Sunday, November 30, 2008

Lord and Lady Bollocks

So while having a drink at what is now a traditional TGIF after work session at Foredeck in Jolly Harbour, some of the Adventure Antigua crew told me about the funniest story I have heard come from the boats in a while. There was a group of six British people on the Xtreme Circumnav and the rest of the guests were mostly from the USA. Anyway, Cpt. JD takes the guests up the North side of Antigua into the Sound passing all the little islands including hells gate seen here from a photo taken on the Eco Tour
and then moves through the myriad of coral reef dodging shallow spots over towards Stingray City. Just like normal, JD and the crew organize drinks for everyone there before giving a snorkeling lesson/refresher course. Then JD introduces the guys from the park who give their briefings before everyone goes into the waters for the first snorkeling session of the day... this time with the rays and other fish inside the park.

Picture 212sm
Anyway, while setting up drinks one of the Brits said to another "My Lord, what would you like to drink?" With that simple question JD says that one of the Americans up front nearly dropped her drink. He said he saw her eyes almost pop out of her head. Later while they were getting ready to get into the water the lady asked one of the Brits if it was true that he was a Lord. Without any hesitation the man said, "why yes madam. I am Lord Bollocks". JD said that the lady looked so amazed and quickly turned to the gentleman's wife and asked if she that meant she was a "Lady". The wife says "yes i am Lady Bollocks". JD nearly wet himself but didn't know what to do about the situation. The Brits were clearly having a good laugh at the expense of one of his guests. Anyway, the tour went on and not much was said more on the topic thankfully.
green island blue sky
At lunch one of the other American guests asked "Lord Bollocks" if he lived in a huge house. Without flinching or smiling at all, "Lord Bollocks" said that he lived in at "Bollocks Castle" with a great many servants. Some of the guests asked the Lords if they could take photos of them and they agreed to pose for the pics.
For those of you who don't know, "bollocks" is an old English word for testicles. Check the wiki definition which sums it up pretty well.
I am not sure what I would have done on that tour if I were skipper. That was pretty mean of the Lord and Lady (and the other Brits on board), but the American lady seemed very impressed and happy to have met some British "royalty". You can imagine the story back at the ship that night. In a way there was no harm done because nobody seemed to figure it out, but that doesn't make it right. Should JD have taken the Brits aside and told them to stop? I dunno. Anyway, to all Americans reading this please be aware of the meaning of bollocks so that you may never fall for this one! AND to the Brits reading this: please stop making fun of people!!!!! VERY NAUGHTY!!!
Here is the Xtreme vid for those who haven't seen it:

Friday, November 28, 2008

Sushi in Antigua

Up until now there have been several places to enjoy sushi in Antigua with Sandals resort being one of them, The Beach Restaurant being another and a few other places which kinda make an effort at sushi specials from time to time. This has changed now.
My sister Nell who manages much of the island wide marketing as well as bookings has always been interested in being a chef. Back in the late 90s she went to the UK to do some sort of cordon bleu course I think. Coming from Antigua, that wasn't her kinda style but it did give her the experience she needed to better pursue other areas. Growing up here we did manage to enjoy a huge variety of fresh seafood and in those days getting it wasn't difficult. When away in Florida at college, Nell discovered sushi for the first time and fell in love with it's simple yet exquisite nature. She prepared sushi for us quite a few times over the years and had always wanted to learn more. Finally a few years ago she took some time off from booking tours with us and went to the California Sushi Academy to learn how to do it properly. These pics show her at school there (i stole them from her facebook page): The boss and owner looks like the kind of guy you don't want to mess with. Chef Ramsey wouldn't stand a chance!
A good thing she did well!!
Since she returned to Antgua she has been doing sushi catering while still working for Adventure Antigua.
Recently an old school friend asked Nell to come to the cafe he was running to see if she'd like to try a sushi night there once a week. Moka Cafe is at the top of Redcliffe Quay in St. Johns and is in the top floor of an old colonial style building. Since they started sushi night it has been very busy. Each week tables are booked solid. In fact we had to wait three weeks to get our seating. Anyway, they have a menu with a selection of about 6 different rolls to pick from as well as a few sashimi items too. The sushi is made in front of the dining room as your order comes in, and you can go have a look how the rolls are made. As you know, sushi done properly is a beautiful thing. The results were fantastic and we all ate far too much to the point where we could hardly walk. Anyway, with drinks the bill for four of us came to US $135 which we thought was excellent value. You should go check it out for sure!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Another animal rescue

