A look into what's happening in the coastal village of English Harbour, on the island of Antigua.
by Jodeci527 on December 28, 2012
Sailing is a very widespread sport in the coastal village of English Harbour. The enclosed harbour which is bordered by hills on two sides and a beach, creates to perfect environment for beginners such as myself. Several companies offer this opportunity to interested individuals, and for my first experience with the sport, I chose the Antigua Yacht Club. The Antigua Yacht Club is a group of sailors and sailing enthusiasts whose members are both local and abroad. They organize and support a number of sailing regattas in Antigua, and other social events. However the aspect of the club which relates to me is their sailing classes. The club offers lessons to teach persons how to sail on Laser Picos which are solo vessels.I arrived at the main building one afternoon and inquired about the lessons, and one of the instructors invited me out to see one of the classes in session. I was so excited for this up and personal glimpse into the sport that I agreed immediately. There were approximately twelve boats out sailing that day and I was a rapt spectator.The ages of the students ranged from eight years to thirty plus, and everyone was having a great time. The sailing itself looked like loads of fun, but I could also tell that it took a lot of effort. Steering a dinghy with a sail took a great amount of concentration and manual labour, but the amount of happy shouts which drifted across the splash of the waves attested to the fact that hard work can bring happiness.The instructor gave me a chance to try it out for myself. Thankfully I was fit enough to handle the quick manoevers that were necessary without pulling any muscles. One thing was very apparent though, and it's the observation that sailing is a great way to get some exercise! I was shown everything from rigging to launching the Laser onto the waves. The sailing lessons are just one of the perks when you become a member of the Antigua Yacht Club. Membership fees vary, depending on the time period you sign up for. Weekly membership is $60 USD and monthly membership is $120. Deals can be had for longer terms or for members who are under the age of eighteen. This is a great hobby to have that can be great fun and keep you fit at the same time! I had blast out on the water, and I can't wait to get back out there!
On of my favourite places in English Harbour to get ice cream is a small cafe on the boardwalk of Dockside Marina called Seabreeze. Situated on the ground floor of a two storey building, shade is provided while a gentle 'sea breeze' circulates the air and keeps the atmosphere cool. The cafe also serves as a bar and gelateria and the latter is what keeps me coming back.The cafe consists of an inside area and a patio outside. Soft chairs and loungers are available indoors, and one can comfortbly relax around a large rectangular table. Other indoor seating arrangements include high bar tables and stools which seat two persons. Outside, smaller silver tables are used, and four woven chairs with steel frames offer a laid back seating option. I prefer being outdoors where I can enjoy the water views and have great views of the many sailing boats docked nearby.I headed straight for the ice cream section and scanned the flavours on display. The selection wasn't spectacular, but I was satisfied with the choices available. Some of the flavours included Cookies and Chips, Cream and Fig, Coffee, Pistachio and few sorbets such as Lemon and Blueberry. I decided on the Blueberry with a small serving of Cookies and Chips to appease my sugar tooth. The ice cream had a nice texture (smooth, not too soft and not too hard), and I enjoyed both flavours. The Cookies and Chips was creamy with lots of cookie bits that dissolved on my taste buds and the Blueberry sorbet was fruity with a bit of zest to it. It was a great treat to have, because although it's Winter up North, the Caribbean was still running Summer temperatures!If you require a more filling meal, Seabreeze sells a wide array of meals ranging from pizzas and roast beef sandwiches for lunch and omelets and sausages for bereakfast. Expect to pay about $10 USD for a meal without the drink added. Softdrinks are availabe for $2 and many cocktails and alcoholic beverages such as daiquiris can be purchased for $6.Seabreeze is a great place to kick back and knock back a few beers, or to sample several ice cream flavours. There's something for everyone, and it's definitely worth a visit.
by Jodeci527 on December 27, 2012
There are many small coves that dot the coastline of the village of English Harbour, where yachties can moor their vessels and enjoy a peaceful day of seclusion. Palm trees dot the landscape and narrow gravel filled paths led the way to some of these sandy shorelines bathed by gentle waves. Time goes by unnoticed in these little bits of paradise.If you're more interested in a bit of sand and sea, but you prefer a more lively scene while you get your tan on, Pigeon Point Beach is the very best candidate. Popular but not overly so, it's the place where both locals and visitors alike spend days lazing about, dogs get their morning walks and couples enjoy a beautiful sunset.The shoreline is full of powdery white sand, and it's common to see children knee deep in it, building sandcastles and all other manner of sandy architecture. Seagrape trees provide shade for parents to spread their beachtowels under, while they read a book and keep a watchful eye on their young ones. The beach also has it's very own playground, complete with slides and swings.The beach itself is a beautiful sight. I'm not just referring to the sparkling blue waters which are ubiquitous around Antigua, but the many sailboats and mega yachts which dominate the horizon. Beyond the many white sails of the boats, are several rolling hills which add their green splash of colour to the gorgeous scenery. Sometimes, I love to simply float and watch the clouds pass over the hilltops as the waves gently rock me from side to side.One of my favourite things about Pigeon Point Beach, is the woooden jetty at the furthest point of the shore. Jumping off gives me a great rush of adrenaline, and after you break the surface, it's only a short swim back to the sand. The water at the end of the jetty is deep enough for you to safely jump in, but not as such to be dangerous for children who know how to swim.On holiday weekends, the beach is packed, and sound systems blast reggae, soca and dancehall music. Some beachgoers set up picnics on the shore, but if you don't come prepared, there's no reason to worry. Several coal pots and grills are fired up and roast corn, BBQ chicken and hot dogs are sold, in addition to cold beverages which you choose directly out of large coolers. Pigeon Point Beach is a great place to hang out, whether to take a swim, or to simply read your kindle. Getting there is pretty simple too. Take the #17 bus from the city and get out at the last stop which is usually Nelson's Dockyard, and ask any of the locals to point you in the direction of the beach. It's about a 15 minute walk from the village, but don't worry...the Caribbean Sea will be waiting to cool you down when you arrive!
