Government Independent from the United Kingdom since 1981, part of Commonwealth Antigua and Barbuda Flag
Capital St. Johns
Currency East Caribbean Dollar (XCD)
Area 442.6km2
Population (2009) 85,632
Language English
Islands 2 inhabited
Economy Tourism, light industry, Banking
GDP per Capita $19,600 (64th worldwide) [2008 Data]
Links CIA Factbook, Wikipedia Page

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I've spent quite a bit of time in Antigua, most of that time somehow just drifted by without my realizing it. I often anchor in the middle of Falmouth harbour but have also stayed elsewhere on the island as well as at the docks (and on the hard) at Jolly Harbour. Falmouth harbour is home to many mega yachts calling in or more-or-less permanently docked at one of the 3 major docks, and many more anchored in various places in the sheltered waters of the harbour. The holding is generally good except for one or two spots in the centre, I woke up one morning with a beautiful yacht Latifa only yards from my bow. As I was sure that I gave that boat a good 100 feet separation when putting down my chain I knew that I had either dragged upwind or he had repositioned himself during the night. The owner and I talked and since his classic yacht is a lot more work to re-anchor than mine I opted to let out another 50 feet of chain (but now I was close to another boat so I motored the dinghy over there to explain the situation). I later visited Latifa and got a grand tour of that a wonderful classic yacht.

The “Mad Mongoose” bar on shore offered free Wi-Fi internet 24x7 and is therefore the central meeting point for yachties; plus their happy hour starts early and lasts a long time and sailors are masters at sniffing out bargains like that; but they unfortunately shut down in 2016 and the new owners have made the place into something quite different and less interesting for yachties. I met quite a few interesting people there, and am certain that they thought the same thing about me. Just a few yards from Falmouth is the famous English Harbour and Nelson's Dockyards, the oldest working shipyard in the western hemisphere. The dockyard has been transformed into a working museum, with guided tours going between the buildings and into some of the businesses; a bad thing when a herd of visitors crowds into a working sail making loft and trod across the clean floor or laid-out sails.

I was in Antigua for the kickoff of the Bucket (I stupidly declined a crew position for one of the boats!), then for the Classic Race week and finally for the big Antigua Race Week, which was renamed this year after the official sponsor, Stanford, fell out of grace with the FDC and various other judiciaries.

The island offers quite a bit of things to see and do outside of the yachting world. While mostly arid and devoid of original growth due to over farming, there is a section of old growth and I joined Barry and his family and some other friends on a Zip-Line tour. They had drilled the holes for the thick supporting wires through Kapok trees which just continued to grow despite the multiple piercings. Kapok used to be a cash crop tree, the insides of most cold-weather jackets were filled with kapok before modern fibres supplanted it. The town of St. Johns is picturesque (and full of cruise ships and guests), and the west side has beautiful reefs.

One of the biggest sailing events in the Caribbean and one that most sailors know, is the annual Antigua Sailing Week event, where hundreds of sailors converge on the island for a week's worth of racing and partying. While I don't race, I do show up there to volunteer and work on the committee boat for the duration. I put together some pictures that I took during the event which can be perused at ASW 2013 and ASW 2014

For a map with clickable pictures from this site displayed geographically please click here

Pillars at Nelson's Dockyard These were used to pull boats on land to dry out (careening).

[17°0'29.08"N 61°45'54.72"W ]
Pillars at Nelson's Dockyard
Not a museum exhibit This is a working customs and immigration office where cruisers such as myself have to clear in and out. It is in the middle of the Nelson's Dockyards which is mostly a museum so quite often people mistake this office for an exhibit.

[17°0'29.74"N 61°45'55.34"W ]
Not a museum exhibit
English and Falmouth Harbours Looking down from Shirley Heights, first comes English Harbour with the Nelson's Dockyards, then the next one over in the distance is Falmouth Harbour - despite being much larger it is not as protected as English.