If you remember reading about the flooding in Omar you will remember that Jolly Harbour and Piggotts had some of the worst in very isolated areas that essentially ended up being huge drains. In Jolly Harbour we saw two helicopters get washed away from where they were anchored. We saw coolers, a boat and storage boxes a pig and a very large SUV all get washed into the sea. My company truck seen here could only go so far and I couldn't get home for three hours. I didn't see Piggotts, but my cousin Annabel reporting for the Daily Observer managed to get some photos of the area while driving around. You can see from these images how badly flooded a section in that village got. Judging from how much junk managed to get pushed into the sea in Jolly Harbour, I can only imagine how much got pushed into Fitches Creek and Parham during that storm. The topic of this blog is animal rescue and we are not talking about a fur seal or sea lion like the ones in this other blog. And other than what i have said about the pig in Jolly Harbour I can only add that my friend Dino managed to help get it out of the harbour using a kayak seen here. This blog is about a little dog.
Last week my good friend Stevie Mendes, who helped me bring the sloop from Carriacou last April, was out with a friend on a little boston whaler speed boat doing a little fishing and exploring. They came to a little island called Rat Island just outside Parham Harbour and for some strange reason they decided to go ashore. On it they found an extremely hungry dog that in my opinion had been there for 4 weeks slowly starving to death. Hurricane Omar missed Antigua but we managed to get flooding from one of the feeder bands that came off the storm. My theory is that in all the flooding loads of stuff got washed into the sea including this dog. Rat Island is just outside the bay where much of the Piggotts flooding poured into the sea at a place the old charts called Winthorps Foot Creek. The dog managed to swim to the island where it had been for four weeks hoping that one of the passing boats would pick it up. Stevie and Gareth were on a very small boat and decided to come back for it later with a bigger boat. They called Chris who works for me and asked him if he'd help them later. Chris had a bigger boat and went down to the area once the tours had finished to help. The got to the island in the dark and at first couldn't find the poor creature. With flash lights they finally managed to find her under a rocky ledge. Chris said the dog could hardly move and was afraid as well. They had brought some food and water and lured it to come out of its hiding place. Eventually Chris wrapped it in a towell he took along and put her in the boat. He told me he would be calling The Antigua Humane Society and PAWS the next morning so that they could take the dog. I thought that's what had happened, but found out today that Chris had decided to keep her. Guili is her name now and she couldn't be with a better person. That's the animal rescue story for today. Many animals in storms don't end up as lucky as this dog. These dogs were seen trying to find shelter after the storm in St. Johns. There always are a bunch of strays running around after storms.I understand that over 11,000 chickens perished in the storm here as well as several horses and quite a few pigs. Flooding seems to be the most deadly thing in storms and even though this was the second time in living memory that we have had such floods we need to be more prepared next time. I hope to have a photo of Chris with guili soon, but you can see Chris in this part of our crew's bio. Like i said in that section, Chris is always willing to go the extra mile to help someone or something.
(all the images here in today's blog were taken by Annabel Fuller except the pig ones which were taken by Lisa Reynolds)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Antigua Tourism Week

This week is the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Week and to start off with they had a symposium last night at the Chinese built Multi-Purpose Center with a variety of speakers including the Minister of Tourism, Harold Lovell who gave a opening speech on the status of the tourism industry. There were also a speech by Adel Blair who is the acting chief within the Environment Division (which by the way falls under Harold Lovell's ministry). Her speech was on Sustainable Development which was kind of strange to hear after Harold spoke about all the development that would be coming to Antigua over the next few years including some that are due to happen in extremely delicate ecological areas. She highlighted the need for change within the government on it's stance on sand mining, the building of jetties and groynes, the cutting of mangroves, the dumping of waste and so on. Many of the things that i have written in this blog over the past two years were spoken about by her as well and i have to tell you that i found it brave of her. People like Adele must get so angry when she sees the UPP government ignoring intelligent advice from the Ministry of Environment. The ALP were just as bad but the strange thing about this one is that they say they are going to adhere to "sustainable development" practices and do the complete opposite.
Another excellent speaker was Hilary Modeste who is a highly educated and impressive speaker from St. Lucia who is on the island currently working for Jolly Beach Hotel as their main marketing man. He has an incredible resume and I think that he has much to offer the people of Antigua and Barbuda with his life long experience in tourism development at the highest level. Jolly Beach is lucky to have him on board. I just found this little piece on him at a recent travel market in the UK. It's mostly about Jolly Beach and doesn't show how impressive a speaker he is, but at least you know who i am speaking about.

