Friday, November 30, 2007

Accommodation in Barbuda

If you are planning to visit the country of Antigua and Barbuda, chances are that you will be tempted to visit or even stay in Barbuda at some stage of your trip. Currently it isn't easy to find accommodation in Barbuda as there simply isn't that much of it. This summer two of the three big hotels closed down due to various issues leaving Coco Point as the only large accommodation source on the 62 square mile sandy island. The good news is that The Beach House says that they are reopening and there are still other smaller places to stay. In Barbuda's one and only village, Codrington, there are several inexpensive guest houses that offer very nice and simple accommodation, but at the moment there is only one other place apart from Coco Point Lodge where you can stay on the beach.
North Beach Cottages ( is the place. As the link above will tell you, there are few places on the planet as beautiful or as serene and my family and i have been enjoying its enchanting allure since since i was a little kid.
In the "old days" we would just camp there, but back in 1996 after the last big hurricane a small cluster of cottages was built by a local Barbudan. We have selfishly tried to keep it secret for years, but with the arrival of the Internet as well as changing times the secret has gotten out and is being spread.
We are good friends with the owner and when he lost his one and only contract with Coco Point we had to help him attract more people to his lovely place.
There are several ways to get to Barbuda. The most simple way is to
fly commercial from Antigua’s VC Bird airport using Carib Aviation. Book and pay for your flight online at Their flights usually leave Antigua at 8 am and 6 pm and from Barbuda at 8:30 am and 6:30 pm. Flights take 15 minutes. Of course there are more fancy ways to get there with Xtreme's private charter service being a cool option by sea and Caribbean Helicopters being another by air. There is always the option of coming under your own steam as Jimmy Buffet did with his sea plane when he stayed at North Beach Cottages.

If you are coming with Carib then the only way to get to North Beach is by the owner's boat, making it the most secluded and private resting place in our twin island nation.
Reuben, the owner of the property is dedicated to making this endeavor work and work well. There is no doubt that if you understand and appreciate all that NB has to offer that you will return to stay there on your next holiday to the islands.
There are currently three cottages making it the least populated accommodation area in our country and probably in the Caribbean. The property is an unfenced 23 acres with no neighbors or other structures at all within 10 miles. It’s isolated!
You won’t be walking down to the next beach bar for an afternoon sundowner as there isn’t such a thing unless you walk about 17 miles up the beach. All food and drinks are included during your stay and you must order your meals the day before.
Choices for dinner which are served inside the pavillion are seafood pasta, baked chicken, fish, lobster, steak, or ribs all with choices of the usual suspects like rice, potatoes, macaroni, veg, corn, beans etc…… the meals are large and hearty and all prepared by the owner or his helper, both local Barbudans. Mark the photo guy stayed there earlier in the year after making a deal with the owner to bring most of his own food. Mark isn't just a photo guy... he is the food guy too. See his pics here:
Choices for lunch are be similar to dinner as well as things like seafood soup, locally known as “fishwater”, curried conch, salads and or sandwiches. Eating well is a guarantee there, but don’t expect the frilly euro stuff that you will get at most of Antigua’s hotels. This is eating local and very well. I am hungry just writing this. Here is one happy customer (uncle Jim) after a bit too much dinner as you can see quite easily in the bright moonlight.
Reuben says that for b’fast you can pick more traditional dishes like pancakes, eggs, toast and jam, and some fruit but he’ll also have some of the local specialties on offer like conch fritters too. Here my uncle Jim and Alan at breakfast discus where we will fish later in the day.

Of course if you have special food needs then alternatives can be arranged. Drinks during the day will be fruit punch, passion fruit, tamarind, orange, and pineapple with bottled water too. During lunch and dinner he will also have some sodas. From 5 pm special rum punch will be “on tap” for you to help yourself to. There will also be bottles of scotch, rum, vodka and gin. There will be no other liquors or beer available there, but please bring what you want with you. There is a supermarket near the airport where you will be able to collect some beer and other items from before you take the boat ride to north beach.
There are quite a few books there for you to read and reading is something that you will finally have time for there. There are no TVs there and hopefully never will be. You can get cell phone reception there and wireless internet may be an option by the new year. Reuben will organize snorkeling and fishing trips for you as well as a tour of the bird sanctuary. All of these things are very inexpensive in Barbuda and are done by people whose main income is fishing. The people are lovely and very proud of the wild and natural life that is Barbuda. When I am there I always take my fishing rod and casting from the beach is great fun. Good fly fishing and other light tackle fun is a sure bet. This was my fly rod before American Airlines lost it (boooooo). See the pink sand? Lovely!!!
Kayaks and sunfish are available for your use at NB and there is so much to see from them close by. It is jewel.