[17°0'7.65"N 61°45'26.06"W (facing NW)]
English and Falmouth Harbours
Maltese Falcon at the dock The sails unfurl from the curved booms and the whole mast turns around it's axis in order to catch the wind at the correct angle.
(2009-03-09 00:08:14 DSC-N2 [f/4.0, 10/2500s] ISO 160)
[17°0'57.15"N 61°46'32.34"W ]
Maltese Falcon at the dock
Shirley Heights band On Sundays there is a dinner with music from this steel drum band, who were very adept at reproducing different songs using just their percussion instruments.

[17°0'7.65"N 61°45'26.06"W (facing NW)]
Shirley Heights band
Fishnet and Montserrat These fishermen and women are pulling in a very big net (the dinghy in the picture is over the net) with a puff or two of smoke in the background from the active volcano on Montserrat.

[17°1'1.28"N 61°50'40.84"W (facing SW)]
Fishnet and Montserrat
Oh really? Hmm, this must have been written at the behest of American lawyers who worried that someone might not be able to tell the this dock has some slight structural deficiencies and hurt themselves.

[17°0'30.48"N 61°45'56.19"W (facing N)]
Oh really?
Carneval Masks Some of the masks and gear made the for Carneval celebrations.

[17°0'29.08"N 61°45'51.63"W ]
Carneval Masks
Prepping a race week boat The crew setting up and preparing their boat for the upcoming races at the Antigua Race Week.
Prepping a race week boat
Antigua Race Week - Party The big closing party at the 2009 Antigua Race Week in Jolly Harbour, Antigua.

[17°3'55.68"N 61°53'0.96"W (facing SE)]
Antigua Race Week - Party
Halcyon Cove, Antigua The beach of my hotel in Antigua

[17°9'38.18"N 61°50'48.43"W (facing SW)]
Halcyon Cove, Antigua
Leaving Jolly Harbour, Antigua Departing Jolly Harbour in Antigua for St. Martin.

[17°4'19.8"N 61°53'19.28"W (facing NW)]
Leaving Jolly Harbour, Antigua
Hummingbird searching for lunch Taken from the ruins of Fort Charlotte, overlooking the entrance to English Harbour on Antigua. This was the first of the racing events of the 2013 Antigua Race Week, a race from Deshaies on Guadeloupe to this finish line (a virtual line from where the photos were taken to the red marker anchored offshore). I joined the officials Claire and Steve for a comfortable day in the shade and taking note of the boats crossing the finish line.
(2013-04-26 14:46:38 NIKON D7000 with a "18.0-200.0 mm f/3.5-5.6" lens. [f/13.0, 1/100s] ISO 100 Focus 15.00m)
[17°0'1.98"N 61°45'38.51"W (facing W)]
Hummingbird searching for lunch
English Harbour anchorage English Harbour anchorage
(2011-05-06 11:27:26 NIKON D7000 with a "18.0-200.0 mm f/3.5-5.6" lens. [f/8.0, 1/200s] ISO 100 Focus ∞)
[17°0'20.71"N 61°46'0.69"W (facing E)]
English Harbour anchorage
Surfing Falmouth A NE swell of over 3 meters and wave periods of around 20 seconds generated a heavy surf on Antigua. I was on boar trying to work while the boat was occasionally rolling heavily so I decided to dinghy over to where the action was and take a picture or two of the surf and surfers.
(2013-04-27 15:46:01 NIKON D7000 with a "18.0-200.0 mm f/3.5-5.6" lens. [f/5.3, 1/640s] ISO 125 Focus ∞)
[17°0'33.88"N 61°46'47.25"W ]
Surfing Falmouth
Bristolean Cary writing down Bristolean's finish
(2011-05-02 13:47:00 NIKON D7000 with a "18.0-200.0 mm f/3.5-5.6" lens. [f/7.1, 1/250s] ISO 100 Focus 2.66m)
[17°0'33.36"N 61°48'17.55"W ]
Jubilant racers finishing James blowing the finishing whistle as the racer celebrate their good finish.
(2011-05-02 13:52:17 NIKON D7000 with a "18.0-200.0 mm f/3.5-5.6" lens. [f/16.0, 1/60s] ISO 100 Focus 1.33m)
[17°0'33.36"N 61°48'17.55"W ]
Jubilant racers finishing
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