Friday, June 29, 2007

getting set for more adventure

After taking some photos of my friend’s wedding in Dominica it was a quick flight back to Antigua where we had a busy week ahead. Monday we had both boats out doing tours which was pretty good as this time of year can be pretty slow. Tuesday we used the Xtreme boat to do an eco tour so that we could do some maintenance on the eco boat. She had some slippery spots on the floors and we had to put down some new non skid as well as do a little engine maintenance too. We had both boats out again on Wednesday and today more work on the Eco boat.
July looks like it will be a very busy month so we need to get all the little jobs out of the way before then. Actually starting this weekend we have an unusual week long charter by a company in the BVI. We are being hired to transport some windsurfing equipment from Antigua and St. Martin to the BVI and be a base for this equipment for the week. It sounds kinda crazy I know, but I will explain more soon. Anyway, Tony and JD will be joining me on the trip which should be some good fun. I will also try to take photos and keep a journal of our adventure.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

A day of adventure in Dominica

There are many places that a person can go from Antigua for just one day or just a day and night. Of course I love going to Barbuda for the day or the night and always get excited when we get a private charter for Barbuda. Last year we did quite a few charters to Barbuda and I loved every one. In September and October the Adventure Antigua crew and I did several day trips to our other sister island, Redonda. That wild uninhabited island is definitely a crazy place to see and it’s a place that I want to explore once again this year. Of course, I have been to St. Martin several times and like Barbuda a trip to St. Martin is very doable as a day trip, but is much better as an over night trip from Antigua. I did this several times this year and the shopping and dining makes it a trip that I enjoy doing. Over the past year I did one other overnight trip to an island nearby. The good people at JHR Caribbean took me to their lovely hotel Silks in Dominica a few months ago and I knew I had to return soon.

Anyway, as I said yesterday I am in Dominica once again on a quick trip with my friend Ty. This time I have some responsibility though and tonight I will be taking photos of some friends wedding. Its pretty easy to get here from Antigua. You can fly one of three ways. One way is to come over with JHR’s private plane and stay at Silks. Another way is to come LIAT to Melville Hall and the way we came this time was on Carib Aviation to Cane Field near the capital. The landing was a little bumpy under the massive mountains on the leeward side, and the lady sitting up front said a few “lord save me’s”. Anyway, once we landed we took a short ride to our hotel, The Evergreen. Its a few miles down the road form the famous Fort Young hotel and a few miles less fancy. Although it’s less fancy it’s still as good for the money. The staff all is lovely and the rooms and beds are perfect. They helped us get a rental jeep and after a good b’fast we were off with guide book and map in our hands. We hit, Trafalgar Falls, Screw’s Sulphur Springs, and Titou Gorge. These major tourist sites were free of other tourists and it was just me and Ty. Trafalgar Falls I had been to three times before. The first I had cut my leg two days before and had to watch everyone swim in the Falls as I sat there keeping my stitches dry. The next time I had a cast on my ankle and couldn’t go in either. The third time I was sure to swim in these dam falls and what do you think happened. A big tropical wave was passing through and so much rain had fallen that the falls were too extreme to swim in. I sat there shaking my head looking at the natural but beautiful violence. This time I didn’t think anything could go wrong and I didn’t even think about the previous times. They were perfect! Totally perfect!!!! The sun was shining and although the waters were very cold it was exceptionally refreshing and within seconds I had forgotten about the cold. We played like little kids under the powerful falls until we realized how the time had flown by. On the way back we met two ladies half way along under a viewing platform. They said hello and offered us some fresh passion fruit juice and some acra and bakes which are local snacks. Obviously they were stationed there to sell to tourists as they made their way back from messing around in the falls and since it was just us I took the offer even though I wasn’t hungry or thirsty. The juice was so delicious and they told Ty when he remarked on how good it was that they had made it fresh this morning. We chatted about the falls and about mangoes which Ty had been going on about since we took of from Antigua. They were nice ladies and both did a double take when Ty asked how much we owed them for the juice and snacks. They laughed and said it was free. Free? Yes free since they were just taking a rest on their hike. What idiots Ty and I were. These nice ladies were doing just as we were doing….they were out for a bit of adventure and were just being nice by offering some of their own juice and snacks.