The cottages are simple but nice wooden structures with private bathrooms and showers. Hot and cold running water is available with their reverse osmosis system. Windows are screened on the cottages and pavilion for your comfort. You will need to keep the doors closed in the afternoons, night and mornings to keep bugs out. There are bugs there! Be advised that this area is very natural and mosquitoes and other insects will be there. Some people who can’t handle any bugs at all should look elsewhere, but if you can deal with keeping the doors closed and using some repellent from time to time then you will be fine.
Beachcombing, swimming, fishing, snorkeling, kayaking, bird watching, shelling, reading, sailing, are some of the activities you will enjoy. If you are with a group then a good game of dominos will keep you busy during the cool evenings. Here is my bro, Ali and cousin Bel with friends during our last stay there.
Don’t expect to see jet skis, water skiers, excursion boats or much else. This place is out on its own and in my opinion just perfect for a select bunch of people kinda like me. It’s where I go on holiday often. IF you need more specific info and I suggest you get more if you are slightly unsure then you can call me direct on my mobile on +1 725 7263. Otherwise get your credit card out and reserve ASAP. Remember there are only three cottages. That’s 6 people. Of course, you can reserve all three if you want to be even more private, but that’s up to you. The all inclusive cost which includes transport from Barbuda’s airport, all food and drinks, the use of snorkeling gear, kayaks, sunfish, and more relaxation than you can get anywhere else on earth is US $400 per cottage (two people). There is a minimum of two nights at this rate and before you come to stay all of your stay will be billed to your credit card. If this sounds like something you would like to part of, then please email my sister Nell who will be handling all North Beach Cottages, Barbuda bookings. Her email address is: info @ antiguaadventures .com
All of the photos on today's entry were taken by me while on holiday in Barbuda. I hope you enjoy them and Barbuda as much as i have done. Lets hope that while people discover Barbuda they understand what makes it special. Small low impact locally run hotels should be the only way the island is developed.
Edited 1/2/08..... Also look here for more info and photos.

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.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Global, Ecological. Moral and Carbon footprints.

Seen above is the footprints of a migratory shore bird on the windward shore. How simple huh? This post today isn't simple at all, and as i sit here about to publish it i wonder if it makes any sense at all or if its just rambling madness. Anyway here goes:
Over the past few years there has been much talk about the "Carbon Footprint", and recently they have become the most widely and commonly used two word phrase on the planet which i guess is a good thing. Over the next few days i hope to explain what a person's or organization's carbon foot print actually is as well as to explain the more important but less uttered "Ecological Footprint". I will also try to show how people and organizations have been trying to control their footprints and more common on the larger scale, "offset" their footprint. It's all very interesting and worth so much more thought and action.

The media has taken on the Carbon Footprint as the main catch phrase closely followed by "Carbon Offsets", and there are probably many people out there thinking of saving the planet only in terms of reducing carbon emissions. What exactly is a carbon footprint? If you look on the web you will find several definitions varying in complexity. The best and most simple definition of a carbon footprint that i have seen is the amount of green house gasses (most significantly carbon dioxide) that a person or organization produces. Of course it gets way more technical than that, but that's a good working definition. To give you a definition of "carbon footprint" that is a little more complex i point you to a fantastic site where they explain it as: "The carbon Footprint therefore measures the demand on bio capacity that results from burning fossil fuels in terms of the amount of forest area required to sequester these carbon dioxide emissions." Hmm.....

