Monday, November 26, 2007

the tide is changing

After my last blog entry i figured i better "spill the beans" about some of Adventure Antigua's plans to become more green. In Antigua like most places businesses have to keep a lid on their plans so that other parties don't jump on the band wagon. We have seen some of our business plans copied pretty closely before. In this case however, it may not be a bad thing. One of the many things we are doing to lower our ecological footprint is making plans to expand / diversify into areas where we burn way less fuel. At the moment both of our boats are powered by the most eco friendly motors available to push at the speeds we need to do the 40 mile round trip on the eco boat and the 60+ mile trip on Xtreme. We still end up using significant amounts of fuel. Not much is spoken about the negative effects of fiberglass and other resin laminated boats either. Most boats are built with some sort of composits and the process is not eco friendly at all. Fiberglass boats last forever and are built with non renewable resource materials. With our new venture we will be using sailing vessels to do eco tours in an effort to move away from a heavy reliance on fossil fuels for our tours, but they will also be wooden in an effort to use a renewable material.
As i write this there are people looking into replanting trees in the areas where the wood is being harvested for our new boat. Our new boat which at the moment is still in the planning stages will be a traditionally built wooden sloop. I first spoke with the builders about my plans when they were here during the Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta two years ago. These guys have great passion for their trade and skills as boat builders. This brings us to another aspect to the whole green living idea. In our business we believe in hiring local people to work as guides and crew on the tours. Of course, nobody knows the island better than people with roots here, but there is more to it than just that. Using boats built by caribbean people in the caribbean to be used as tour boats owned and operated by caribbean people hopefully will become the norm here at a time when more and more of the tours are owned and operated in a different manner. Since i started my little adventure company i have taken on several small partners and i think I will continue to do so with our new venture. Shamel, who worked as a skipper on my boats will be coming into my business as a small partner in the sailing venture. He is as excited as i am about the changes we are slowly making. There have been many ideas given to me about what to do to be more "eco" and leave less of an "ecological footprint", and i appreciate them all. Our company is not all about making money, but we have to think about keeping afloat for the long voyage ahead. This isn't a get rich quick scheme and these changes are essential to maintain our island/sea lifestyles and the business as a whole. Anyway, i will blog more and more about the new boat as the process goes along. Alexis Andrews who has the lovely coffee table book "IMAGES" is coming out with a new one on Carriacou sloops which outlines the great history, culture and tradition involved in their construction as well as the amazing beauty of these lovely boats. His boat seen here is 40 feet long and quite wide.
Apart from being very fast and beautiful, its type was designed to carry freight between the islands and therefore can carry passengers easily without much effect on performance. I just came back from Carriacou after meeting with the same boat builder who did Alexis' "Genesis".
A deposit has been paid and the boat builder and his three sons start the process this week when they begin by cutting several trees in Grenada. Its a beautiful process, but some changes to tradition have been made by me. One of the changes was that we will be replanting trees which hasn't been done before by any of the boat builders there. The other thing i changed was that I got the first contract signed between a Carriacou boat builder and a purchaser. There had been a few problems with other projects there which is common anywhere in the world, but i convinced him a contract would protect him as well as me. Anyway, our new boat will be ready if all goes well fairly quickly and the blog will keep you up to date on the process of it all. Its gonna be a fun ride and i hope you join us.