That’s something I always remark on when it comes to my previous travels to Dominica….the people are just so nice. We exchanged emails and I told them to make sure they came out on one of my tours when they were in Antigua next so that I could return the hospitality. Ty wasn’t just obsessed with Julie mangoes, but he was also into sulphur springs and close to Trafalgar was Screw’s Sulphur Spa and we made a stop in there. It was right next to Hotel Shangri-La which is where we sent my mom for her 60’th birthday present. She loved the hotel. Anyway, Ty also enjoyed the hot sulphur springs.

A super nice rastaman who we assumed was Screw offered us a bunch of fruits on the way out of his spa including the elusive Julie Mango which Ty had been so franticly searching for.
A little further down the road we stopped where they were mangos all over the roadside. A lady in the house beside said she had some Julie’s for Ty and he was smitten. We still had time for one more bit of adventure and the guide book said Titou Gorge was fairly close. Now I had never been here but had been told by many including my sister who had just been there about how lovely it was. I didn’t know exactly what to expect, and was surprised how awesome it was once we had found it and finished eating our obligatory dose of Julie Mangos. Titou Gorge seems to be an ancient pyroclastic volcanic flow which has been carved deep down into it by a river. You swim up the river inside the gorge towards a lovely waterfall. The water is very cold since you are up so high but again it was rejuvenating. The bottom of the gorge where we were swimming was wider than the top above us although it wasn’t dark there was no direct sunlight. It was something out of a Hollywood movie and a fantastic way to end our day’s adventures. On the way back to the hotel we passed by the market to find a few more mangos for ty.
Once we got back to the hotel we chilled for a few hours in the cold AC before making our way out to one of the few restaurants in Town..La Bell Creole or something like that. Anyway the food was much better than the service we received from a junior sort of waiter. A lady actually served the food and she was lovely. I found the food quite expensive for what it was but it was nice to be able to have a good meal close to our restaurant and close to the action. The action on Friday night is at Fort Young where they have a band for “happy hour” which lasts a hell of a lot longer than an hour. After one rum and coke it was time to go check back on the AC at our hotel. IT had been an action packed day and we had gotten our full.

Friday, June 22, 2007

a little trip across the water to dominica

A freind asked me to take some photos of her wedding and here i am in dominica. I came with my Antiguan friend Ty a day early to take some time to explore Dominica.

I will write more tomorrow before or after the wedding, but here are a few pics of The Nature Isle.

Monday, June 18, 2007

A relaxed sunday in Antigua

Thanks to the 41st Annual Sport Fishing Competition opening party held a few weeks ago, I managed to win some very nice prizes in their raffle. We did buy quite a few tickets as seen above. I won a zip line ride with Antigua Rainforest Company, a dinner for two at the Coast, a dinner for two at The Carlisle Bay and also a dinner for two at The Inn in English Harbour. Anyway, I have done the zipline tour as you know. Here is Iain’s little video clip:

Until yesterday I hadn’t used the other fine prizes. Yesterday we went for a nice drive in the afternoon to see some friends on the South side. We ended up at a fund pre school fund raiser on Galleon Beach and bumped into Alexis Andrews and his family there. He said his book is doing very well at the moment. Check it out. Anyway, afterwards we went for a nice swim at Windward beach which wasn’t very busy at all. There were over one hundred people on Pigeon Beach and like 4 on Windward so it was very nice indeed. The waves were quite big but the little tide pools were calm enough to relax in while little sergeant major fish swam around us. Tide pools are always interesting places to explore and with their abundance of interesting marine life it can be quite exciting too. After several mangos which we picked up on the way up Fig Tree drive I needed a drink. IT was Sunday afternoon and we were in English Harbour…..where could I get a drink? SHIRLEY HEIGHTS!!!! Woooo hoooo! I haven’t been there for ages and ages and we got there just for the last steel band set just as the sun set. There are few places in the Caribbean as beautiful as that place. The sweet sound of the steel drum music with the taste of a nice rum and coke is hard to beat. Add a nice sunset and some good company and you are loving life! I was too.
It wasn’t long before the rum in my belly needed company and at this time of the year in Antigua there isn’t much choice in English Harbour. Recently a classmate of mine had told me that the new chef at The Inn where she works was excellent, and I remembered that I had the “dinner for two” letter in my car. Why not? We met up with some friends there on the way down the hill and went into their lovely bar for a drink first.

There are few bars in Antigua as beautiful as this one and although I took a few photos last night they don’t do the place justice.

It is very lovely and full of atmosphere. After a drink we were seated indoors as there had just been a little shower and were given menus. The hotel was purchased a few years ago by an Italian group and although it maintains much of its British tradition it now has quite a bit of Italian flair. This was certainly evident on its lovely menu. The four of us all agreed that our meal was lovely.

My rack of Lamb was fantastic...........:

and the Papaya and Ginger Crème Brulee was out of this world and just slightly better than the passion fruit cheese cake.

I would tell you to go there for that desert if nothing else, but it was all good and worth a hell of a lot more than the EC $5 raffle ticket that got me there. Thanks to the Inn and the Antigua Sport Fishing Club! IF you are here this summer and want to have to try something different please go and have a nice meal at the Inn. Get there before sunset so you can see the fantastic view from the Bar too.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Jolly Harbour - And a category 5 hurricane (part 2)

Wow, three people today gave me a bollocking for not writing my blog more often and “on time”. I can only laugh.
Anyway, back to the hurricane Luis, my dad’s boat and Jolly Harbour.
As we rounded the point and saw Steven Mendes’ boat sitting there exactly as we had left it we must have forgot for a split second about dad’s boat. But as the second past we began to panic. Where the hell was it? There were several other boats that had come into that bay after we had left and none were there now. We sped up into the newly decimated mangrove habitat that was a magnificent display of the complex marine ecosystem 24 hours before. This is a photo of the boat i started the eco tour on in the mangroves, and it is the same one we were on that day.

It looked like it had been burned……the whole island did. Not a green thing was left on the island. As we got deeper into the inlet we spotted two of the other boats which had dragged their anchors and were now high and dry up on top of the mangrove wreckage. The first thing we saw of my Dad’s “Blue Rapid” was its taught anchor rope coming out of the water going behind of some rocks. Our hearts sank at the sight but as we got closer the Blue Rapid started coming into view. The big anchor had dragged and the little one had burst its line allowing the boat to get washed inland towards the rocks. Somehow with rocks on either side of her, she managed to squeeze between and get washed about 15 feet back onto land and over the mangroves. They had to be about 4 feet above sea level too. We tied up my little boat to some of the red mangrove roots that still managed to be secure in the mud and piled out to inspect the damage to Blue Rapid. As we were doing that, Eddie Barreto came along to inspect his Carriacou yacht that was also sitting high up on some mangroves. There was one other yacht belonging to my friend Kevin Gomez’s dad, and that was also up on land tilted sickly on its side. As we walked around below Blue Rapid we started to realize that the stains from the mangroves were just stains and actually there was no damage at all to the boat. Dad was elated for a few minutes until he realized how far the boat actually was out of the water. We were in the middle of nowhere and there was no way a crane could get in there. Pulling it back into the sea would be quite a job and would possibly damage the rudders props and shafts. Anyway, it was still intact as were all the other boats in that bay. Many around Antigua hadn’t fared as well. Many were lost. The next day we got Uncle Nick (Dr. Fuller) to come up with his salvage boat “Nicole” which had survived the storm in some other mangroves down the coast. He is probably the best salvage guy in the Eastern Caribbean with all the gear and no how. We took off the props and he started pulling. While he was doing that I went looking for my dad’s anchor with my scuba tank. Not only did I find his but found two others from the other boats which had busted off. Anyway, after about 2 hours of pulling Uncle Nick and “Nicole” finally managed to bring The Blue Rapid back to a more dignified resting position…afloat on the water. This pic is of my Dad in the middle below with some of the other "antiguan olympic team" after a fishing trip years later on Blue Rapid. Good thing she wasn't wrecked.Anyway,....finally we could go back to Jolly Harbour. Oh ya……JOLLY HARBOUR!!!
We had heard that some of the buildings had lost tiles from their roofs and that two boats had sunk. One had fallen which was in the part of the boat yard which didn’t have a concrete floor, but it sounded like Jolly Harbour and all of the 500 or so villas was still standing. So we finally get back to the little dock with Steve’s boat on one side and Dad’s on the other and notice quite a bit of damage to the dock. We do a little investigating and find out that just a few hours before the storm was about to detonate over Antigua and Barbuda “Lobster King” and his glass bottom boat pulled into Jolly Harbour looking for refuge. The first available dock he found was Dad and Steve’s so he pulled up and tied off. And wouldn’t you know it………the next morning he came down to find that his boat, like most others tied to docks in jolly Harbour, was as secure as he had left it. My Dad and Steve probably could have done the same without any trouble!!!! Jolly Harbour had made it through the storm like no other place in Antigua. The electricity and water was running the day after the storm even though it took three months where I lived to get electricity back. The vast majority of boats were fine as were the villas, and the next week villa sales and rentals picked up. A few years later there were still many villas unsold and prices were still hovering fairly low without anyone making any money on their original real estate prospecting on villas. All of a sudden the US dollar started a downward slide against the pound and Euro and people from Great Britain and Europe started buying. In fact, they bought at such a manic rate that by the time local people realized what was going on there were no villas left in Jolly Harbour. There were only re-sales and the prices on them were going through the roof. Right now it is not unheard of for a simple villa in need of some work to go for US $300K. Even after Luis they were being sold for about $140. How things can change so quickly is surprising for some people. Not for others…..I bet old Dr. Erhart R.I.P wasn’t surprised at all.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Jolly Harbour - And a category 5 hurricane (part 1)

Despite only having one direct hit from a hurricane between 1954 and 1995, on the last day of August in that year we all knew things were about to turn sour. The horrific looking Hurricane Luis was traveling very slowly on a track straight for Antigua.

The satellite maps showed the massive storm churning slowly across the Atlantic. All reports indicated that we wouldn't escape, and people across the island and other islands nearby were frantically doing last minute preparations.

Things didn’t look good at all and my dad was extremely worried about his most prized possession…his boat.
Of course he had workmen doing work on his house putting in extra nails, screws and hurricane clips but the boat was a major worry. It was being kept alongside a dock in Jolly Harbour outside a property that he shared with Steve Mendes. Steve’s boat was there too. The problem was that Jolly Harbour had never been tested by a hurricane and nobody wanted to see what a category 4 or 5 storm would do. Some feared that nothing at all would be left. After all, the place was on the water and the seawall was only about 2 feet above regular tide level. On the day before the storm was due to hit which I think was September 2nd 1995 my dad and Steve decided to move the boats up into a traditional sort of hiding place for boats during storms. The mangrove inlets scattered around Antigua have been very good historically and they both felt that the boats would be safer tied up close inside a mangrove inlet. The one they chose was in Seatons up near Pineapple hotel. I remember taking the small boat from where I live to meet up with them in Seatons that day. We had loaded a massive anchor which probably weighed about 300 lbs into my boat as an extra for my dad’s boat. Together with the massive chain we were sure that there was no possible way for the boat to drag. Steve secured his boat and then helped us get this massive anchor into the water for Dad’s boat. Once we were all comfortable with how the boats sat in that little mangrove inlet we took off back towards home. There was no doubt that Jolly Harbour wouldn’t be safe during a category five hurricane. The storm came and as we sat locked down on the ground floor of my dad’s house listening to all sorts of crashing and scary noises outside. I secretly started feeling sorry for Dad. No boat could make it through those winds. Officially Hurricane Luis was a Category four hurricane when it hit Antigua, but the measurement was taken after it had passed over. The US Naval Base here at the time recorded a gust of 190 knots 218 mph, so I think we had a cat 5 storm. Anyway, people here knew it was a cat 5. The island was a total mess and although we had Hurricane Hugo hit us in 1989 giving us some idea of what a bad storm would be like, the island took the Louis hit hard. Concrete houses were destroyed all over the place and we saw things that we had never dreamed of. The funny thing is that many wooden houses still stood….testament to good design and construction. My dad’s wooden house was one of them. Apart from the garden which his wife cried over upon seeing it, the house wasn’t harmed at all. Plants and trees were down all around the house and the sight of dead birds made it even more awful. After making sure that all friends and family were ok, it was time to go and check on the boat. Of course the entire island looked different and we were able to see things that we had never seen before. Imagine your home town without a single leaf on any tree….imagine most of the trees being down. Things come into view that were hidden before. The coast looked different. Beaches had disappeared and some had been moved. As we got closer to Seatons Harbour I worried more and more. Coming around the last point Steve’s boat came into View as if it had left the planet the night before the storm and had just returned. It was in perfect shape and even looked better with the water blasting it had taken. Immediately we recognized that my Dad’s boat was missing!!!!
Read part two tomorrow to find out about the old man's boat and what happened in Jolly Harbour.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Jolly Harbour - one man's dream

Over the past year we have been trying to buy a piece of land in Jolly Harbour where we can keep our boats in the future. Last month I started renting a villa here as well. It’s an interesting place. Jolly Harbour is really more than just a big marina. It’s a story, a town, and an unusual man’s dream. There is now way that I can come close to touching the full story that is Jolly Harbour, but this blog entry today will give some general info about the place which at the end of the day is the main base of Adventure Antigua and is also the place where we plan to expand into new areas.
Back when I was a youngster, my father, uncle and some of their friends would hunt wild ducks in the winter at several places around Antigua. One of the best spots in Antigua was exactly where Jolly Harbour is now. It was a huge mangrove salt pond filled with wildlife and nothing else. Tourism in Antigua was on a high point at the time and when the owner of the largest hotel on the island told the Prime Minister about his dream to turn the “mosquito ridden swamp” into the largest Marina in the Eastern Caribbean, the idea was welcomed. Environmental concerns were worse than they are now, and now they are not that good either. Jolly Beach located next door to the swamp, was owned by the Swiss hotel tycoon, Dr. Alfred Erhart who had made squillions with his hotel and real estate deals in the Mediterranean. I think his company was called Universal. I always thought he was a unusual man because of his fishing habits. When he was here in Antigua he loved to go fishing, but not the type of fishing that most of the other multi millionaires did. Dr. Erhart would go out on a tiny aluminum skiff by himself with a little net. He would set the net and catch small fish off Jolly Harbour. People on yachts would wonder who this poor white fisherman was. Most other men with his kind of money had 65 foot Bertram sportfishing boats with full time crew. His idea of fishing was more simple. His mega marina idea wasn't. One day after Jolly Harbour had been finished and was hosting a stop during the Antigua Sailing Week event here, I sat next to him as he chatted with my Dad. You see, my Dad was his lawyer here at the time. Anyway, my Dad looking around him at the thousands of people and hundreds of yachts said, “Doc, are you happy with all of this”. Dr. Earhart said with a smile and a scratchy voice, “You know I only did it originally to stop the mosquitoes from biting my Jolly Beach guests”. I thought that was such a funny thing to hear. Anyway, he went on to describe how the idea had developed while running his Jolly Beach Hotel into something much bigger and meaningful to him. Some say that between the two developments he spent US $400 million. It was quite obvious that Jolly Harbour was a passion of his, and despite criticism from a great many people, he pushed on with the development. He loved Antigua and wanted to prove all his advisors wrong about the Jolly Harbor concept. Even as we sat there, Jolly Harbour was still not self sufficient and in fact was far from being the success that he had envisioned. At that time back in the mid 90s most of the 500 or so villas remained unoccupied. Villa sales had been terrible and some people thought that the entire project would end up being a white elephant. The funny thing is that they were not that bad looking. The blocks of two bedroom waterfront villas that had seawall ready for dock space and were going for as little as US $140K. Many Antiguans (who are kicking themselves now) were sure that it would all be knocked down in a hurricane.

They also never dreamed that the prices would go so high. They were so wrong. Will write more tomorrow.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Making a new brochure...wanna help?

Today i am making a new brochure for the Xtreme -round the island Tour.
The brochure will cover two different tours around antigua on our faster boat Xtreme. One of the tours will be making a stop at the Stingray City Marine Park where our partners take us on a tour of their big off shore aquarium filled with rays and other exotic life. The other tour is the same round the island trip substituting The Marine Park with a extra snorkeling stop near bird island.
Anyway, if you would like to help design a brochure or at least help me pick some good photos that would interest would be guests then have a look at the current brochure which folds into three in an upright. It is seen folded out flat below. The first photo is of the front (outer fold):

and the second is the inside fold:

I want to change the front more than anything and am thinking about putting several photos on the front far right fold. Then goto this Flickr link: and on the top row on the right hand side there is a box titled "photos related to my job" on that and there are 100 photos that we can pick from to use on the new brochure. After you have found one that you like, copy the url and paste it into the comment section below this post. There is a comment verification email that i have to approve (so that we dont get porn crap on this blog) and then your pick or picks will be listed below this blog entry. IT can be fun. The point is that we are trying to get the best possible photos that will help generate more interest in this tour. I think its an excellent tour which just hasn't had as many people try it as we have had on the eco tour. By offering another version of the same tour to this new brochure, we will be able to offer it at a better rate. Anyway, thanks for the help. The top photo is of some of the crew after coming in from Fridays tours. Eli

Friday, June 08, 2007

the antigua humane society

Here on Antigua and Barbuda we are sometimes guilty of being a little behind when it comes to the proper treatment of animals. Of course this is being very general and most of the animals here in Antigua and Barbuda are treated very well indeed. Some animals like my "Sparky" are treated too well!

Anyway, despite what the silly animated forecasts on, and others which have led people to believe it rains all the time, we have had almost no rain at all in Antigua for about 2 months and the poor grazing animals have been suffering. Isn't it funny how most people think its raining here all the time after seeing a stupid thing like this:
Many animal owners have had a difficult time finding food and water for their animals which often are kept in remote areas, but as we can see from the post on the antigua news group, some owners have neglected their duty. This situation sounds aweful, and after speaking with someone at The Antigua Humane Society i have a better understanding about how serious this drought is. They are overwhelmed with donkeys, cats, dogs and horses and only are able to operate with donations from people like us. Their funds are limited and they are unwilling to take any more large animals as this would take away from the ones they have now. They need more financial assistance as you would immagine. Feed for donkeys and horses seems to be a big problem at the moment. All of this kinda stuff is more expensive here. They gave me the phone number of the Government Vet. There are 2 of them: Dr. Goodwin and Dr. Diaz. I spoke with Dr. Goodwin who seems like a lovely caring lady faced with a very difficult job. She was sending someone from her office to go and inspect the poor horse, but said that she only had two options. The first is a tricky one which relies on finding the owner. If and its a big IF they find the owner, then he can be forced to do something and or face penalties. The problem with this she says, is that when conditions are as dry as they are now many animal owners who can't look after their animals seem to dissapear. If they can not be located, then the only thing left to do is option number 2 which is a terrible one. Putting the animal down is the last resort and something that the Vet hates doing. Anyway, they will determine if this has to be done in this case after the animal is located.
Someone on the message board said that nothing can be done, but as you can see just from reading above there is much to be done and much that can be done. I think that if the Antigua Humane Society had more resources then they would be able to take in more animals. I think that you can email them first and then send them a donation. Their web site with email is : and i think you should email them if you care about stray and unfortunate animals in Antigua and Barbuda. Its people like you and me that will make a difference. Something can be done. Email them. This blog is co-sponsored by the good people at JHR.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

"The Caribbean as a Terrorist hub." Idiotic statement.