Ok so lets just say that we will keep it simple and just say that its all about how much green house gas you or your organization emit. This definition and media obsession with it, is slightly misleading when thinking about the bigger picture which ultimately is described in terms of a person's or organization's "Ecological Footprint". I am going to speak about Ecological Footprint in a moment, but first i should speak a little more about Carbon Footprint. Why do i and many others think that only caring about Carbon Footprint can be a terrible thing for the planet. Lets take the example of Jane Doe. Jane is so happy because she has just purchased a hybrid car that has the lowest emissions of any other on the market. She tells all her friends that they should do like she does and drive a hybrid. What Jane doesn't know is that there are many other ways that she could control the amount of green house gasses being emitted into the environment. There are also way more footprints to think about too. Jane lives on the North Eastern Seaboard in a old house with poor insulation, her heating bill is extremely high during the winter but the house is a historical gem. Its a nice big town only 45 minutes from the city where she works. In the summer she cranks that AC and its lovely. She is very style conscious and actually read about the hybrid she purchased while reading Cosmo. She loves those Italian shoes. Who doesn't right? She gets two new pairs of leather shoes each year. Clothes, and accessories are her weakness she says. She loves Gap fashions too, especially their jeans. I guess because of her fashion savvy she knew about sushi before all her friends and knows all the best places. Each week she eats out and sushi is her fave but she also likes a good steak now and then. Takeout is so easy in where she lives and those handy little boxes the Chinese comes in are so cute. You gotta put the leftovers in zip locks though because the boxes will leak in the fridge if you are not careful. Once in a while she will go for a good big mac too with extra tomatoes. She's not overweight though, because she goes to that nice gym every morning where she changes into her Nike shoes and outfit and works up a sweat, and again in the evening for a swim in their pool. She only drinks bottled water in the day too. She has just booked her flight to Brazil where she has an apartment. She can't wait to be in the real warmth of Copacabana. Rio's hot nights are not to bad though as her place has good AC. Skiing in Vale this year will have to wait....oh yes she has to order those knew skis and boots. Can't go snow mobiling this year though....they release too much carbon. Speaking of Carbon emissions, Jane knows she read something in last month's Cosmo about buying carbon offsets for those long airline trips to Rio. Where is that magazine?.......

Now in parts i have simplified Jane, but being very general and using an extreme case without having to pick apart her life to the ultimate smallest detail, Jane isn't not really saving the planet just because she purchased a hybrid. In fact each aspect that i have spoken about has pretty serious negative effects on the planets. According to, "Ecological Footprint" is a resource management tool that measures how much land and water area a human population requires to produce the resources it consumes and to absorb its wastes under prevailing technology. This means that each of us needs to examine our entire lifestyle to really get an idea of our footprint. Carbon Footprint is just one aspect of the overall picture. Everything in the story above from Gap Jeans, to heated swimming pools, to Tomatoes on a burger has huge environmental impacts. Picking you life apart is important i guess if we are to truly make a difference and making changes is also important. Apart from making changes to lower your "Ecological Footprint", Carbon Offsets and "emissions trading" are alternative ways to make a difference. Some organizations and people simply can not totally become carbon neutral and must do other things to offset their carbon footprints. Another thing to think about apart from carbon emissions and the overall "Ecological Footprint" is the moral footprint. Gap recently mad a big mistake when one of their factories was found out to be using child labour. So apart from the huge Ecological footprint that growing cotton has leaves, and the huge footprint stone washing cotton jeans has, there was also this moral footprint of exploitation. The footprint we all leave is something that we all need to think about and i say WE because i know that i am in need of a good bit of self examination. My company has made many changes in 2006 to try to be more eco friendly, but we have way way more to change. I want to pledge that we are committed to this issue and over the next few years we want to leave a much smaller Ecological Impact. Even with the info that i have read i find the whole topic very complicated and complex. Carbon Offsets and Emission trading are things that i want to look at but i think that there is more that we can do as individuals and as a company. One of the things we want to do is to take more Antiguan and Barbudan children out on the boats to show them the natural environment. Its such a terrible shame that many people grow up here and become adults without ever seeing mangrove or coral reef habitats. We aim to change that in 2008. Anyway, our company's "ecological footprint" is under scrutiny by me and if you have any ideas or suggestions i would love to hear them. As i said a good site is , another is this one . This fantastic article in the New York Times is a good one to end the day with too. Read up because this issue is extremely important for our future.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

antigua, barbados, union, carriacou, return

Hi there, just got back from a quick trip to Barbados where i had a yearly checkup with the skin cancer doc there. Skin damage is a reality if you have grown up living your live in the sun as i have done and still do. I have had many "pre-cancers" cut and burnt off in the past and now i am required to have yearly check ups. Anyway, nothing major to report except for the usual Basal cell carcinomas ( but this time i have been given a 3 week Efudix treatment which sounds very nasty indeed, but it also sounds very effective. I guess i will have to start that next week. Yuk! Anyway, Dr. Blondell Durrant says i am not in any great danger at the moment, and advised me as usual to cover up as much as possible. While in Barbados i jumped on board a tiny plane to go to Union Island which is part of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. From there i jumped on a tiny boat and sped over to Carriacou where i met up with a boat builder to speak about the possibility of getting another boat for Adventure Antigua. It was all very exciting and i will speak more about it soon. If you remember back on this blog's birthday last month, i said we would be embarking on a new project. That is now in the works. Wish us well. The photo above was taken on Sunday afternoon while we had tea off the back of the eco boat in 5 islands harbour. The Caribbean is hard to beat sometimes even with the skin cancer threat....