His speech was about the need to match marketing with product value so that a consistent message about the brand can be achieved. IT was almost a lecture, but he did give some great info and spoke about some problems we have here in Antigua and how they compare to similar situations in St. Lucia where he was director of tourism and also the person behind their Jazz Festival.
There were also speakers on finance and crime.
One thing that stood out to me as a person in the activities sector (or complimentary services as some called it) was the fact that three of the speakers there including Harold Lovell spoke about the need for us in Antigua to have more "attractions". Lovell said that St. Martin had double the number of attractions that we had here. The panelists asked if we didn't have any entrepreneurs here and asked why people were not more imaginative. They also spoke about coming up with regulations that would ensure that some there was some consistency in the running of tours and other attractions. I listened and found it hard not to get frustrated. The Antigua and Barbuda Excursions Alliance which i was a member of, tried for over a year to get our concerns recognized by the Ministry of Tourism. So many of the things that they speak about on these Tourism meetings deal with things we tried to raise with the Ministry. We got absolutely nowhere and after being pushed around and around with people within the ministry who had been told to look after us we got frustrated and gave up trying to work as a group. When the discussion side of the symposium came up I had to get something off my chest. I said that in fact we have as many "attractions" as St. Martin did. I wanted to say that according to our members we had too many excursions but didn't have the time. The market here on the island is saturated with things to do and see and many of them never get a chance for other reasons which we tried to speak with the Ministry about. The running and marketing of excursions and "attractions" in Antigua is an extremely complex situation that is not easy to understand. At the moment the average Antiguan is at a competitive disadvantage than to someone who arrives from abroad to start an excursion company. There are many loop holes and barriers that Antiguan companies face in this sector which foreign companies don't. It was frustrating to hear the uninformed Minister preach about what we should do after not hearing our problems. We would love to diversify and add more excursions and attractions but Antiguans would stand a better chance if they were coming from the UK to do so. I think i showed my frustration which was a mistake, but hopefully Mr. Lovell and others will understand that Antiguan excursion operators and Antiguans who would like to be excursion operators are facing difficult times and want to be able to be listened to as a group. We are still waiting to be helped on any of our core issues. This was the original letter given to Mr. Lovell when the UPP won the election back in 2004 (we never got a meeting with him):

Antigua Barbuda Excursions Alliance

Mr. Harold E. Lovell
The Ministry of Tourism
Antigua and Barbuda

Dear Sir:

On behalf of the newly formed Antigua Barbuda Excursions Alliance, we, the elected Board of representatives, would like to take this opportunity to congratulate you on your recent appointment as Minister of Tourism.
We are confident that you and your team will create positive inroads into the development of the Tourism Product of Antigua and Barbuda, and we all feel that this new government will make massive improvements to the mechanics of the Product with you at the helm. It is with this in mind that we as excursion operators came together recently and started this alliance. The ABEA is a non profit company set up to give our members a louder unified voice in an effort to make our part of the Tourism Product shine in a way that is has never done. We wish to have a meeting with you at your earliest convenience.
On behalf of our members, we would like to discus the following common issues with you:
1. Fair representation of our tours to the tourists in this country.
2. Protection for indigenous operators.
3. Duty Free concessions and Tax structure.
4. Environmental protection of our key sites.
5. Member privilege.
6. Transportation
7. Rules and Regulations for operators.

Once again we are delighted that you are at the helm, and we are sure that we can all exceed the expectations of our visitors and stakeholders. Enclosed you will find a list of our members. We look forward to meeting with you.
Eli Fuller, Nick Cheremeteff, Eustace Armstrong, Conrad Labarrie, Laurance Gonsalves

Antigua Barbuda Excursions Alliance

Sunday, November 23, 2008

A youtube video of the Sea Lion disaster unfolding.

