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Shirley Heights

Nov 14, 2010


Location: English Harbor, Antigua
Author: Matt Johnson
Today we woke up in English Harbor, Antigua with rather entertaining breakfast conversation. Last night was the grand opening of Hamilton’s, which is a fancy waterfront restaurant/bar in Nelsons Dockyard. Nelsons Dockyard is a restored colonial dockyard named for Horatio Nelson, the notorious Admiral of the British Navy in the Napoleonic Wars. Nelson himself was not fond of English Harbor calling it a vile place, or this infernal hell. However, we have really enjoyed our stay in Antigua so far and much of the crew consider it to be the best island we have visited to date. After a few laughs during breakfast we had an oceanography class. This class was focused primarily on waves. Following oceanography we went for a walk to the Arches of Hercules on the opposite side of the harbor for a lab on intertidal zones. The highlight of the lab was an octopus we found in a tide pool. When we returned to Ocean Star the apex predators and fire coral research teams dove on a reef just outside the harbor. The remainder of the crew went ashore for lunch and walked over to Falmouth Harbor to check out the largest sloop in the world which happened to be docked there. A few of us ate at the Copper and Lumber restaurant in Nelsons Dockyard and then I personally sought out a hair cut and beard trim for the first time of the trip. Once everyone showered we scheduled our classes for the next week and prepared for a night out to Shirley Heights. Shirley Heights is a former British lookout post and sits on top of a ridge that overlooks English and Falmouth Harbors. We hiked the lookout trail from Galleon Beach to make it to the top of the ridge just after sunset. As the excellent steel drum band played in the open air we all ate barbecue chicken and cheeseburgers. Following the steel drums was a reggae band and everyone got drinks and took turns on the dance floor. Shirley heights was the perfect end to an already amazing day here in Antigua.