Monday, November 19, 2007

Fishing report

Like I said in Friday’s blog, JD and Tony were entering the Xtreme with some friends and family and were leaving a bit later that we were. Being a much faster boat they didn’t need as much time as we did to get the chosen fishing grounds. Anyway, back on the Arawak Odyssey we didn’t even get to see the sunrise before we started getting strikes. We had our first fish and our biggest fish for the day, on board by 6 am. Usually when we get a fish on the line before sunrise it turns out to be a King Mackerel, but this time it was a pretty big wahoo. It ended up being our largest too at 50.7 pounds. I think it was Guilli who brought the fish in to the boat as the other crew quickly cleared the lines and planers. We don’t use wire lines which are typically used when fishing for wahoo and instead use planers to sink our mono filament line down about 20 feet. Anyway, Guilli is a big strong guy and man handled that wahoo to the boat. I could tell from the way that the crew worked that if given the chance we would be unbeatable. Everyone worked well and knew what they were doing, so mistakes were not going to happen. Sunrise was slow and colourful as we waited for more action. IT came quickly, but not in the form of another fish. As John leaned over the port side letting out one of the top lines a big dorsal fin broke through a wave almost in the glare of the rising sun. What had I just seen? As I tried to figure that out we saw the dolphins burst out of the crest of our wake. There were several of them playing in the waves and saying good morning to me and my crew. They were spotted I think but I couldn’t get a good look in the glare. They didn’t stay long and the wait for another strike was on again. Sometimes when you get an early fish the wait for the next one can be even worse, but we didn’t have long to wait. In fact within one hour we had a total of three wahoo on board all showing good size. By 8 am we had a fourth. The area where we were fishing has a very steep drop off where depths go from about 100 feet to 900 in a very short distance like an underwater cliff. Wahoo love to feed in areas like these and with the amount of flying fish scattering as we cruised by their schools there was no doubt why. Many frigate birds could be seen nearby as well every now and then dropping out of the sky and catching the flying fish in mid air as they were chased up by predator fish. This of course is a signal to other frigate birds as well as us that there is action to be had. Most of the surface feeding going on was being done by small tuna, but there were bound to be fish feeding on them too. Later in the afternoon when we were back at the dock cleaning fish, Big John showed us a “little tunnie” that he had taken from the belly of a big wahoo.
We were too far to hear most of the other boats over the VHF, and by lunchtime when we had 6 wahoo on board sitting in the fish box with three black fin tuna we knew that we had done well but wondered how well. Our special spot had gotten quiet and we decided to move closer to home and as we did so we could finally make out some of the VHF talk from some of the other boats. IT sounded as though Derek Biel’s Obsession was doing as good as we were and Vernon Hall’s Sky Lark had been busy too. We knew that only when all the fish had been to the scales that a winner would be known. In our last tournament a month ago, we had lost an engine after we reeled in and powered up to come on in. That tournament had been a tough one. I have had a quote from Antigua Marine Services for just over US $10,000 to fix that engine. I wanted plenty of time to get back into Jolly Harbour before the 3:30 “back in port” time, so at 1:45 just after we landed our 7th wahoo we pulled in all of our gear, turned off the engines long enough to check the engine levels, and then powered happily home. Whether we had won or not, we all agreed that it had been a great day of fishing with plenty of action. Our fish were all pretty big and we would be able to pay for our expenses as well as have fresh fish this week. What we needed to find out was whether we were going to be “Best in the West”. Last year it was my dad who won the Best in the West tournament, but I knew he hadn’t done well today after a short phone call on the way in. He had gotten three wahoo. JD texted me to say that he and Tony on Adventure Antigua’s other boat, Xtreme, had also gotten 3 wahoo and a king mackerel. We had at least beaten them.
Back at my uncle’s dock where the weigh in and party were held, there were 28 boats all lined up to weigh fish. There were boats from St. Kitts and Nevis as well as from Montserrat and overall it had been a fantastic success. Sport fishing was alive and well in Antigua. As we downed rum and cokes and relaxed a bit we saw so many wahoos come to the scales. Vernon had caught 9 of them and one of his was the biggest fish so far at 50.6 pounds. It was our turn next and there was a collective moan when our biggest beat his by just .1 of a pound.
The last boat to weigh in beat our with a 57 pound wahoo. As it got dark, Dr. Charles took the microphone to announce the awards. There were prizes for biggest fish by a woman, and second biggest fish by a woman. There were prizes for biggest fish by a youth and second biggest fish by a youth. There was a prize for biggest fish by a man, but no prize for second biggest fish by a man (much to the dismay of our crew). But the big prize was “Best in the West” which was figured by most poundage and went to Vernon Hall on Skylark. I remember my dad fishing with Vernon when I was a little kid, but for years and years Vernon hasn’t had a boat. His boat is just a year old now and the old captain got his grove back and was crowned best in the west. All of us were happy for him. We don’t know what position we came in overall, but judging from our total poundage and comparing it to Vernon’s I figure we would have been 2nd or 3rd. We did well and had fun. This is wahoo time and the 2400 lbs of fish that were caught will surely mean that when people eat fish over the next few weeks in Antigua and Barbuda it will be local instead of the imported fish from Indonesia or Thailand which seems to be so common these days. Wahoo is delicious so when you are here make sure you try some.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Wahoo Season Climaxes

Wahoo, otherwise known by the Hawaiian name "ono" are some of the fastest fish in the ocean. Much has been written about their incredible speeds with many people reporting speeds as much as 60 mph. Imagine something beneath the water getting up to 60 mph. WOW! I totally believe it too because after fishing for them since i was about 12 years old i know very well how "crazy" that can get after getting hooked. Anyone who has gone fishing and met up with them gets hooked too because they are just so awesome. Apart from their incredible speeds and fighting ability, they are a truly beautiful fish too. Streamlined like no other fish, the sleek and slender beauty of the wahoo is complimented by the dark black colour on its top which slowly fades into a thin navy section before suddenly turning silver in the mid and lower sections of the fish. When they are in a excited situation there are dark tiger stripes along their bodies too which just add to their fighting look. These guys are as high up on the evolutionary scale that a fish can get i think. The mouths and teeth are something else to behold. I always laugh when people talk about "razor sharp barracuda teeth" thinking they should check out the wahoo to see what cuda teeth become when they evolve. The row of perfectly shaped teeth seem to never end inside a wahoo's mouth and believe me, these things are actually razor sharp. Great care must be taken with wahoo and i know of several people who have been horribly damaged by active wahoo which have just been brought aboard. You even have to be careful when putting them into a fish box dead or alive as one wrong move and another of your fish will be eviscerated or worse. There is something else about their mouths too which makes it unique and special. They are one of the the only fish or animals that i know of that has a hinged upper jaw. When attacking something large their upper jaw hinges up even more so that they can really get their teeth around their prey. Wow, the ultimate ocean killing machine in my book is this one. But you know there is still more to this wonderful fish. They are simply delicious too which makes the fishing even more enjoyable. There are so many ways to cook them too and if not overcooked the taste is just hard to beat. With so many other fish across the world's oceans being wiped out of course we all should be concerned about how well the fish we eat can put up with commercial fishing. As i said in an earlier blog, Dolphin Fish (mahi mahi) can handle commercial fishing the best, but not enough is known about wahoo to come up with the same deduction. According to this site, wahoo don't face the same kind of commercial fishing pressure that tuna and other species face because they don't school in large numbers therefore making them more difficult to catch in large numbers. That site also says that not enough is known about the life cycle of wahoo either. Another site says that they are very similar to Dolphin Fish with respect to their ability to handle commercial fishing. This site, says that they grow rapidly and reproduce quickly which is very important in this day and age of mass consumption. Unlike Tuna and Sword Fish "Overall, wahoo is an excellent choice for ocean-friendly seafood." Lets hope the website is correct. The Antigua Sport Fishing Association has two tournaments a year and tomorrow is the second one. This is the first time that both of Adventure Antigua's boats will be in a tournament at the same time with some of the everyday Adventure Antigua crew on each boat. JD will captain Xtreme with Tony as his first mate and some other friends and family making up the crew. I will skipper the Eco boat "Arawak Odyssey" with Ross, Big John and a couple others, so it all should be some good fun. The tournament was started by my uncle Nick a few years ago and now is one of the biggest boating events of the year. This is the time of year for wahoo and last year while i was in Brazil, Tony and JD got the largest one of the tournament out on Xtreme. We hope to get some good photos of tomorrow's event and share them on the blog. Whatever happens you know the rivalry will be in full swing over the VHF radio tomorrow. Tony and JD don't stand a chance! hahaha Enjoy your weekend.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Back home in Antigua!

