal, Russia

The Suzdal Cucumber Celebrations

With summer and warm weather, the Russian city of Suzdal relaxes from its ancient religious orthodoxy. The old town is also famous for having the best cucumbers in the nation. When July arrives, it turns the newly harvested into a real festival.
City of Mindelo, São Vicente, Cape Verde
Mindelo, São Vicente, Cape Verde

The Miracle of São Vicente

São Vicente has always been arid and inhospitable to match. The challenging colonization of the island subjected the settlers to successive hardships. Until, finally, its providential deep-water bay enabled Mindelo, the most cosmopolitan city and the cultural capital of Cape Verde.
Fogón de Lola, great food, Costa Rica, Guápiles
Fogón de Lola Costa Rica

The Flavor of Costa Rica of El Fogón de Lola

As the name suggests, the Fogón de Lola de Guapiles serves dishes prepared on the stove and in the oven, according to Costa Rican family tradition. In particular, Tia Lola's.
Hungduan, Philippines

Country Style Philippines

The GI's left with the end of World War II, but the music from the interior of the USA that they heard still enlivens the Cordillera de Luzon. It's by tricycle and at your own pace that we visit the Hungduan rice terraces.
Reindeer Racing, Kings Cup, Inari, Finland
Inari, Finland

The Wackiest Race on the Top of the World

Finland's Lapps have been competing in the tow of their reindeer for centuries. In the final of the Kings Cup - Porokuninkuusajot - , they face each other at great speed, well above the Arctic Circle and well below zero.
Las Cuevas, Mendoza, across the Andes, Argentina
Mendoza, Argentina

From One Side to the Other of the Andes

Departing from Mendoza city, the N7 route gets lost in vineyards, rises to the foot of Mount Aconcagua and crosses the Andes to Chile. Few cross-border stretches reveal the magnificence of this forced ascent
capillary helmet
Viti levu, Fiji

Cannibalism and Hair, Fiji Islands' Old Pastimes

For 2500 years, anthropophagy has been part of everyday life in Fiji. In more recent centuries, the practice has been adorned by a fascinating hair cult. Luckily, only vestiges of the latest fashion remain.
Rainbow in the Grand Canyon, an example of prodigious photographic light
Got2Globe Photo Portfolio
Natural Light (Part 1)

And Light was made on Earth. Know how to use it.

The theme of light in photography is inexhaustible. In this article, we give you some basic notions about your behavior, to start with, just and only in terms of geolocation, the time of day and the time of year.
António do Remanso, Quilombola Marimbus Community, Lençóis, Chapada Diamantina
Sheets of Bahia, Brazil

The Swampy Freedom of Quilombo do Remanso

Runaway slaves have survived for centuries around a wetland in Chapada Diamantina. Today, the quilombo of Remanso is a symbol of their union and resistance, but also of the exclusion to which they were voted.
Pico Island, west of the mountain, Azores, Lajes do Pico
Pico Island, Azores

The Island East of the Pico Mountain

As a rule, whoever arrives at Pico disembarks on its western side, with the volcano (2351m) blocking the view on the opposite side. Behind Pico Mountain, there is a whole long and dazzling “east” of the island that takes time to unravel.
Maksim, Sami people, Inari, Finland-2
Winter White
Inari, Finland

The Guardians of Boreal Europe

Long discriminated against by Scandinavian, Finnish and Russian settlers, the Sami people regain their autonomy and pride themselves on their nationality.
shadow vs light
Kyoto, Japan

The Kyoto Temple Reborn from the Ashes

The Golden Pavilion has been spared destruction several times throughout history, including that of US-dropped bombs, but it did not withstand the mental disturbance of Hayashi Yoken. When we admired him, he looked like never before.
Atacama woman, Life on the edge, Atacama Desert, Chile
Atacama Desert, Chile

Life on the Edges of the Atacama Desert

When you least expect it, the driest place in the world reveals new extraterrestrial scenarios on a frontier between the inhospitable and the welcoming, the sterile and the fertile that the natives are used to crossing.
Mother Armenia Statue, Yerevan, Armenia
Yerevan, Armenia

A Capital between East and West

Heiress of the Soviet civilization, aligned with the great Russia, Armenia allows itself to be seduced by the most democratic and sophisticated ways of Western Europe. In recent times, the two worlds have collided in the streets of your capital. From popular and political dispute, Yerevan will dictate the new course of the nation.
very coarse salt
Natural Parks
Salta and Jujuy, Argentina

Through the Highlands of Deep Argentina

A tour through the provinces of Salta and Jujuy takes us to discover a country with no sign of the pampas. Vanished in the Andean vastness, these ends of the Northwest of Argentina have also been lost in time.
In the middle of the Gold Coast
UNESCO World Heritage
Elmina, Ghana

The First Jackpot of the Portuguese Discoveries

In the century. XVI, Mina generated to the Crown more than 310 kg of gold annually. This profit aroused the greed of the The Netherlands and from England, which succeeded one another in the place of the Portuguese and promoted the slave trade to the Americas. The surrounding village is still known as Elmina, but today fish is its most obvious wealth.
Look-alikes, Actors and Extras

Make-believe stars

They are the protagonists of events or are street entrepreneurs. They embody unavoidable characters, represent social classes or epochs. Even miles from Hollywood, without them, the world would be more dull.
Drums and Tattoos
Tahiti, French Polynesia

Tahiti Beyond the Cliché

Neighbors Bora Bora and Maupiti have superior scenery but Tahiti has long been known as paradise and there is more life on the largest and most populous island of French Polynesia, its ancient cultural heart.
Young people walk the main street in Chame, Nepal
Annapurna Circuit: 1th - Pokhara a ChameNepal

Finally, on the way

After several days of preparation in Pokhara, we left towards the Himalayas. The walking route only starts in Chame, at 2670 meters of altitude, with the snowy peaks of the Annapurna mountain range already in sight. Until then, we complete a painful but necessary road preamble to its subtropical base.
On Rails
On Rails

Train Travel: The World Best on Rails

No way to travel is as repetitive and enriching as going on rails. Climb aboard these disparate carriages and trains and enjoy the best scenery in the world on Rails.
Singapore, Success and Monotony Island

The Island of Success and Monotony

Accustomed to planning and winning, Singapore seduces and recruits ambitious people from all over the world. At the same time, it seems to bore to death some of its most creative inhabitants.
Busy intersection of Tokyo, Japan
Daily life
Tokyo, Japan

The Endless Night of the Rising Sun Capital

Say that Tokyo do not sleep is an understatement. In one of the largest and most sophisticated cities on the face of the Earth, twilight marks only the renewal of the frenetic daily life. And there are millions of souls that either find no place in the sun, or make more sense in the “dark” and obscure turns that follow.
ice tunnel, black gold route, Valdez, Alaska, USA
Valdez, Alaska

On the Black Gold Route

In 1989, the Exxon Valdez oil tanker caused a massive environmental disaster. The vessel stopped plying the seas, but the victim city that gave it its name continues on the path of crude oil from the Arctic Ocean.
The Sounds, Fiordland National Park, New Zealand
Scenic Flights
Fiordland, New Zealand

The Fjords of the Antipodes

A geological quirk made the Fiordland region the rawest and most imposing in New Zealand. Year after year, many thousands of visitors worship the sub-domain slashed between Te Anau and Milford Sound.