English Harbour

27th to 30th April 2019

We anchored off galleon beach, which was very busy indeed as it was the first day of Antigua sailing week (we didn’t realise this until we saw the spinnakers flying on the way in and checked on our phones). Don’t anchor in proximity to the buoys off the dinghy dock – the holding is shockingly bad. We anchored once, ended up a touch too close to the boat behind but it looked ok. Then, I noticed we’d got a little closer; so we tried to anchor 20m further forward. All good, it seemed – the anchor held initially. Then at 1am, we were back in close-proximity to the boat behind – and there had not been a lot of wind as far as we had noticed.

So, not trusting that spot, we moved into the corner by the resorts watersports dock. Much better holding and enough space, despite the sleepy “Don’t anchor close to me. Go away” from a friendly neighbour who we’d probably awoken with our movements. Over the next few days we saw another three boats anchor in the spot we had vacated, all ended up moving to other spots after dragging. The same happened to a couple of boats anchored just on the other side of the buoys. From how the chain felt, I’m guessing there’s a thin layer of sand over rock.

The next morning I popped in to clear customs and immigration, which was fine – not cheap, as you have harbour fees to pay as well as entry fees, but easy enough and all computerised. The lady at customs was not amused that I had put Arthur down as crew rather than a passenger, so we had to change that (my explanation that he brought the anchor up and was on watch for a while wasn’t sufficient for listing a five-year-old as crew). But anyway, all good.

Shopping was decent – there’s a supermarket with a dinghy dock just past the marina in the lagoon, but horrendously expensive.

The area is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is very pretty indeed. If you take the dinghy to the small dock behind the superyacht berths there is a lovely short walk up to the fort – and a longer walk that takes you in the direction of Falmouth Harbour. Theo was tired so we only did the short one this time around. After that we visited the bakery and the Dockyard Museum – full of naval information (including about Nelson, yes) and lots of other interesting objects which we spent a while discussing while Hector crawled around.