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Visiting The Pillars of Hercules!

The Pillars of Hercules is a natural phenomenon in Antigua where water erosion carves out a cliff face into ‘pillars’ like those seen in Greek or Roman architecture. The site was recently nominated to become a ‘Natural Wonder of the World’, but sadly didn’t claim the title. Regardless, I figured a trip to see the pillars would be a great weekend activity.

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There are two ways to get to there. For the physically adventurous, there’s a hiking path which takes visitors to the cliffside. To take this route, interested persons can inquire at the Information Office at Nelson’s Dockyard. We decided to take the easier route, and opted to hire a water taxi to take us out into the harbour for some awesome seaside views instead.

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The day before, we went to Nelson’s Dockyard to inquire about the water taxi and to make our reservation. We took a leisurely stroll through the area, snapping photos of the different sights before we found the skipper of the water taxi. We made our appointment, then returned home.

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The next day, we arrived about 4pm to begin our tour. Our Skipper was called Mannix, and he took us out to sea in a little speed boat. It became quite the adventure when we left the calm waters of English Harbour and came into contact with some waves of somewhat epic proportions.

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We passed two ancient fortresses, known as Fort Berkeley and Fort Charlotte. They once protected the island from pirates and today they’re beautiful relics of Antigua’s history.

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Before we knew it, we were approaching the Pillars of Hercules. The site was awe-inspiring, and it was truly astonishing to think that they were created by Mother Nature.
We snapped as many photos as we could before turning around to return to the harbour.

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Mannix mentioned that he needed to pick up a few folks from Galleon Beach, so we got a little more sightseeing than we’d bargained for! It was fun to weave through the throngs of yachts, as we made our way to the jetty at the beach.

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We moved over to make space for the newcomers then headed back for Nelson’s Dockyard.

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After hopping out of the boat, we paid Mannix $4 USD for the trip, which in our opinion was a really decent price. We had such a great time, that I’m pretty sure we’ll be back with a few more friends before the year is over.

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Photo Post: Half Moon Bay, Antigua

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Appreciating My Own Homeland

Inspired by posts about local travel by other travel bloggers such as Bama, I decided to show my readers one of my most beloved areas of Antigua. The Village of English Harbour is a well established port, mostly entertaining yachts from all over the world. Some days, I simply bring my laptop or a novel to my favourite cafe in the village and watch the world go by. Introducing my ‘Spot’: The Skullduggery Cafe!

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As the name suggests, this is a cafe that’s mostly frequented by sailors, located in the heart of the Antigua Yacht Club Marina. I spent quite a bit of the last week here simply writing for this site. The atmosphere is really relaxing during the day until about 4pm when the sailors are finished working and make their way to the watering hole.

 Location

This is one of the high points of Skullduggery Cafe. It’s situated right on the dock of the marina, literally four steps from falling off the pier. Thankfully the water is really shallow, like only two feet deep, for anyone concerned about the safety of little children.

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Nearby, lots of private yachts are moored, and due to the fact that Antigua has one of the most popular harbours in the Caribbean, you may see several super yachts such as one belonging to Bill Gates. The area is very peaceful, and many visitors go to the cafe with a book in hand to just simply kick back and relax.

 Dining

Several tables and chairs are scattered about just outside of the establishment, and each table seats four guests comfortably. The cafe has both a breakfast and a lunch menu available for guests who want to grab a bite. Breakfast items include two eggs prepared in any style for $6 USD and a number of sides are available for an extra cost: Fried tomatoes, ham, bacon and toast. Pancakes are prepared on request for $3 USD as well as fruits and bagels.

I usually arrive at the cafe around lunch time, so I end up always ordering from the afternoon menu.

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Pastas are available for around $10 USD, and their Philly Steak sandwich for $7 is a great choice. However my favourite dish is their Toasted Ham, Cheese, Tomato and Onion sandwich for $4. The melted cheddar cheese creates a really zesty flavour when combined with the tomato and onions!

 Drinks

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The cafe also serves as a bar, with a large selection of liquors on their shelves. The bartenders serve the usual suspects such as Screwdrivers and Mojitos, but the Espresso Martinis and the Cappuchino Martinis are the house specialties. The concoction is made right infront of the customer, and the brew is then poured directly into a martini glass. Expect to pay about $6 US for the martini.

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Cold soft drinks such as Mountain Dew and Coca Cola can be bought, as well as hot beverages such as coffee and tea.

 Summary

While the food and beverages are really good here, the main draw is the view and the ambience. The establishment is really laid back, and even pets are allowed to roam freely. On my last visit, a very friendly Bull Mastiff walked about, receiving many pats and scatches behind the ear from all of the guests, while his owner drank a Carib beer nearby.

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Skullduggery Cafe is where I go to relax after a hectic day, and I hope you can see why I’m one of their favourite customers! In order to appreciate international travel, sometimes you need to start by looking a little closer to home!