Thursday, September 27, 2007

Autumn fishing trips

Some people often ask how i can be a supporter of sport fishing on one hand and a proponent of environmental and fisheries protection on the other. It's a good question and many people ponder this one. If you look on my flickr photos, you will see pics of me cleaning up the shore and trying to stop uncontrolled fishing on the reefs and then a pic of my boat with a dead tuna on it.

Why am i killing fish one day and wanting fish protected another. I agree this seems a bit strange but if you understand the specifics of the fishery as well as follow carefully what i am saying then you will see that i am not against fishing. What i am, is against uncontrolled fishing here in Antigua and Barbuda. Each year we learn more and more about the species which are targeted in our waters and many decisions and practices of informed fishermen change as the information comes in. Of course there are many fishermen who don't care at all about threatened species and keep targeting them. I have done almost every type of fishing there is during some time in my life as crew and on my own. I have spear fished, netted, long line fished, fish trapped, cast from shore, bottom fished, trolled, fly fished, used lobster snares, collected conch, cockles. You name it and i have done it, but in addition to all of that i have been very interested in learning about and keeping track of how these methods of fishing affect the fishery and environment as a whole. Some of the methods above target species with very specific catches and without much by catch. Other types as in the case of net or fish traps, there are a huge range of fish including many useless species (by catch) are caught. Learning about the different methods used here and others not yet adopted here, as well as the learning about the species caught has given me my own point of view. There are many species which have been over fished in my lifetime without hope of returning in any great numbers, and there are other species in the fishery which are being caught at higher rates than they can reproduce. I personally love eating fish, and think that catching and eating fish is part of my Caribbean culture. This doesn't mean that i go out there and catch whatever i see first. Targeting species that are not threatened and that can handle the type of fishing methods we use is something that i think makes a difference. Sustainable fishing is something that the Ministry of Fisheries has no clue about and because of extreme Japanese influence here, this probably wont change anytime soon. When i go deep sea fishing with my crew, we target mahi mahi (the species most able to withstand commercial fishing), wahoo, and some types of tuna. Most other fish that we catch are released including all bill fish. We kept one large marlin in a tournament once in my life, but have released all others. Tournaments have stringent rules about what fish are allowed to be kept and each year they seem to become more eco friendly and progressive with their rules and regulations. Conservation issues are usually brought up by people within the sport fishing circle and many if not all "rules" are self imposed. This isn't something unique to Antigua either as the recreational hunting and fishing sectors all over the world have pioneered conservation fights. Not only are these conservation issues brought up and discussed by sport fishing associations, but in many cases, it is these associations that bring conservation issues before the authorities eventually getting things changed. This past weekend we went to a one day fishing tournament over in our friendly neighbor island Montserrat. We used the Arawak Odyssey boat (seen here on another fishing trip).

Like smugglers, we left Jolly Harbour at 3:00 am under the cover of darkness heading for Havers Shoal 38 miles away. We arrived just before lines were permitted to go over the side and there was glimmer of light showing in the East. Unfortunately, the winds were stronger than forecast and it was quite choppy. Our team consisted of yours truly, Tony, Ross (my cousin who is now working with Adventure Antigua), Big John, and Toby (who both fish with us regularly). This sea mount way out in the ocean usually produces some good catches and other boats started to appear before long. By the end of the day there were 5 boats who had five allowable fish each. This included our boat and we arrived in Little Bay, Montserrat to clear customs and immigration and then go to the weigh in. As it turned out, we didn't win overall, but enjoyed the hospitality. The poor island still has a massive volcano constantly erupting and keeping people all on one side of it. Anyway, nothing much happens there and the fishing tournament there was a big event. Goat Water which is their national dish was being given out to the crew and lots of alcohol was being consumed. It was quite a party, but we knew the rough seas out there would not permit us to relax properly until we got back to home port. As soon as we had our meals, we said our goodbyes and thank yous and set off together with "Nicole", my uncle's boat, towards Antigua. The seas were right on the nose and we let uncle Nick go ahead of us as the sun set over Redonda in the West. The waves were big and the spray was cold. We had 28 miles to go. I thought about doing the passage the opposite way back in 1984 on my windsurf board. Wow, feeling the spray against my face and the rough waves penetrating all the way up into my bad knee, i couldn't help feeling a million years older than i was back on that windsurf board at twelve.