If you want more info on how this Sea Lion managed to get to be on a main road in Antigua then goto this link after seeing the video found on youtube taken by plugs20.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Say hi to Jason

Jason has been working with Adventure Antigua since May when he came aboard to help finish Ocean Nomad. He calls it his baby and he has been the most dedicated person in getting her to the stage that she is at now. Seen here yesterday, Jason is finally at the stage where he can go sailing on her with me instead of spend his days sanding, painting, cutting, scraping and any other number of things we have had to do over the past 6 months. I remember when we were cutting almost 5 thousand pounds of lead to use at the boats internal ballast during the first days he was with the company. The lead came from a huge sailing yacht that had been destroyed in a fire. It was probably one of the worst jobs anyone working with us has ever had to do. Cutting lead with a chainsaw in the hot Antiguan sunshine without any shade isn't easy. We had to weigh every piece too. One of the things we tried to do was cut the pieces as big as possible so that we could limit the amount of chainsaw work we did. Some pieces were as big as 90 kilos or just under 200 lbs which is nearly twice as much as Jason weighs. Jason is not a very big guy at all but like Tony he is way stronger than he looks. During all that lead cutting and lead lifting he didn't complain a bit. In fact, the lead wasn't the only nasty job. We also had to paint a tar like substance all over the interior of the boat after sanding all the mildew off the wood. That was Jason's first week and he's been working hard every since. Sitting back and sailing now is a joy for him and he's very excited to be the first mate on this boat. Look for him this winter if you are on the boat with us. For more info on the boat you can goto was another photo from yesterday's sailing session:

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Noah's Park - the Sea Lion disaster.

When Mykl received a call on her mobile midday on Sunday she was surprised to see the 911 digits appearing on her phone’s screen. They had kept her number on file as being someone who could deal with Turtle related problems and I suppose general environmental questions that they couldn’t answer. The dispatcher told mykl that there was a “seal” on the road at Darkwood Beach and asked her to come down and give some assistance to the police. Mykl Clovis is an Environmental Awareness Group advisor and runs their turtle program as well.
Anyway, in an amazing bit of fate she had received an email from an environmental group in one of the other islands last week which told a story of a marine “park” disaster. During the passing of Hurricane Omar large waves broke the concrete barrier of the US $16 million dollar facility called Marine world. This passage was taken from a St. Kitts website:

“Marine World St. Kitts – Currently under construction on South Friar’s Bay Beach on the island’s southern peninsula, Marine World boasts 4 acres of world class facilities. It will feature a stingray lagoon, dolphin encounters including swimming with dolphins, an educational hut where visitors can learn about marine life, a beach bar and grill and a nature trail and aviary with tropical birds, butterflies and even a few local green vervet monkeys. The park will also showcase other interaction-friendly marine creatures such as sea lions and nurse sharks. In addition, Marine World St. Kitts will offer watersports that are carefully selected in order not to disturb the marine life. To provide the best possible environment for the dolphins, the park will have a marine biologist on site, large dolphin areas, constant filtration of seawater and maximum utilization of natural surroundings. Total cost of the project is approximately $16 million. Construction is expected to be complete for a summer 2006 opening.”