As the name suggests, this is a cafe that's mostly frequented by sailors, located in the heart of the Antigua Yacht Club Marina. I spent quite a bit of the last week here simply writing for this site. The atmosphere is really relaxing during the day until about 4pm when the sailors are finished working and make their way to the watering hole.LocationThis is one of the high points of Skullduggery Cafe. It's situated right on the dock of the marina, literally four steps from falling off the pier. Thankfully the water is really shallow, like only two feet deep, for anyone concerned about the safety of little children. Nearby, lots of private yachts are moored, and due to the fact that Antigua has one of the most popular harbours in the Caribbean, you may see several super yachts such as one belonging to Bill Gates. The area is very peaceful, and many visitors go to the cafe with a book in hand to just simply kick back and relax.DiningSeveral tables and chairs are scattered about just outside of the establishment, and each table seats four guests comfortably. The cafe has both a breakfast and a lunch menu available for guests who want to grab a bite. Breakfast items include two eggs prepared in any style for $6 USD and a number of sides are available for an extra cost: Fried tomatoes, ham, bacon and toast. Pancakes are prepared on request for $3 USD as well as fruits and bagels.I usually arrive at the cafe around lunch time, so I end up always ordering from the afternoon menu. Pastas are available for around $10 USD, and their Philly Steak sandwich for $7 is a great choice. However my favourite dish is their Toasted Ham, Cheese, Tomato and Onion sandwich for $4. The melted cheddar cheese creates a really zesty flavour when combined with the tomato and onions!DrinksThe cafe also serves as a bar, with a large selection of liquors on their shelves. The bartenders serve the usual suspects such as Screwdrivers and Mojitos, but the Espresso Martinis and the Cappuchino Martinis are the house specialties. The concoction is made right infront of the customer, and the brew is then poured directly into a martini glass. Expect to pay about $6 US for the martini. Cold soft drinks such as Mountain Dew and Coca Cola can be bought, as well as hot beverages such as coffee and tea.SummaryWhile the food and beverages are really good here, the main draw is the view and the ambience. The establishment is really laid back, and even pets are allowed to roam freely. On my last visit, a very friendly Bull Mastiff walked about, receiving many pats and scatches behind the ear from all of the guests, while his owner drank a Carib beer nearby. Skullduggery Cafe is a lovely option if you need to unwind after a hectic day.
Antigua Yacht Club Marina is one of the main yacht marinas in English Harbour. Serving hundreds of yachts every year, it's always full of action, and during peak season months of April-May and November-December, the place is absolutely buzzing with life. Aside from yachties and other sailors, visitors and locals alike frequent the area, due to the many cafes and activities in the area.Want to go sailing? There's a place for that. The Antigua Yacht Club is right along the boardwalk. Interested in other water sports? Learn to how to paddle board standing up! There's a shop in the marina where you can rent the boards and paddles, and it's very common to see groups of people in the water trying to master the art of balancing.Other activities available include scuba diving with one of the companies in the neighbourhood. All of the diving boats are moored in the marina, and the nearby waters are teeming with acquatic life. If you're not a diver, no need to worry as they have snorkeling equipment onboard as well.Other business places at the marina include a yacht chartering company, which not only rents sailing vessels, but host cruises where everyone can register for an affordable price to experience a sunset on the ocean. A supermarket, a casino club and several souvenir shops complete the lineup.My favourite thing to do at the Antigua Yacht Club Marina is to grab a cup of coffee during the day, or a cocktail in the evening to watch the sunset over the harbour. The entire area is picturesque with lots of boats bobbing gently while the wind ruffles their sails. The marina which is generally quiet during the day, sparks to life once the sun goes down! The two cafes on the boardwalk, 'Skullduggery Cafe and 'Seabreeze' both become the hot spots for the sailors after a hard days work, and the bars become packed. It's an ideal place to hang out with friends and the staff at both establishments are efficient and you never have to wait long for an order.The Antigua Yacht Club Marina is in a fantastic location, not only portwise, but also inland. The surrounding area has everything from upscale restuarants to dance clubs and even a basketball court. It's a great place to spend a few hours or an entire day if you have the time. I tend to go for the spectacular views of the harbour, but as this post suggests... the views are only the beginning!
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