Antigua – West Coast

Antigua, 21 September 2016

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In our last full day in Antigua, we decided do explore the west coast.  Here we are, about to start in English Harbour.

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You might think that in a Caribbean island, everyone stays in a resort and it is very expensive.  Well, there can still be cheap accommodation options available if you look. (And we weren’t staying here but I also wouldn’t stay in a resort if I could avoid it).

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A rather nice cottage nearby.

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And a range of local transport, possibly available for hire.

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You have to go inland from English Harbour before you can get to the west coast.  These early images are all in and around a small town called Swetes.

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Tyrell’s Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Help.

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An old ruined windmill, a relic of the sugar cane era.

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Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

We are at the coast now.  this is Carlisle Bay Beach.

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This is nearby, atop a headland.

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Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife .

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Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife .

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Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

So there are places to stay in Antigua that might be entirely free, if somewhat lacking in privacy.

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A bit further on, at Morris Bay is some more enticing accommodation prospects that may be quite cheap.

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This one even has its own car in the lounge room.

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And there is a ruined windmill nearby.

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Excellent views down the beach.

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Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife .

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I think “Location, location, location!” is the phrase.

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A bit further along the coast, we found some colour transitions between sand, sea and sky.

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Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife .

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Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife .

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Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife .

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Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife .

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I think this is probably Valley Church Beach.

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Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife .

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Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife .

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Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

Not sure where this house is, maybe Five Islands, beside the road though, heading to the north-west.

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We got to Fort Barrington National Park but didn’t have time to climb up to the fort.  I’d say this is a Martello Tower, rather than a windmill.  In other words, it is a small defensive fort from the nineteenth century (though not Fort Barrington).

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Nearby, this is Deep Bay.

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A sign we passed on the way back to English Harbour.

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Antigua – Half Moon Bay and Devil’s Bridge

Antigua, 20 September 2016

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We went again to Shirley Heights for the view at dawn.

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Another view of English Harbour, from a vantage point on the way back for breakfast.

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Nearby, a hummingbird and cacti.

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Antigua, Architecture, Devil's Bridge, English Harbour, Half Moon Bay, Landscape, Nature, Parham, Photography, seascape, Shirley Heights, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

This is much later and we are on the road heading for the east coast.  This is a Poinciana at the side of the road, introduced from Madagascar.

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Half Moon Bay.  You can see how it got its name.

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Not many people around.

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This is idyllic here but we had a less salubrious experience a bit earlier.  The road was blocked and we were turned back by a guard on a road leading to a beach near a resort.  We were told later by a local that this is illegal, everyone should have access to beaches.  Multinational resorts appear to be a new colonialism in the Caribbean and not have a good reputation with many locals we spoke to.

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It is three hours later and this is an entirely different beach.  This is Long Bay Beach, not far from Devil’s Bridge.

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A bit of weather out to sea.

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This is Devil’s Bridge National Park.  You can see the natural bridge (bottom left) and the surge would be spectacular in a heavy sea.

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It seemed like a nice place for a bite to eat and a drink.

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Antigua, Architecture, Devil's Bridge, English Harbour, Half Moon Bay, Landscape, Nature, Parham, Photography, seascape, Shirley Heights, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

Unfortunately there didn’t seem to be anyone around.

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Maybe if we came back in a few years.

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I didn’t see these people there either.

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On the way back, this is St Peter’s Anglican Church at Parham, built in 1840.

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… with a remarkable interior roof.

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Antigua, Architecture, Devil's Bridge, English Harbour, Half Moon Bay, Landscape, Nature, Parham, Photography, seascape, Shirley Heights, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife .

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Antigua, Architecture, Devil's Bridge, English Harbour, Half Moon Bay, Landscape, Nature, Parham, Photography, seascape, Shirley Heights, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

(Church interiors with fisheye lens).

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Antigua – Fort Berkeley and Shirley Heights

English Harbour, Antigua, 19 September 2016

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In the afternoon, we walk past Nelson’s Dockyard to visit Fort Berkeley.

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Probably an eighteenth century ship’s anchor.

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Looking back across the harbour at the marina.

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Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Fish, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

Fort Berkeley, but from a distance.

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This is the same view with a wide angle lens.

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Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Fish, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

The fort is quite small but this is evidently all that was needed with such a narrow mouth to the harbour.

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In the distance in the middle horizon is Shirley Heights, with another former military emplacement that we shall visit soon.

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The last cannon left of twenty-nine.

The British were in Antigua from 1632 and English Harbour from 1704.  This was the best harbour in the islands of the eastern Caribbean.  Enclosed by hills, it was protected against hurricanes so the British were able to shelter here whereas the French had to send their ships back during the hurricane season.  All the other islands changed hands several times but the French never captured Antigua.

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Looking across to Galleon Beach.

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Either a storehouse or a guard house.

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The sheltered stone steps leading up to the building on the right suggest that it was a store house supplied by sea, perhaps primarily for ammunition.

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Passing by Nelson’s Dockyard again.  Didn’t need to make a phone call.

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We are now on the heights at the other side of the harbour, at Dow’s Hill, where there is the remains of a large barracks.

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Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Fish, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife .

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Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Fish, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife .

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Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Fish, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

A view of the spectacular coastline nearby.

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Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Fish, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

Cacti and the sea.

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Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Fish, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

Looking towards Shirley Heights, where we head next.

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Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Fish, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

View from Shirley Heights.

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The Royal Military Guard House at Shirley Heights (named after Sir Thomas Shirley, Governor of the Leeward Islands in the late eighteenth century).  There were four cannon on a platform beside the building and a signal post above it.

There is a restaurant that can open here and a brass band that plays on Sundays.  But we weren’t told about that when we arrived the previous night so either it had finished or more probably it wasn’t happening because we were there in the off season.

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Remains of a cannon.  I wonder if it shattered in anger.  Underneath the crown is GR for George Rex, which doesn’t tell us much because it could be George I, II or III and is therefore between 1716 and 1820.  It’s clearly not an American cannon and therefore doesn’t relate to their George I (1789-1797), George II (1989-1993) or George III (2001-2009).

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A view looking north towards Indian Creek, Stand Fast Point and Mamora Bay.

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Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Fish, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

Close by the Guard Station is the remains of another barracks.

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Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Fish, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife .

Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Fish, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife .

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Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Fish, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

Back now at our accommodation in English Harbour, as the evening slowly descends.

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Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Fish, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife .

Antigua – Morning at English Harbour

English Harbour, Antigua, 19 September 2016

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We hired a car in Antigua and drove around as shown on this map.  The airport is at the top and we stayed at English Harbour, which is at the middle bottom.

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This is a view in the early morning from where we were staying at English Harbour.

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These days there is a marina.  In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries it was Britain’s main naval base in the Caribbean.

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Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Fish, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

We went for a drive and walk to the coast a bit further south.  Here we are looking back towards English Harbour and it is Fort Berkeley at centre left, built in 1704.  We will visit there later.

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From the same spot, looking south.

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A frigate bird overhead.

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Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Fish, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

From the same viewpoint as the earlier image including Fort Berkeley, but showing the context with a wide angle lens.

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Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Fish, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

This is a Turk’s Head or Barrel Cactus, endemic to the Caribbean.  Also known as Mother-in-law’s Pincushion.

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Closer view with a tiny flower.

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Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Fish, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

This is Galleon Beach, Freeman’s Bay, so we’ve driven all the way around to the beach on the other side of the harbour behind Fort Berkeley in the previous images.

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Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Fish, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

Back on the docks at English Harbour.  A fishing boat has arrived and the fish are circling.  These are quite large, say about a metre long but they are not the target.

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There are swirls of activity as bits are thrown out.

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It’s a bit like a koi pool but this is the ocean.

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They are bringing the catch ashore.  I presume it is tuna.

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The crabs are interested too.

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And just a few minutes later, we have some tasty fillets.

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St Martin to Antigua

St Martin, Sint Maarten, St Bartholemey, Antigua, 18 September 2016

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Taking off from Princess Juliana international Airport in Sint Maarten.  Right beside the airport.

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This is a St Martin (as opposed to Sint Maarten) view, looking north over Simpson Lagoon with Marigot at the right at the end of the lagoon and Anguilla on the horizon.

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The inner suburban area of Sint Maarten.

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That strip in the middle is Philipsburg, commercial centre of Sint Maarten.

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The docks area of Philipsburg.

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This is now Saint Barthelemy, an island to the south-east of Sint Maarten.  The main centre of Gustavia in the foreground, Gustavia Industrial Zone in the cove at mid left and Gustaf III airport.

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The beaches are Anse du Gouverneur and Anse de Grande Saline. Saint Barthelemy was Swedish from 1784 when Louis XIV exchanged it for trading rights to Gothenburg, to 1878 when they gave it back.  It was then part of Guadeloupe but has been separate since 2003.

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Antigua.  This is McKinnon’s Pond and Runaway Bay, near the main town of St Johns.

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St John’s.

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This is the Coolidge Cricket Ground, colloquially known as the Sticky Wicket Stadium, where Curtley Ambrose and Viv Richards no doubt played many times.

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Near the airport with some older buildings.

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Having arrived where we were staying at English Harbour, I am on the floor with the dog at the local general store.

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