Thankfully the zoo didn’t have dolphins at the time as they would have surely perished. Captive dolphins lose the ability to feed for themselves as did (alien species) sea lions in this case.
Anyway, with this info Mykl tried four numbers listed for the St. Kitts zoo all of which didn’t seem to be working. We jumped in my truck and headed down to the scene and what a scene it was. It was like something out of a weird nightmare unfolding before us. Right in the middle of the main “highway” in the corner of the road there was a massive crowd of people and police. Cars were left parked all over the road and in the middle of all the chaos was a very emaciated sea lion. I think several people who had helped save a wild seal that had washed up a few years ago were trying to get it into a tub and into the back of a truck. The sea lion wasn’t playing that game though and despite several people and police officers trying to contain it the lion managed to get over the concrete wall coming down on the rocky beach side. The Tamarind Hills development which is tearing up the hillside and adjacent shoreline wasn’t the ideal place for a sea lion to come up. People were screaming commands left and right trying to control the crowd and prevent people or the animal from getting hurt. Several officers were trying to get the road unblocked too, but despite their valiant efforts the situation was out of control. “Put the animal back in the water” shouted one guy, then another, and another. “Take it to the ice factory” shouted others. Concerned people had brought bags and bags of ice for the animal and bottles of fresh water were being poured on it. Imagine being in the Caribbean for 6 months, getting lost, not eating anything for a month then finally washing up on a beach and getting ice water thrown all over your face and body.
On the way to the beach I called Mrs. Kelsick who is a good friend’s mom. She is originally from St. Kitts and I knew her brother was involved in government there. He may have even been minister of tourism at one time. Anyway, she said she would have him call me. Of course there was no phone reception below the hill where the sea lion chaos was unfolding. With all the people screaming and yelling and the animal in obvious distress I knew something had to be done quickly to contain the situation. I asked a friend who manages Sugar Ridge’s landscaping if he knew where we could get some fencing wire and some poles. Sure enough he was the man. Melrose and I jumped back in my truck and managed somehow to escape the area bound for his house. On the way there Marine World General Manager, Peter Noah, finally called me from St. Kitts. He had gotten my message from the Kelsicks and said that he and his team would be in a plane and on their way to Antigua within an hour. He said that they would be sending a 60 foot boat that evening as well. He told me that we didn’t need to fence it and all we needed to do was to leave the animal alone until he got there. YA RIGHT!
When I left the beach just minutes before a fleet of Sunday jet skies and boats had arrived and joined in the spectacle. I made the decision that if we didn’t get the animal safely contained then something worse was going to happen. I also imagined that if it decided that Antigua's sea lion hospitality wasn’t that great, then it would probably swim out to sea again it may be lost for good. The poor creature looked so thin tired. It was a 65 mile swim to Antigua and right into the waves. Imagine doing that with no way of feeding yourself.
Since I couldn’t get through to Mykl back at the beach I figured I would just call 911 to pass on the info. I have to tell you that the 911 people here are fantastic these days. What an amazing change that has taken place there. The lady there asked what was the nature of my emergency and I quickly explained that I had info about the sea lion to pass on to the officers there. She immediately patched me through to the Bolans Police Station who then patched me through to the officer in charge at Darkwood Beach. Corporal Taylor in between yelling commands told me that the sea lion had gone back into the water. I told him that the Marine World people were on their way and had asked that the animal be left alone. I told the officer that we were bringing the wire back to fence it on the beach if it came ashore again in an effort to bring some control to a situation that would get out of control once again. He agreed and told me to hurry.
We got back 20 minutes later and almost everyone had gone. The sea lion had followed a jet ski slowly going towards the next beach just around the corner. Ffreyes beach was where we went too and up on the North side just below Dennis’ Restaurant was the sea lion. As we arrived five or six jet skies were at the water’s edge almost like killer whales looking for some fresh meat. To be fair I think one of them had actually guided it to the beach. Approaching from the south side of the beach was a growing crowd almost looking like a mob, and mykl and I tried to let them know that they had to give the animal room. With the help of three or four guys we quickly erected the fence more to keep people away from the animal than anything else and in my opinion it was safer there than it had been since the waves had broken down it’s last place of captivity.
Four sea lions and four fur seals had escaped during that storm on October 16th and had been spotted over a 250 mile span in the northern Caribbean. Only one of the fur seals had been recovered and this was the third sea lion that had been found. Helicopters boats and planes had all taken part in the recovery of these precious animals. I use the word precious for a reason. These are more cash cows than sea lions and the 16 million dollar facility will be the main cruise tourism attraction on the twin island nation of St. Kitts and Nevis. There are hundreds of reasons why marine mammels shouldn’t be kept in captivity and this disaster was one of the main arguments against our own Dolphin Fantasies which kept dolphins over at Runaway beach some years ago. The Caribbean gets hurricanes and this type of disaster is almost a sure bet. These sea lions were captured off Uruguay about a year ago and sent to St. Kitts back in April. They have been fed frozen north American fish since then and have no idea how to catch fish in these waters which is why the animals lost so much weight. When it left St. Kitts it weighed about 230 lbs and was still growing. We thought it weighed about 180 now. No food for four weeks.
Before Peter Noah left St. Kitts he asked me to find a place to keep the animal overnight where they could administer treatment to it. I made a few trips to jolly harbour and dozens of phone calls to try to find a suitable place. One of my friends offered his gated deck which I had a look at and thought would possibly be ok.
When the Marine world people arrived just after sunset they poured out of the taxi and rushed right past us to the enclosure. Very shortly afterwards Peter, who I introduced myself to, started getting slightly agitated calling shots left and right to his people and others. Several Antigua Fisheries officials had been on the scene since very early on and had been waiting for Peter and his crew so that they could offer help. The police had been there all the time as well trying to keep people from getting too close to the make shift enclosure. So many people had volunteered help. Dennis had given us four or five buckets which several boys had been using to get water from the sea in order to keep the sea lion moist. We didn’t know if this was the right thing to do but since it was fenced we decided we should keep it wet. Melrose had left one of his employees to help and look after the fence too. Peter and his marine world trainers didn’t seem to appreciate all the help that had been afforded and as soon as he came the helpful attitude of all around seemed to diminish. Several hours of feeding and medication passed while we tried to find a suitable place to keep the animal. Peter had dismissed the deck almost as a joke. The Fisheries officers said that they may have a room that could work and went off with Peter to check on it. An hour later the sea lion was netted and put in the back of my truck bound this time for the Japanese built fisheries plant. (the story behind that plant is a whole other story!)
Finally at minutes to 9 pm the trainers and the vet were safely looking after their animal and we were free to go. The police hadn't had a drink since the morning. We were all over it. I picked up the fence poles and wire with Melrose’s guy and dropped it off at his house and the adventure was done.
There can be no doubt that seeing a sea lion is an amazing experience, but the cost and risks to the intelligent animals associated with having them in a park are far too high for me to enjoy the glimpse. Yesterday the boat arrived to take the precious sea lion back to the zoo which will be it’s home until the next hurricane.
Some say we shouldn’t have let the zoo keepers just come for their animal like they did, but what was the alternative. The marine mammal doc that came along with them said that if the sea lion had come up on US territory then they wouldn’t have been able to do what they had done here. I hope that people here on the island can see why having a dolphin park here is such a bad idea. As I said earlier, there are so many reasons why we shouldn’t have such a park here that I don’t even have enough time to write them all down. A good start is always this site though which talks about captive vs. free marine mammals.

