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Jol Byerley’s Sept 06 Letter from Antigua

Naturally, at this time of year the yachting scene is pretty darn quiet! But on looking around, there seem to be more yachts based here for the summer than I might have expected. Both in English Harbour and in the Jolly Harbour Marina around on the west coast of the island ,there are many vessels all hauled out of the water until the hurricane season is safely passed. English Harbour however, does seem to have a lot of yachts still lived on, all prepared to dive for the mangroves if storms head our way. But a lot is happening as far as the coming season is concerned. Anyway, I should say that Antigua Slipway is packed with vessels on the hard and so is Jolly Harbour.

A big new gas and fueling station is nearing completion just north of the road which leads to the Antigua Yacht Club. This will be greatly appreciated by both motorists and yachtsmen. Hugh Bailey is extending the Catamaran Marina in time for the coming season, and six more large yachts of 100ft plus will soon have a new home there. Hugh’s other big marina in Falmouth has also added more space, as has the Yacht Club Marina.

In English Harbour, the old dock below Clarence House built so many years ago is now being prepared as the new south coast home for the Antigua Coast Guard. Also in English Harbour, the 34 room hotel, “The Inn,” overlooking the harbour entrance, has finished its total renovation and is now really a hotel to be proud of, in a location like no other! Also the Admirals Inn inside Nelsons Dockyard, and perhaps one of the oldest hotels in the island, may have very big news any day now. So stand by!

Meanwhile TiTi Thwaites, a go ahead Antiguan, has a fleet of 40 rent a cars and trucks based at Temo Sports on the way to the A.Y.C. Lion Rent a Car has 80 cars located between his base on the Dockyard Drive (not far from the English Harbour Police Station) and at the International Airport.

A new complex under the name of the Anchorage, and only recently completed, stands between the gates to Nelsons Dockyard and restaurants such as Le Cap Horn and Trappers. In this area there are some excellent small eating places and bars, all of which will be open again for the coming season. The Look Out Bar and restaurant, operated by Valerie Hodge and on top of Shirely Heights, is still the place to go on Sunday evening when a steel band as well as one of the top island bands take it in turns to entertain the large crowds.

Meanwhile Ann Marie Martin, the Nelsons Dockyard and Antigua National Parks Commissioner, and her hard working committee, and Harbour Master Marius are concentrating on upgrading everything to do with the historic old naval dockyard–new lights on the channel markers in both Falmouth and English Harbour, a clearing of the build up of silt so that the channels have at least 15ft at low water, and the restoring of many of the old buildings inside Nelsons Dockyard, including the Copper and Lumber Store Hotel. Also a new portable fire pump, and the training of a crew to man it. Already, with the new wall constructed for yachts to moor stern too, and a complete face lift to the Dockyard itself, the only working Georgian Dockyard in the world almost looks like it has just been built, instead of a broken down ruin as it was when I first saw it in 1957.

I am quite sure a report of this nature should be longer and more detailed. So to those who might have been mentioned and have not, please don’t shoot me now. I apologize. Anyway, in these long hot months of summer the marine and yachting community in Antigua is far from dozing. We really look forward to the coming season.

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