Nevis fishing tournament is on October 13th.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

the mangrove eco system under threat too

An integral part of our Eco Tour is showing people the mangrove plants within the North Sound and how they sustain life there within that diverse and delicate ecosystem. There are several types of mangrove plant living in Antigua and Barbuda and as a life form they ares so unique and important that i think i will try to cover a tiny description here on this blog. I am not a marine biologist so this description is based on my life experience and info i have taken from the net.
To me, the most interesting of the mangrove plants is the red mangrove with its long thin roots that reach into the water as if they were long fingers. This website has a pretty simple but good description of what they look like and how they live.
What i tell people on my boat is that the red mangrove habitat serves several key purposes with its roll as a massive nursery being most important. A massive range of aquatic organisms are sustained within the marine side of the mangrove ecosystem from microscopic fish larvae at the bottom to large predator fish at the top of the food chain. Most of the inshore fishery around our island is sustained at entry level by the mangrove habitat. Many people wouldn't realize that fish that are not typically found in mangrove systems rely on other fish that wouldn't exist if it were not for mangroves. It is one massive symbiotic system with relationships spanning far and wide with the marine ecosystem as well as far outside the marine side of things. Areas which have lost all of their mangrove systems have had other systems and their wildlife seemingly unrelated fall apart. Another good site which shows the basic relationships and importance of the mangrove system can be found here.

Sometimes the water is so clear in a mangrove habitat that you can see the little fish hiding in and around the roots. These little fish are staying safe and feeding in the protection of the roots only to leave the area once they have matured and gotten big enough to look after themselves. Just this past Carnival weekend my girlfriend and i kayaked along a long section of mangrove as the sun set in Barbuda. We saw spotted eagle rays, snappers, barracuda, southern stingrays, pilchards, conch, sea cucumbers, anemones, oysters, grunts, surgeon fish and many others. This was without going below the surface. It was lovely and made me feel so lucky to just behold the workings and secrets of the mangrove system. Many of these fish were just waiting to change habitat and move to the reefs just outside the lagoon mouth. I am so glad that some parts of our government have decided to start playing an active roll in protecting the mangroves. Its taken some time and there is still so much more work to be done in other areas, but for now there seems to be a general push towards protection and better understanding.
If you are interested in seeing how it all comes together then i suggest going to a bit of the coastline that has mangrove or taking an eco tour. Its not all great news though and the fight to protect the mangrove eco system will continue. I hope that the fisheries department will be convinced by the DCA and Environment division that the use of gill nets in and around the mangrove system killing the wildlife that is supported there is almost as bad as cutting them down. These photos were taken today:

Another importance of the mangrove system is that of a massive filtration system. Sedimentary run off is a hazard which has caused and is causing corals to die all over the world. Corals need sunlight in order to stay alive when sedimentation covers them they die. Mangroves naturally filter sedimentation after rains preventing corals from being killed. When mangroves are removed from a drainage area like at Dark Wood beach, corals get damaged off shore. ITs that simple. Another reason to fight for mangrove protection is that the plants hold together fragile shorelines during storms and can even grow over "flats" or shallow seabeds eventually creating more land as if a buffer.

The flats alongside these mangroves below have slowly been getting mangroves covering it since the big hurricanes of the 90s.

The habitat in many cases can grow if allowed. It isn't aways easy though as Mr. Alan Stanford discovered at Maiden Island. His development company cleared much of the mangroves there when they first started their project as you will see if you read this article. Afterwards he hired people to replant the mangroves as you will see in this article. Since the report above was written, all of these plants died showing that it isn't always easy to replicate mother nature.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

ok back to fun stuff in september

Well i decided to let the last blog entry "soak" a few days longer than normal, and the good news is that The Daily Observer printed the article in today's paper. I hope that the next step is as fluid with someone in the top echelon of the government making bold steps to protect our beaches. There has been plenty of discussion about this topic within my circle of friends and you should hear the allegations and conspiracies. I'd rather not point fingers at political figures, but there are some strange irregularities in Antigua and Barbuda with respect to sand and the mining of it. Anyway, i will leave that to the the rest of the gang. For now its back to tourism and all the stuff that is closely related. Something that is always on the minds of people at this time of the year is the threat of a hurricane. Tropical Storm Karen revved up her engine this morning and is set to pass the entire island chain this weekend. Good news again with another storm set to miss Antigua. The weather lately has been awesome for powerboating and fishing with lovely calm seas. Its crazy how when its like this rain can be extremely heavy but localized. I took the photo above on Sunday 20 miles east of Antigua and looking at it you would never have guessed that there were areas on that little island (antigua) getting soaked with rain. Anyway, it turned out being a nice day all over the area once again. I went fishing three times last week and ate three different types of each night. Yum..