Today I read an article in The Economist online: and have to say that it enraged me. Look how the article begins: "In the wake of the arrests on June 2nd of several Caribbean nationals in an alleged plot to attack John F Kennedy airport in New York, questions are swirling over the threat of terrorist cells sprouting up across the region and its potential use as a base to launch attacks against the US." A friend of mine from Trinidad was surprised that the whole region has now been implicated. Why is fear such a powerful tool used in the media?

This hypothesis seems to be rampant all over the US media as well as with "officials". Thankfully I don't have TV at the moment after this move, but I am sure it’s even worse with Fox and CNN. To show how stupid this kind of statement is I will just go over a few things. What is really considered "The Caribbean"? According to Wiki the "The a region of the Americas consisting of the Caribbean Sea, its islands (most of which enclose the sea), and the surrounding coasts. The region is located southeast of Northern America, east of Central America, and to the north and west of South America." Take a look at this map: to get an idea how large and separated it is. Most of the named areas are different countries all together. Guyana, an independent country, is further from Havana, Cuba in the North of the Caribbean than Rome is from Bagdad. As far as Cuba is from Guyana is about as different as the people, politics, language and ethnic makeup. The funny thing is that you don't have to go far in the Caribbean to be dramatically different. Let’s just look at Antigua for example and compare it to our neighbors Guadeloupe. These islands are only 50 miles apart and today as it’s so beautifully clear, we can even see each other. We are as different as you can get though so to be grouped in the media as "the Caribbean" with the implication that terrorist cells are quietly organized ready for attack is asinine and totally irresponsible. The general lack of good geography education in the USA is famous and can only be made worse during situations like this. It is so frustrating to me and other people who rely on tourism to see our little independent island in the cross hairs of the war on terror because of idiotic news headlines. Some people may think that I am taking this too far, but I can tell you that when someone who doesn't know the West Indies well reads the Economist article they may think twice about booking their winter holiday here.

Now the story of these bumbling idiots or would be terrorists is obviously going to get plenty air time for many reasons. Many would say that anything that shows some success in the war on terror will be highlighted and the US authorities did an excellent job of infiltrating and eventually busting this group using other criminals. The fact of the matter though is that this alleged group of would be terrorists appear to have been pretty stupid (thank god) and according to some officials had no chance of doing any harm. According to the New York Times these misfits were more talk than action which we can all thank God for. That being said I find it so strange that there are articles all over the web implying that the Caribbean is a hotbed of terrorist cells. Trinidad and Guyana in the far south of the Caribbean Basin are up to 2000 miles away from the Northern part of the Caribbean and are independent nations. After the end of slavery in 1834, plantation owners sought laborers from India as spoken about on wiki: "As can be seen in the movie "Guiana 1838, after the slaves were freed, the plantation owners were desperate for new sources of labor. In 1839 the British government began a program of recruiting Indian labourers (or coolies) in Calcutta to be sent to Trinidad and British Guiana (now Guyana). They bound themselves to work as indentured labourers for a set number of years on the plantations." This is how the Trinidad and Guyana came to have East Indians making up large parts of their populations bringing along their culture and religions including the Muslim faith. Unfortunately, Muslim extremism however small, does seem to exist in these two countries and there have been several occasions where "terrorist crimes" have been committed. The weirdest thing is that Muslim extremism in Trinidad seems to be limited to a small group of Afro-Trinidadians. The most infamous group is the Jamaat al Muslimeen which as WIKI says is a known terrorist group headed by Yasin Abu Bakr who tried to take over the Trinidadian government in a coup in 1990. This group arrested with the terrorist plot at JFK is allegedly linked with the Jamaat al Muslimeen.

Anyway, all of this has nothing at all to do with the rest of the Caribbean region. In fact, even Tobago which is part of the country called Trinidad and Tobago has no Muslim influence of any sort. It is so unfortunate that Trinidad and Guyana have been slated let alone the rest of the region. This tiny group is insulated and separate from the rest of us in the region. The independent Christian nation of Antigua and Barbuda is 754 miles from Georgetown, Guyana and 446 miles from Port of Spain, Trinidad. Between Antigua and Trinidad and Guyana there are so many other countries, cultures, languages and ocean. I think the generalization as spelled out in the Economist and other media publications is just ridiculous, and I think that the media is just keeping people in the dark while causing many innocent people to be slated and discriminated against. Shame on them!

