Day CS5, Wednesday, December 19, Antigua

Trip Start Dec 07, 2012
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13
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Trip End Dec 22, 2012


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Flag of Antigua and Barbuda  , Antigua,
Thursday, December 20, 2012

I slept very well Tuesday night, ignored the alarm when it went off at 5, but rose about 5:45.  It looks like the uncrowded ports of the Southern Caribbean are behind us as the Carnival Freedom and Adventure of the Seas are docked beside us.  This is the last of the ports on this cruise I will be visiting for the first time.  I walked about 1 1/2 miles on deck 11 and was just finishing up as the sun came up over Antigua.

Tracey (the Bride) had suggested at dinner that the Nelson Dockyards might be a good place to visit.  I had no real plans for the day and decided to give it a try.  After getting a map at the information kiosk, I walked over to West Bus Station where I was directed to a number 17 bus.  One of the things that was alarming was that the bus did not leave until every seat was full, but we did finally start the 20-minute ride.  I was feeling much a stranger but was comforted by having 4 passengers from the Freedom along for the ride

English Harbor was used as a refuge from hurricanes since at least the 17th century.  It was the primary British naval base in the area for about 150 years before closing in 1889 due to the combined arrival of peace and steamships.  It was abandoned for over half a century before reopening in 1961 and is now a National Park.  I was slow warming up to the dockyard.  Despite being a Park, it is mostly shops with just 1 or 2 museum sites.  I didn't find the map we were given very useful.  I was just about to leave when I noticed a reference on the map to Fort Berkeley and a trail leading to it from the dingy dock.  Neither the fort nor the dingy dock were shown on the map but I did find the trail and walked out to Fort Berkeley.  It was a very nice walk leading to stunning vistas of the harbor, a guard house, and a powder magazine.  There was also a side trail which I followed briefly up to a high point overlooking the complex, but did not continue very far in the heat.

The bus back to town started out empty but filled up pretty quickly along the way.  Once in town I explored a bit on foot, stopping at the Episcopal Cathedral, badly damaged by an 1843 earthquake and looking like a ruin, but apparently still used for daily services.  Restoration seems to be a continuing process.  I returned to the ship and had lunch around 2:30 and spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing.

I lost track of time.  When I heard a horn I went up to the Oceanview Cafe to see who was leaving and there were no ships around.  Only then did I realize that we were moving.  As we sailed away rain seemed to be imminent.

The headline entertainment was juggler Dan Bennett.

Today's parting shot comes from my trip to Nelson's Dockyard.  I was feeling pretty disappointed in the place until I saw the little note about Fort Berkeley.  Sometimes the best things are the ones least expected.

Roy
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