When they lifted the sea lion into the back of my truck i told Peter that i'd like him to know that i was one of many here on the island who campaigned against the captive dolphin program here. He tried not to show his surprise and said something strange. He said "I can assure you that I will never bring dolphins to Antigua". I dunno why I think it was strange, but the way he said it just sounded weird. It's still unsettling to me.
There were several people who had asked Peter for money for helping out and he had asked me to come to see him the next day about sorting out that kinda stuff. A part of me wanted Peter and his park to pay big time for their mistakes and I told him that they had plenty to answer to, but really all i wanted was for this animal to be taken safely out of Antigua. Riding in the front of the truck with me the night before was their vetrenarian. He told me that one of his main areas of expertise was injured sea turtle rehab. I told him about Mykl's turtle project as well as the Jumby Bay project and said that I'd like to have his contact details. When Mykl and I met them in the morning the Sea Lion was doing much better and had been eating all night. They had been pumping fluids and medication into him and he was ready to be transported back to St. Kitts. Peter wanted to preach some of his Jim Jones type marine zoo propaganda to me and asked me to sit with him for a moment while Mykl and the Doc talked turtle. Peter wrongly assumed that like most of the people he speaks with, I was ill informed. He started out by saying that he knew I had problems with the moral issue of marine mammals in captivity but that these sea lions were rescued from a cull in Uruguay. "The fishermen there kill thousands there every year and these ones escaped being killed". I immideately shot back "You mean like the dolphins rescued by dolphin parks from Taiji?" See this link. Again he was lost for words and said that Taiji had cleaned up it's act. I didn't bother go further on this one as i knew different. A good friend spent plenty of time there recently and saw the slaughters first hand. We didn't speak much more on the issue of marine mammal parks probably because he understood very well at that point that I wouldn't drink the cool aid. Just then the sea lion peeked its head up to the glass seperating us from it's holding area within the fisheries complex. He looked so much more happy than he had been the day before. I guess like most things happiness is relative. Peter said that he wanted to be fair to those who helped out and wanted to know how much I needed for all the trouble that i went to including running around with my truck. I told him i needed nothing for myself, but that i would think that EC $600 (US $230) would be a good gesture to pay the two boys who kept the sea lion wet with buckets of water, and the two guys who supplied the fence and stayed with it until 9 the night before. He was delighted to pay this meager amount. As the Doc had said earlier that if it had been a US territory they wouldn't have gotten the animal back. When he said that he should at least pay for my fuel. I told him that if he needed to feel good about this fiasco he could donate something to the Antigua Sea Turtle Project. He and the doc agreed that this was a great idea. The doc said "what about one of our 8 foot tanks..... they could use this for injured turtle rehab". Peter nearly choked and said "you want me to give them a tank!??". I chuckled while Mykl and the two men ironed the details. I hope they stick to it. She was the reason the animal got "rescued" by them in the first place.
Mykl and I got home and curiosity got the better of me. I had to find info on the thousands of sea lions that were killed each year in Uruguay. Despite an hour of intense googling I couldn't find any truth to Peter's story. I am not calling him a liar, but I just didn't find the info. What i did find was this link saying that this company could catch you one and ship it to you without any problems. They boasted that they hadn't had one get killed yet. Nowhere did it say they were rescued Sea Lions. I aslo found this link where in the "status" section they totally debunk Peter's claim.
This was the article that Mykl first was sent last week. It's a good thing that she read it because nobody else here seemed to know anything about the "seal" as they called it.
If you have read this long rambling blog I hope you will join me and the many others who will work hard together to stop captive marine mammals from being kept here. Recently I heard that a dolphin park approached the government about setting up shop once again here. This time they wanted to do it in Cades Bay. We must stop them!
The photos to this blog are coming soon.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Work on our second yacht starts again.