Well hello! For the past three weeks my girlfriend and I have been off island on a proper holiday together. Many people visiting Antigua and Barbuda ask us where Antiguans go on holiday and the truth is that they are just like everyone else with a huge variety of dreamy holiday retreats which can even be other sunny paradises. This time however, we decided Italy would be the main place we would explore. The direct flights to London were the same price as flights going through New York, and we decided it would be fun to spend a few nights there on the way back from Europe. This way it would be a grand tour with us having 5 days in London, then Italy for eleven and finally to New York for the last three with a few travel days making up the three weeks. IT was a fantastic trip with lovely weather in London and New York and fairly good weather in Italy. We ate, explored, and rested enough that when it was time to come home we were 100% satisfied.

One of the first things we noticed as we approached VC Bird airport was how fantastically green the island was. I knew the island had gotten some hard core rains as nell had told me about having to cancel tours several times, but the pure brilliance i saw before me was surprising. It was just soooo green! After we landed and finally were allowed to walk down the steps beside the plane and another thing caught me by surprise. The warmth engulfed us as if welcoming us back to the Caribbean. It was incredibly clear, sunny and warm. We finally got home back to Jolly Harbour and i saw another thing that had been missing for three weeks. The overall colours were just so much more vibrant. In the city the buildings are dark and the people dress to match. For three weeks we hadn't seen colour like what was radiating from around our gallery. It truly is something we take for granted here in the Caribbean, and being away for a week or even two isn't enough sometimes to notice and appreciate the difference. Wow it is colourful here. That night after doing what most tourists have to do at the end of their holiday....... laundry, the last thing that i had forgotten about started up. The gentle lullaby of tree frogs and crickets. For three weeks the sounds of cars, sirens and other city and small town noise had replaced the Caribbean night sounds. We were back now. Anyway, i will be blogging again more regularly. Lots happening here and i will keep you up to date. This photo was taken yesterday and shows Ross driving Xtreme home. Val and i were on the boat too with the last few guests. It was a nice day out.
Tony, JD, Val, Wan Lovv, Ross, Chris, Nell and my mom have done a great job keep the show running while i was away and the season is looking good.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Happy Independence Day Antigua …

Antigua and Barbuda’s 26th Independence Anniversary celebrations came to a close last week, a time of year in which numerous culturally vibrant activities take place, culminating on November 1st - Independence Day.

November 1st is a very significant Day for Antiguans and Barbudan’s because it signifies the day that 'we’ broke away from British colonial rule. On that momentous day in 1981 the people of Antigua and Barbuda made the decision to chart their destiny as an independent nation.

Over the past twenty-six years, Antiguans have come together to celebrate annually, our cultural identity, our past and ancestors, but more importantly, our freedom.

Among this years Independence offerings was a Food Fair, in which a variety of culinary customs and traditions were demonstrated, showing how to make traditional local dishes, like the chatta dumpling, or bamboola.

There was also the fourth Annual Homecoming Queen Pageant, in which twenty young ladies from Antigua and five from Barbuda were selected to compete for the coveted title, now held by Sybil Ramrattan, the new 2007 Independence Homecoming Queen.

There was a Calypso and Awards Night, held at the Royal Antiguan Hotel which saw Leston “Young Destroyer” Jacobs, take home the award for Calypso of the Year and as well as one for Best Social Commentary. Calypso has been a powerful vehicle in Antigua and the West Indies, conveying the thoughts of local storytellers for the past century.

In fact, the year 1956 saw the Mighty Sparrow burst onto the scene taking the calypso world by storm with his legendary hit Jean and Dinah. Jean and Dinah, which celebrated the departure of US troops from Trinidad, ushered in a new era of politically charged calypso.

Having done some research, by most accounts, this politicized form of calypso helped facilitate Trinidad's independence from Britain in 1962. It is safe to say that socially and politically conscious calypso has had a major influence on many of Antigua and Barbuda’s social and political movements as well.

Despite the excitement of all these activities, I have to admit that for the most part, I observered from afar. I had two days off this week and nothing was going to stop me from taking advantage of the wind, by going for a kite surf!

After months of no wind, finally it was a steady 20knots. While people celebrated their Independence parading around town, a few of us celebrated with an afternoon session at Green Island. Stoked!

Annabel Fuller