Monday, July 23, 2012

Antigua: The Gem of the Caribbean

"All the signs pointed towards Antigua. The  island had warm, steady winds, a complex coastline of safe harbors, and a protective, nearly unbroken wall of coral reef. It would make a perfect place to hide a fleet. And so in 1784 the legendary Admiral Horatio Nelson sailed to Antigua and established Great Britain's most important Caribbean base. Little did he know that over 200 years later the same unique characteristics that attracted the Royal Navy would transform Antigua and Barbuda in one of the Caribbean's premier tourist destinations."

    This is an island that has had an attraction for me for many years, It has so many different faces as you travel around its ever changing vistas.    It is "country as a turnip green", while as urban as any metropolitan area in the world.   It has one of the most beautiful beach lines on one side while the other is a torrent of cliffs and huge breaking waves that smash against the cliffs.     In between, there is a wonderful and serene countryside that is as peaceful as any meadow in the high country of the Sierra - Nevada Mountains.

     On her south side is the safe harbour of Admiral Nelson known as the Dockyards.  Today it is one of Antigua's National Parks, providing a chance to see and understand the importance of this vital naval base in the Central Caribbean.
     "English Harbour, Antigua's graceful and evocative historic district, is focused on the fifteen square miles of Nelson's Dockyard National Park. Developed as a base for the British Navy in the great age of sail, the harbour served as the headquarters of the fleet of the Leeward Islands during the turbulent years of the late 18th century. Although the dockyard was greatly expanded at that time by Horatio Nelson, it was gradually abandoned in the nineteenth century and was closed in 1889. Today Nelson's Dockyard has been completely restored, and it is now the only Georgian dockyard in the world."

     The diversity of the Island is something that has always attracted me to go thee and I was not disappointed in any way after spending a day with a scooter traveling around this gem in the Caribbean.  ;o)