This photo below was taken on the sister island of Trinidad, Tobago where the tourism must be taking a hit at the moment because of irresponsible journalism.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Antigua photos

The Antigua photographers were at woods gallery on Friday evening with Alexis Andrews there for the opening as well. Alexis is generally recognized as our best photographer and was there to show support for the photographers on exhibit as well as to show his new book "IMAGES" which is the most lovely coffee table book of photographs on Antigua that has been published since the original one done by Alan Aflak back in the 80s. This is a photo i took of him taking a photo of some dolphins on the way to Redonda:

Instead of using all his own photos which he easily could have done, Alexis used some great images from other local photographers as well. At the time that he was selecting images, i didn't have many done with a super duper camera and most of them were too small. He chose one of mine which i am very happy with. ITs a version of this one:

Anyway, my friends Alex Portman, Roddy Grimes Graeme, and Alan Aflak have photos in the book as well. You can buy copies of the book on line. I think there is a link to it on my links page and will attach the link before i post this blog. Go to the bottom of my website's links section and you will find the images link.
Anyway, Lisa Farara of Quin Farara liquors did a lovely job of providing the wine tasting which is quite common at Woods Gallery exhibition openings. The canapes were done by Jan Jackson and were delicious too.
Again, the photographers on display at the Woods Art Gallery during the month of June are as follows: Jan Jackson with lovely photos mostly of birds taken near her home on the South West side of Antigua. You can see more of her work on her web site.
Joseph Jones did manage to get his images into the show after all and apart from seeing his lovely work at the Woods Gallery. You can see more of his images on his website . Also there on display was Roland Hansen. I know he reads the blog and will hopefully comment below with his website. By the way, i love your photo of the guy "picking nuts" out of the coconut tree.
The last photographer on display was Eli Fuller (me) and my photos were a mix of different things you would see in the caribbean if you spent quite a bit of time on or around the water. You can see more of my images on this flickr site.
The show was a very nice affair but i must say that it could have been busier. Its funny how in Antigua many people keep saying that there isn't enough to do. Woods Art Gallery openings are always a nice way to end the work week and next time that you hear about one....try it. For now, our photo exhibition will be on display for the whole month of june. Although you can see many of the images on the web, it is far better to view them large and in nice frames. Jan even makes her own lovely frames at home too. Of course there are many other art forms and artists on display in the main part of the Woods Gallery. It will make a good stop on an island tour. Just goto woods mall on the opposite end of epicurean right next to the Carib Photo lab. Have a great June!

Friday, June 01, 2007

some of my photos on show tonight

Yup! Tonight there is an art gallery showing at Woods Gallery where several Antiguan photographers will be showing their work. Some dude called Eli Fuller will have photos there too:)

So I am joining Jan Jackeson, Sokoto George, Roland Hansen and hopefully Joseph Jones in the exhibit. If you are here on island and are thinking of doing something different, please consider coming down anytime after 5:30 pm to The Woods Mall on the opposite end from Epicurean next to the photo lab.
Quin Farara liquor store will be c0-sponsoring a wine tasting as well during the show and Tony and the boys from Adventure Antigua will also be putting on some special rum punch as well.

The photo exhibit will run for the month of June in one whole section of the Woods Art Gallery, but the other half will have the usual variety of Antiguan art work. While you are in Antigua you should definitely go and have a look. Hope to see you there tonight.

As you know, if you have been reading my blog over the past week, JHR Caribbean (a.k.a Caribbean Real Estate) was kind enough to sponsor our Xtreme team in the 41st Annual Sport Fishing Tournament. As our exclusive sponsor, they also get to have their banner on the blog for three months. Not only are they the first sponsor of the Xtreme Team but they are also the first sponsor of the Antigua Island blog. So to Nadia, Derek, Adam, and the rest of the gang....Thank you. I am sure that you will get some return on your investment. The time right now is 9:45 am and my blog has gotten 134 unique visitors already for the day. Good luck and thanks again.