Today we had a very cloudy day here on Antigua though with some rain due to a passing tropical wave. This weekend looks like it will be perfect for boating again with very calm seas in the forecast as if the storm will be pulling it all north away from the island. On Saturday there will be a fishing tournament in Montserrat which i think the Adventure Antigua Team will be attending. Will keep ya posted. This nice vid was done by our core fishing team member John Watt a.k.a. "Big John" and shows some of the fishing action from last sunday.
Note the proper technique below shown by el "El gran Jefe Toro". hahahaha

Friday, September 21, 2007

why would the government actively destroy a beach?

I am going to write this one as a letter in the hopes that either the Sun or Observer papers will carry it. If they would like to carry it and any of the photos (in high res) then they can call me on 725 7263:

Dear editor, i wrote a long entry this week in my blog about how badly i think the UPP government is doing when it comes to maintaining our beaches which by the way are in terrible shape and getting worse. The five main government institutions that should have something to do with protecting our beaches are the ministry of environment, ministry of tourism, fisheries, public works, Development and Control Authority....... the problem is that each is filled with horrible red tape and just cant cooperate with each other working towards common goals which are best for the county. The health and therefore maintenance of our beaches is essential for our survival as a nation. Why the ALP and now the UPP cant see this is beyond understanding. Beaches all over the Caribbean have been made and or maintained using barbuda sand. Can you imagine that some islands which didn't have a nice beach now have a lovely one thanks to sand from our country yet we here have lost beach after beach with little or no consideration. To me, it is hard to understand how beaches are allowed to be destroyed. Some would have said that the ALP would have let anything in our country get destroyed without much care, but i am saddened to see that it is not a political thing. There is something wrong with all of our leaders past and present that they are ignoring beach maintenance and or destruction and in some cases as i will now describe that they are allowed to actively destroy a beach.

Each time there are big waves hitting our shores there are beaches that have problems.
The barrier reefs are now lower as i describes in my last blog entry and more wave action and higher sea levels are washing sand up from the beach onto land behind the beach or even into ponds behind beaches.
Since beaches are of critical importance to our nation one would assume that huge amounts of sand being removed from a shoreline would be a big deal. Instead, after all the storms the sand which is now no longer on beaches is removed by people. One of the main reasons OJ's beach bar is now OJ's rock bar is that the property owners up and down that beach have been removing sand after storms since Hugo. OJ can tell you how many truck loads of sand got taken away from the properties near him. A staggering amount of sand. If you read my previous blog entry then you would know why this sand isn't just replenishing itself. We haven't had any major beach event like this during the UPP administration until Hurricane Dean passed way to our south. Although we had little weather from Dean we did get massive waves pounding our south facing beaches for about 24 hours. Massive amounts of sand were pushed from the beach onto areas behind the beach in quite a few places. This happened to other beaches in the past but this time it was the south coast that was hit. Windward Beach was worst, with Rendezvous Bay being another, Johnsons Point beach (near OJs) another and Darkwood another where sand was pushed under the new bridge. The very next week sand started going missing in bucket loads from Windward Beach. I haven't been there since then so i am sure that it is worse. The property which is for sale on the road between OJ's and Blue Heron hotel had the sand that washed up onto it removed too. The worst however was and is Darkwood once again. Darkwood beach has had hundreds of truck loads of sand taken from it since Hurricane Hugo and all with the permission and in most cases with the management of the Public Works department. After once such storm the mining of sand was so severe from the swamp behind that to this day the swamp hasn't caught itself. The beach now has more rocks than ever and when you compare old photos or video the new Darkwood looks like a different beach. One would have thought that the UPP would have been wiser. After i noticed huge piles of sand washed under the bridge at Darkwood I immediately called the Ministry of Environment to uge them to push the sand back onto the beach. I was told that they have no jurisdiction over sand and couldn't do anything. They said that the only people who could touch the sand was Public Works. Public Works! Great! Sure enough, it was public works that once again started trucking this same sand away from Darkwood the next day. Click on the image for a larger version:
In fact they have been doing it for weeks since Dean. Look at this photo. You can Click on it to see the large version. Sand in any high tide or big swell will wash under the bridge (which by the way they try as hard as they can to keep unblocked by sand so that the sand can wash through easily) and once its off the beach then it can easily be trucked away. Why easily? Well easily because our nation and its leaders thinks that once sand is not on a beach then it can be moved away to be mixed with cement. Hard to fathom the mentality but i would like to take this opportunity to ask the Minister of Tourism Harold Lovell and the leader of the nation Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer a question. Why are you sitting by and allowing the destruction and mismanagement of the most important thing that we have in Antigua? I would think that as intelligent people, you can see that laws and policy need to be changed so that our beaches are better protected and managed. I can only think therefore that this whole issue has slipped you by. Please do something about it. My dad, John Fuller, told me that the Environment Division was incorrect by saying that they were helpless. According to him, the chief Environment Officer, in this case Diane Black Lane, has the authority to declare a situation where sand is washed off a beach during a storm, an "environmental disaster" and then have the authority to return the sand to the beach. No person or institution should be allowed to take sand of any amount from a beach in our country. If the UPP think that taking sand from Barbuda's mine is bad then they have to agree that taking sand from our beaches is worse and must be stopped.

Eli Fuller

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

UPP fails to stop beach destruction

Now i am going to try to write this blog without getting too heated and upset. Already the headline, of this blog will raise blood pressure and upset some, but after you read this blog, the other one i wrote last week, and the next one i write, you may understand why i feel the way i do. The UPP leaders have way more to do.

Long before i started my little Eco Tour i have felt that one of the most important areas to protect are our beaches. After all without any "parent" country subsidising our existence as many of the other islands across the Caribbean have, our one true resource which we have dominion over is our beaches. Roddy Grimes-Graeme, owner of acquafilms and my good friend, commented after reading one of my blog entries, that we in Antigua and Barbuda exist in a "tropical beach economy". Our GDP is almost all based on tourism and our type of tourism relies mostly on white sandy beaches. Antigua was made famous in the early years of tourism because of our wide and long sandy beaches. Most people still have that perception which is great. Of course there are many other islands nearby which have lovely beaches, some nicer than our own. Don't dare tell an Antiguan that there is a nicer beach in St. Martin, Virgin Gorda, St. Barts or Anguilla...... People here who haven't travelled around the Caribbean think that not only are our beaches super healthy, but that they are far far superior than any others anywhere in the Caribbean.
This notion is based simply on ignorance unfortunately and has lead to the endemic problem of complacency. Old Pappa Bird "the father of the nation" ingrained into people's minds that tourists had to come here because we had the best beaches and the only proper airport. Both now have turned out not to be true. He would never have believed that St. Lucia would be a tourism powerhouse when all they had when VC Bird was in power was farming. The fact of the matter is that our not only has our ALP and UPP governments not put money back into beaches, but they have allowed the same beaches to degenerate.
I guess i should point out several ways that beaches can be destroyed. All of these are happening in Antigua and Barbuda.

1. The easiest was to kill a beach is to take sand from it. This happens daily in Antigua in many ways from the common man taking a bucket of sand to use at home when mixing a little cement, to heavy mining with backhoes and trucks. River sand is readily available from several areas in the Caribbean basin, but we here still use beautiful white sand when mixing cement. Crazy but true. There was a time when anguilla used its sand in the same way. They now like islands from Puerto Rico to Barbados buy sand form time to time from Barbuda.

2. A less obvious beach killer which is incredibly common in Antigua is the construction of groins or stone jetties. Sometime in the 50s the US Naval Base built a stone jetty on the North side of Dutchmans Bay in Coolidge. Shortly afterwards my grandfather built one at the other end of the bay to give more protection for his little boat. Immediately the flow of water in the bay changed and sand from the middle started migrating to the bases of the jetties making the water more shallow. We have a video of my father, probably about 12 years old diving off a rock into deep water before the jetty was built. That rock is now high and dry and there is no deep water at all near the jetty. The middle of the bay lost so much sand that trees began to fall in even before we had the first big hurricane since the jetties were built. The hurricanes of the 90s did plenty of damage to the middle of the beach and also managed to erode the little stone jetties. Since then the sand stopped migrating as much and there seemed to be a stop of erosion from the middle until a few weeks ago when Jeff Hadeed a new property owner there decided to make it bigger by digging up the seabed nearby and using the dredge material to strengthen it. You can see the silting nearby too.
Stone jetties are constantly being pushed out into the water without the Government here stopping them. Just this past week, there was a huge one pushed out at the Blue Waters and Crosbies junction. This had no government permission. The silt that comes off those jetties is another problem which is related to the next beach killer.
3. Healthy reef systems are an essential part of a healthy beach. Without a good reef and its fish beaches do not get replenished. Antigua and Barbuda have one of the largest continental shelves in the Caribbean and herbivore fish like parrot fish (locally known as chub fish) graze all over the shallow shelves chewing bits of coral to remove algae. Algae are parrot fishes main diet and it is this same algae which if allowed to grow freely, will kill coral by taking it over. For a huge number of reasons Antigua and Barbuda has faced and is facing a mass death of its coral reefs. There are many man made factors which have lead to our reefs being wiped out and there is no reef protection at all as far as i am concerned. None at all. OK let me settle down before i get too upset..............deep breaths..........ok where were we? oh ya the relationship between reefs and beaches. OK so with a healthy reef there are a great many fish all living in a symbiotic relationship with the reef. They feed on the algae cleaning the reef keeping it alive. There are many other relationships in the reef which mankind has disturbed, but the most important relationship for this blog is the one between the parrot fishes and the reef. A healthy large adult parrot fish can make about 900 kilos (nearly 2000 lbs) of sand a year. This sand is excreted after the chewed up coral and algae mix has been consumed by the fish. Parrot fish are one of the most popular fish eaten by local antiguans since the red snapper have almost been decimated. Another commonly eaten fish doing the same job as parrots are surgeon fish seen here. Anyone who keeps fish traps or nets will catch these and "chub" fish. Here is a cool video about parrot fish.

 Populations of parrot fish have declined so much in my lifetime that i think some species have actually been made functionally extinct here. Other species are actively targeted by spear fishermen but are also killed in large numbers in fish traps and nets. Without hard core protection of parrot fish and other herbivore fish, our reefs can not be healthy and therefore our beaches can not be healthy. I could rant about the reefs and did just last week. Click on the spear fishermen below to get more stories on how they are wiping out parrot fish. These guys had about 150 parrot reef fish between the three of them (third guy is out the picture).
IT is horrible what has happened to them over the past 20 years because of our leader's negligence. Anyway, let me move on to another problem the beaches face.
4. Dredging is a Major problem in Antigua for a number of reasons which the governments have a hard time seeing. The most simple problem is that if you dig a big hole on the seabed..... it will get filled eventually by silt and or sand from somewhere else. Seems logical doesn't it? Apart from that the silting that dredging does kills corals. This has been studied to death and is not a big secret. Another problem with dredging is that certain algae which live on the shallow seabed have limestone skeletons which appear as sand when the plant dies. There are some beaches in the North Sound which rely heavily on this type of sand. There are also urchins which have similar skeletons making up some small percentage of sand too. The relationships are there and are all related to the health of beaches.

5. Beaches get eroded when the sea level at the beach rises and or when there is more wave action. The sea level is rising due to the polar ice melting. This can not be argued with either, so when our coral barrier reefs get damaged in storms and subsequent mismanagement we will have way more wave action on the beaches...
The healthy reef grows up protecting the beaches by blocking too much wave action and by adding more sand to the area in the process i explained earlier. The photo below shows a protected area with the barrier reef outside. The beach nearby has seen erosion recently as the level of the barrier reef dropped after being hit by hurricanes. Japan is actually growing coral in order to protect a small group of islands it owns. We don't even protect the coral here.
All in all, there are many obvious ways that a proactive government approach will help protect beaches. Recently the ministry of environment along with the planning commission have has taken steps to stop a few projects which have done naughty things, but there needs to be more cooperation between all the areas in government when beaches come into play. Take this crazy situation that happened this month: Actually, this blog is too long so i will speak about the insane situation tomorrow. for now here is the photo.

Monday, September 17, 2007

more clean up stories from the weekend.....

goto for more of the mechanics of this effort too.
Anyway, as i mentioned in yesterday's "web log", a group of friends got together (however late Ms Kelly Gonsalves!!!!) and took off from Jolly Harbour towards Green Island. Twenty one of us took black bags for general garbage and white ones for recyclables and started scouring the shoreline and the vegetation alongside for any sort of garbage. It was hot and sunny with little winds. Barracuda and Permit fish watched and fed along the shore as we picked up plastic and glass bottles, nets, ropes, containers, cans, pipes, bulbs, floats and the list goes on. The crystal clear water and a cold beer were calling us when we had finished cleaning the two most northern beaches on the private island. Someone asked why the owners hadn't cleaned their own island and suggested that we take the trash to them. A great question! IMHO (in my humble opinion), The Mill Reef Club have owned Green Island for longer than i have been alive and have never built anything permanent there. They allow us all the free use of the island and have never stopped anyone from camping there or from using it commercially which is what i do on my Xtreme Tour. I think like several other private owners, they are doing a great service to our nation by keeping it free from development almost as if a reserve. The least we as a people can do is keep it clean after we use it and hope that it may remain as it is. Anyway, the beer and swim after cleanup made it even more enjoyable.
Afterwards we took off and went on to Rendezvous bay to spend an hour there. Twenty one people with bags can make quite a dent in coastal garbage in an hour and we did just that. We found more recently hatched out turtle nests too. One had just hatched out and we dug up the remains of the nest to find one little fella who didn't make it.
Anyway, there were 40 bags of garbage on the deck of the eco boat on the way home with some big nets and large debris as well. All involved thought it was more fun than "work" and I think we will do it again before the year is over. The rest of Green ISland's beaches could use some help.
At the start of last week we couldn't find anyone in The Solid Waste department who knew anything about the International Coastal Cleanup, but by the end of the week they were taking out ads in the local paper. They had workmen at several beaches and released a statement today to the press saying the event was a huge success. he he

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Round 2 of coastal cleanup today

Possibly over 20 of my friends are joining me on the eco boat today as we try to collect more garbage than we did yesterday from our coastline. Yesterday was awesome as there were many small groups all over the island collecting. I had an email from the husband and wife team who run Night Wing fishing Charters who said that it was loads of fun spending a day at the beach with their little one collecting bits and pieces. It is that kinda family fun that will be the best tool in the fight to make our country a better place. When little kids are involved with their mom and dad in a project like this, i am sure that we can only see a positive outcome. Well done guys. Big John and Toby who have been part of the Adventure Antigua fishing team on many tournaments organized a little group to cleanup the desserted beach near Blue Waters. There were groups at Pigeon and Windward Beaches. Jabbawock got a good cleaning. My mom, sparky and lila, collected four big trash bags of recyclables and a coconut or two from Dutchmans Bay.....

Our group of eight did Bird ISland as i mentioned in the blog yesterday and i am sure that all of us all over the island felt proud to be part of doing something however slight to help our coastline and the life that it is related to. Anyway, i wish i could go on and mention all the people who were out there helping including the Solid Waste Department who finally got organized, but i gotta goto the boat. I am late. See ya.....oh yes did i mention the weather is awesome!!!

Soooo calm and lovely as the storm that was tropical storm ingrid fizzles away from us.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

international coastal cleanup day!!!!

International Coastal Cleanup Day in Antigua is underway at the moment. Several of the crew and i offered the Eco Boat to anyone who wanted to come and help cleanup Great Bird ISland which is the most visited of all off shore islands around Antigua and Barbuda. There were many other volunteers around Antigua but this blog will just focus on our little gang. Almost 0ur fuel was donated by Jolly Dive which was awesome. Thanks Captain Crunch!!!! There were eight of us volunteering: Peter (a professor from the American medical School), Tony, Val, Chris and I (from Adventure Antigua), Sonika (from the Ministry of Environment), Shan Locan (from the Royal Antiguan) and one last guy who's name i forgot (from the Antigua Public Utilities Authority).
We all had fun and felt as though we were making a difference. As you can see we collected a bunch of trash including two full bags of recyclables.

Will speak more after tomorrow's cleanup as there is so much to say and show. This photo above wasn't set up. I kid you not! hahahah The minister is a great guy and i like him. He has a tough job and it isn't always easy being minister of tourism and minister of environment.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Free Adventure Antigua boat trip

Well almost free:) Ok if you read our blog yesterday about the International Coastal Cleanup then you will remember that on Saturday Tony and Val (the new guy) will be using the Eco Tour boat to go up to Bird Island to give it a good cleaning. Last night i thought that some people might like to join them. So its a free boat tour from Jolly Harbour to Bird Island and back with a small catch.
The catch is that you have to spend at least 30 minutes helping Tony and Val clean up Bird Island. After that you can chill, swim, snorkel or keep helping. They will leave the Jolly Harbour area from a dock space that is free somewhere next to the Grand Princes Casino at 9:00 am (not local time) and get back there for 1:30 pm. If you ask Tony nicely, he may do 30 minutes of snorkeling before leaving Bird Island. Anyway there you have it....a free boat ride with an ever so tiny small catch all in the hopes of making Antigua and a very important place cleaner. If you are interested you must call my sister Nell on 725 7263 ASAP. We will only take 20 people with us. Bring along your drinks and snacks. Remember you can read more on

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Adventure Antigua's eco boat will be part of Cleanup.

Adventure Antigua's Arawak Odyssey (the eco boat) will be taking part in this years International Coastal Cleanup which is now looking like a two day event here on our twin island nation.

On saturday, Tony and some of the crew will be cleaning up Great Bird Isand. Unfortunately this isalnd gets attacked with garbage every time there is a public holiday and also on most Sunday's.

Many people think that it's the tour boats and tourists that leave garbage there, but people Like Glen from Creole Cruises agree with me that most of the trash there comes from our own island people. Digicel, a local mobile phone provider, had some sort of party there at Easter and up to this moment there is still debris on the island. On saturday we plan to make a huge effort to clean the important off shore island.
A very close family friend and great man, Billy Martin, recently passed away, and his funeral will be held on Saturday too. Many of my family can not use the whole day for cleaning up the coast, and since many others work on saturday, we have decided to use Sunday as a second "cleanup fun day". There is even talk of us going to Barbuda to hit one of the beaches there.
Anyway, Adventure Antigua is committed and hopes that other businesses will join in on the "fun cleanup weekend" with us. I just got off the phone with Indigo Divers who want to be part of it too. Its just not above the water that garbage gets lodged. Click the photo to find out more on that side of it.

The Daily Observer Group will have photos and a story to follow. Martin Dudly who is the main promoter of our countrie's side of the International Coastal Cleanup plans to make coastal cleanup happen every three months. I agree too. Our island depends 100% on the health of our coastline. His cleanup blog is Comment if you like.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Antigua surfers...your wait may be over.

With Tropical Depression number eight now named and looking "good" east of the islands we all need to pay close attention over the next few days to what all the sophisticated computer models suggest will be its track. IT is peak time during the storm season and although antigua has not been hit by any storm in ages, we have to be prepared and safe. Luckily this storm is not due to be anywhere near us until after the weekend which means that we can all still do our part in the Coastal Cleanup this Saturday. Keep checking this link over the next few days. and remember that you can also get great info on If the storm goes

north as it is forecast to at this point, the surfers may finally get some nice waves to surf. I hope that's all we get.

I posted this a few minutes ago...then my bro, Ali Fuller, (who is the real weather nerd) sent me to this link: which shows the movement of TD #8 over the past few hours. If you click the "tropical forecast points" you will then be able to see how the storm is moving in accordance with its forecast. At this point it is moving to the south of its point making a more westerly track. Not too good for us, but its still a long way off. Lets use these tools to keep up with the storm as it comes closer. Thanks ali!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

international cleanup just a few days away.

My cousin Annabel Fuller wrote a good introductory article about International Coastal Cleanup Day in the afternoon release of the Daily Observer (Daily Observer PM) and since then the Observer Group has been trying to gather more info and help promote this important event across our twin island nation. This morning Mitzi Allen, who was hosting the morning show on Observer Radio 911 FM, called me to chat about it and try to get the message out.
She obviously understood the significance of a cleanup and its importance to our type of "Tropical Beach Tourism" as roddy so perfectly described it in a comment on the reef saving blog i wrote several days ago.
I just got off the phone again, but this time with Linroy Sammuel, also from the Observer group. He is doing a news story about the cleanup event and asked how many people would be attending. I told him that i wasn't sure, but with the help of the Observer, there would be many more people conscious of the event. I also gave him Nemo's site which gives more info and angles to the whole concept of maintaining the main engine of our economy....the beach. It looks like many antiguans and visitors are interested and committed to helping out this weekend and more. We should encourage every effort made i think. This photo shows John Watt and Sarah Fuller walking back on the beach after collecting some marine debris.
This time however the things that they collected didn't end up in our land fill, but were used by Sarah in her artistic creations which you can find in her pottery shop in redcliffe quay as well as in the Woods Art Gallery. There is a photo of some of her art in this link. All in all, i think beach cleanups need to be more of a regular thing on an island that prides itself on our unique coastline. Join in wherever you are but for sure if you are in antigua.