Many of you know if you have been following this blog for a year or longer that back in November 07 we decided to commission the construction of a Carriacou Sloop. We at Adventure Antigua made this decision for a number of reasons which included the following.
1- to diversify away from higher "footprint" type tours.
2- to maintain return clients' interest in our company.
3- to keep ourselves interested and motivated.
4- to offer guests something new and not done in Antigua.
5- to have another area of recreation when there are no tours.
6- to get back into sailing and racing on days off.

The list of reasons we decided to get a Caribbean wooden sailing vessel goes on and on. It had to be different though and getting a sailing vessel which was not just the typical fiberglass (plastic) boat that you see commonly these days was critical. They are fun too, but a traditionally built wooden boat had, history, life and character even before you put crew on board.
I have written so much about Carriacou Sloops on this blog and you can use the little box above to find out more.
I paid our first deposit to Alwyn Enoe back in November last year and shortly afterwards he made a model according to what we had agreed would be the perfect boat for my needs. After this was done he and his sons went into the "bush" as they call the Grenada jungle to select several white cedar trees which they would use to make the skeleton of the new sloop. By mid February they were cutting and shaping the timbers on their home island of Carriacou. Very shortly after that i was contacted by the owner of a boat who had started and stopped building another boat down the beach. He made a deal with me to take over the building of his boat and work immediately stopped on my boat so that we could have Ocean Nomad ready to sail in time for the Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta in mid April. It was a mad rush and the slide show here shows some of that work. Since that regatta in April we have been doing work on Ocean Nomad to get her ready enough to do charters and tours here in Antigua. We are pretty much finished finally. This summer work started back up on my original boat and once the bronze fastenings (nails, nuts, washers and bolts) had arrived the frames were attached to the greenheart keel. My good friend Alexis Andrews who did the fantastic two volume book Carriacou Sloops took some video last week of the boat as you can now call her on the beach in Carriacou. You can see his video at the end of this presentation:

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Last tournament of the year

This saturday 15th November is the last fishing tournament of the year in Antigua. It's the 5th year that "The Best In The West" tournament has been put on by my uncle Nick at his house in Jolly Harbour known as "Docs Dock". For more info click here.
I just posted a very long report and video from the last tournament we did over in Montserrat. Click here for that one too.
The weather is still looking rough for this weekend so wish us luck on the weather and the fish catching!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

back in the land.

Have been off island for the yearly holiday out of the Caribbean. London and Amsterdam provided plenty to do and see. I'm back now and will be writing properly once again. We have quite a bit to chat about too. The latest is the crazy idea to name our largest hill Mount Obama. It's a shame for many reasons in my opinion and I will dedicate another day to that saga. For now I'd like to share a cool site i came across today. This photo diary was done by some of our guests who visited Antigua while on a cruise ship. Thanks for the great photos and descriptions: