Monday, July 25, 2011

great recent trip reviews for Adventure Antigua

“ Wonderful Eco Tour ”

Jul 20, 2011 cda008

We had looked at the Eco Tour and the Extreme Tour several times before our trip to Antigua. Initially we tried to book the Extreme circumnav tour, but it was full. Good thing, though, because we were so very happy with the Eco Tour. We hiked all along Hell's Gate (cannot express how awe inspiring this was - one side the calm Caribbean, the other side the tumultuous Atlantic), climbed to the top of Bird Island, and snorkeled near Bird Island. While snorkeling we actually saw a magnificent spotted Eagle Ray, the biggest lobster any of us tourists had every set eyes on, and tons of fish and beautiful coral. There were a few jelly fish (this was the case all around the island), but they really didn't sting that badly as I held one once back on the boat. The crew were friendly, intelligent, and helpful. They definitely made this trip worth it and the lunch we were served was delicious. We would definitely recommend this as a highlight to your trip!

“ Awesome time on Antigua Extreme ”

Jul 10, 2011 Ace6180

We came back to Antigua for the second time in April of 2011. On our first trip to Antigua in 2010, we saw the Antigua Extreme boat in Jolly Harbor and thought it looked like a lot of fun but we had already booked with another boat trip. So we made sure to book early on the Extreme for our 2011 trip. The boat picked us up in front of our resort and we were greeted by three vey friendly and knowledgable crew members. They took us around the island and told us about the history of Antigua and about the intereting places we were passing. We went to Stingray City which was very fun. We would highly recommend it to anyone. We had a lovely lunch on a quiet beach. We got to see some of the harbors and the large yachts that were there for the upcoming Regatta. We snorkeled in a quiet bay and saw llts of interesting sea life. The crew got in with us and led groups of novices and more advanced snorkelers which was very nice. We stopped for some rum punch on a beach that had the softest sand I've stepped in. After completing our trip around the entire island we were delivered safe and sound back to our resort. It was a wonderful day. We would highly recommend it and will definetly book with them again on our next trip to Antigua.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Antiguans on holiday

Yup, this time we are in Canada (first time for me) and have enjoyed an amazing part of our holiday on Lake Joseph up in Muskoka. We had perfect weather and company while staying with my wife's family in a traditional cottage. All very different than home back in Antigua. Here are a few pics:

We are now in ultra hot and sunny Toronto and looking for places with good AC. Wow, it's hot! Back home the Adventure Antigua team have been doing a great job and I have been in touch with most of them using whatsapp, google+, facebook, and twitter and skype. While it's great to be able to stay in touch with work to make sure they are all fine, it's good to switch off too. Goodbye!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

A government not representing the people because of Japanese influence.

This blog post has many links to other blog posts i have written on the topic as well as some info from other media posts including a recent one from the BBC. Click on them for more info.

Recently the International Whaling Convention talks were shut down by Antigua and Barbuda together with other members of the pro whaling group. Antigua and Barbuda's government supports Japan in a quid pro quo arrangement where Japan spends money on certain apsects of our fishery. The grant money is very specific and all goes towards building fish processing plants and small marinas which to this day have never been used as they were designed or planned. Many of the fish storage buildings are rented to regular people to do things as obscure as storage of household items to selling beauty supplies. Not a penny of this Japanese blood money (as i call it in a blog from last year) goes towards fishery management in an effort to make our fishery sustainable. Read more about that here in this recent blog and also by clicking here for another similar blog post.
Most Antiguans polled on the whaling issue by the NGO, ABITPC, said that they were against whaling and our Government's support of Japan. In fact 2386 people polled at places like the Woods Mall in Antigua were against any form of commercial whaling. Many who support Japanese whaling seem to think that it isn't possible to poll Antiguans in a fair way. Anyway, ABITPC's poll from nearly 10 years ago wasn't the only poll. A World Wildlife Fund poll of people in several countries also found the same thing: the average man and women in Antigua is against whaling. Read more here.  

Should Your Country Support Whaling?

Knowing that most Antiguans and Barbudans are against whaling and our government's support for whaling, Japan decided to change the propaganda machine's tactics. The message is now: "Don't let those white countries who took advantage of you for so long tell you what to do with your fishery!" Of course our government and those of many other receivers of Japanese blood money have fallen for this message Hook Line and Sinker. They are towing the line with renewed inspiration and saying that nobody should tell them what to do. Their stance is that they believe in the rights of nations to have SUSTAINABLE USE OF THEIR MARINE RESOURCES. As mentioned in a link above and again by clicking here, this notion of sustainable use would be ok if we actually practiced it here. There is no evidence of it at all here where fish stocks are dwindling and fishermen are going deeper and further into the sea to find seafood. I think the new stance is just so crazy on so many fronts. For one as mentioned above our fishery isn't being used in a sustainable way. No money is being spent on fishery management and especially no Japanese money. There isn't any threat to our use of whales as there has never been any history of any use of whales here in Antigua and Barbuda other than in tourism as seen in this video (if you have time) shot in our waters:

Also I don't think it is a case of Antigua and Barbuda being used and abused by former white colonists but more of a case of us being used, abused, and fooled by the neo colonist JAPAN. Chinese and Japanese neo colonialism is subtle to those who have their heads in the sand but what else can it be called. They are controlling what we do and say despite most of the people either not agreeing or not knowing what is going on. When you read articles like this one I think you can understand a bigger picture of what's going on. Cick here to read about how far Japan will go with evidence of bribes, hookers and more. Of course nobody was locked up because it would mean that governments would have to investigate themselves. This kinda thing doesn't happen in countries like ours. 
Anyway, while our fishery and reefs decline to the tipping point, our government seems more concerned with Japan's fishery and their rights to hunt and kill whales for "scientific research". The walk out at the IWC hurts whales and dolphins that are not even being hunted by Japan. A proposal was brought by some Latin American (not white former colonists) to set up a whale sanctuary in the South Atlantic. This isn't an area where Japan, Norway, or Iceland hunt whales and neither does St. Vincent and the Grenadines either!!! So none of the pro whaling nations hunt there but on Japan's lead they all walked out of the meeting before a vote could be taken. This made for a collapse of the talks further damaging the IWC. Read more about why whales that are not even being targeted by the Japanese in Oceans not even being used for their whaling are let down by the Antigua and co. walkout by clicking here.

I took a photo of these whales were enjoying our waters off Hawksbill Hotel.

In the meantime reef fish and others continue to vanish off Antigua and Barbuda and people continue to eat imported fish such as "butterfish" and "banga mary". Don't forget that most Antiguan's are against whaling for now. One of my crew who lives in what he describes as "the ghetto" started telling me one day that he watches Whale Wars, which is a program about the only real anti whaling fighters out there. This crazy group drives the Japanese whaling fleet just as crazy with outlandish tactics. Anyway, this rasta crew of mine wanted me to help him get a job on the Whale War boat. I am sure there are many more such people here in Antigua, but our government ignores them.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

I'll be on 91.1 FM today speaking with the Gov. Environment people about pollution.

It what is turning out to be a regular thing, I have been invited to be part of a Voice of the People panel on Observer Radion 91.1 FM today. On the internet you can find it on
Today's topic is Pollution and I think they want to speak about something I wrote about last year on my blog as well as other things. The blog had the title Antigua's 366th beach is an ignored government toxic waste dump and you can read more and see the photos here It's a long read but if you want to understand why the oil from your car, your power company or from anywhere gets into the sea then you should check it out and listen to the program.'s Rob Breadner is seen in the images with me and spent quite a bit of his time and energy taking photos and writing about it too. He even re published my blog on his site as he does with many of the eco pieces i write. Check that here: for more photos and better links.

If you don't have time to read them I can just tell you that for generations oil has been dumped into the ground up at Crabbs where we have several oil using power generation plants. The same happens at the West Indies Oil facility. Recently Mr. Harney started a waste oil plant that uses waste oil and mixes it with another fuel oil to produce a diesel equivalent. Its cheaper and supposedly cleaner than the crappy diesel we get here at the pump. He could expand but not without gov. help.
In the meantime used oil is seeping out of the ground and into the sea especially after big rains. Nothing is being done to fix the problem and a new Chinese generation plant has been built and reports are that there is still no plan for the waste oil it will produce. Read the article. It's interesting!
Of course this radio show will be about pollution in general and there is plenty of it. I also wrote about a massive amount of garbage (mostly plastic) which is washed out of St. Johns each day and especially during rains. See that one and the insane photos here:
This one was way more simple to fix than the oil but again nothing has been done as far as I know of.
Yesterday I blogged again about another form of pollution. This one is a hard sell here in Antigua where our society seems to think that an Island bathed in brilliant light 24 hours a day is safer and better all around. Again if you have time you should have a read of this blog which has great links, photos and info on how new lighting is killing endangered sea turtles here.
There is plenty of other pollution going on here in Antigua and this show could be an interesting one. I know that people are mostly going to want to speak about trash on the roads and on the beaches which are big problems too but I hope real issues like the ones above can be talked about too. Please listen and call in if you have time today from 12 until 2 pm and share this note so more people who care about this stuff can hear what our government technicians say. Tag people if you want in this note too (if you can). Thanks, eli.
PS sorry about spelling or grammatical mistakes. I don't care that much about them...

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Chinese Lights start killing turtles in Antigua again this summer.


Taken from an interesting wiki post on the subject:
Light pollution poses a serious threat to wildlife, having negative impacts on plant and animal physiology. Light pollution can confuse animal navigation, alter competitive interactions, change predator-prey relations, and cause physiological harm.[50] The rhythm of life is orchestrated by the natural diurnal patterns of light and dark, so disruption to these patterns impacts the ecological dynamics.[51]

For the second year running street lights along some of Antigua's most important turtle nesting beaches are killing turtles. Dumping old technology isn't a new thing for the Chinese and the delighted our local politicians by giving them extremely energy hungry street lights for our roads at a time when we can't afford to pay for the fuel that powers them. Why they didn't give us solar powered lights like they even use in China I can only guess and that could be written about on another blog. Anyway these lights are killing turtles. For millions of years sea turtles, all of which are now on the endangered species list, have been nesting on Antigua's shores. These days many don't make it.

The Hawksbill Turtle nests between May and November typically but some females will come at other times during the year too. Leatherbacks and Green turtles nest during the same period at other times during the year. The reality is that there are turtles nesting in varying numbers during every month of the year here in Antigua and Barbuda. The summer months are the busiest.
turtle tracks during nesting season

Read this little piece I did for Antigua's Enjoy Magazine to get an idea about why turtles are being killed by the fairly new Chinese Street Lights and other light pollution here in Antigua:
The sand begins to cool after the sun sets, and the little hawksbills inside have recently broken free from their soft ping pong ball sized eggs. They are getting ready for their first view of the outside world. Digging up to the surface from nearly two feet down, the turtles know that the cooling temperatures mean it is now night and safer to journey to the water in the darkness. As if from a scene taken from the film The Great Escape, the little turtles emerge from their sandy hole and make a dash for the water in the darkness. Amazingly they have some sort pre programmed internal instinct that tells them to go for the brightest thing as they emerge from the nest. The odds of survival are very bad for the little ones and at best, only one in 1000 hatchlings will reach maturity due to all sorts of predators and other threats. Before humans arrived in the Caribbean, the brightest thing on a beach was always the sea lit up by the reflection of millions of stars and often times the moon. Unfortunately these days, artificial lights along the shore often confuse the hatchlings leading them away from the water. Darkwood Beach is a perfect example of harmful lighting to what is actually a good turtle nesting beach. Let your hotel manager or political representative know if you think that lights along your beach are too bright. There are many solutions to this lighting problem which include special bulbs and careful positioning of lights. Turtles almost always hatch at night, but occasionally for one reason or another, a nest may hatch during the day. The artificial lights are just one of many things that can harm the hatchlings. 
Antigua and Barbuda see turtles nesting almost year round with Greens, Leatherbacks and Hawksbills having different seasonal nesting times. The busiest time is from May to November when we see beautiful Hawksbills nesting on our shores. My wife runs a turtle program with the Environmental Awareness Group which aims to study nesting habits on Antigua's main land beaches. Most of the study about turtle nesting here has focused on the now famous Jumby Bay turtles which actually nest on Pasture Bay on Long Island. Anyway, she has found several very important beaches here where large numbers of turtles still nest, and the hope is that the study of our turtles can be expanded so that developments along the shore may be cognizant of how important these beaches are.
We are very lucky here in Antigua and Barbuda to have both resident turtles living and feeding off shore as well as nesting adult turtles which are not necessarily the same thing. For example, historically turtles were killed for food when they came ashore in Bermuda to nest, so there are no adult turtles to be found there now. Instead they have hundreds and hundreds of juvenile turtles feeding and passing through the waters there after hatching from places as far away as Costa Rica. They even tried to move eggs from other countries to be incubated on Bermuda only to find out that 20 years later none returned to lay eggs there. Yes it does take about 20 years for the mommy turtle to reach sexual maturity and despite being very territorial the female hawksbill will travel up to 300 miles to return to the beach from where she hatched to lay eggs. In the case of Bermuda they found out that it wasn’t just where they hatched from, but rather from where they have historically hatched from. It’s more of a geographical genetic marker which is difficult to understand and is still being studied. The mother turtle will lay between 100 and 180 eggs into a nest usually in some sort of beach vegetation before going back into the sea. She will come back in two weeks to nest again and may nest three or four times during the season. As mentioned, shoreline vegetation is very important for hawksbills and like other reptiles, the temperature of a nest can help determine the gender of the hatchlings and a nest that has a good mix of daylight warmth and shade will provide a balanced percentage of little boy and girl turtles.
The little ones who have just hatched must swim non stop for days to pass all the dangers of the inshore predators as well as the predators on the off shore reefs. Their goal is to make it into the Atlantic where they can meet up with the huge currents that sweep past the Caribbean. In those currents, they look for floating clumps of Sargasso weed which are interesting habitats providing both food and protection from predators. It will be a long a treacherous two years before they return to their future homes in the Caribbean.

When the Environmental Awareness Group (EAG) found out that Antigua was being given thousands of street lights by the Chinese government they sprang into action. Mykl Clovis who runs the Antigua Sea Turtle Program for the EAG, wrote a letter carefully explaining what normal regular street lights can do to nesting turtles and their hatchlings. She explained why it happens and gave solutions that are used in the USA and many other places around the world where turtles nest. Things like pointing the lights away from the beach, using different frequency bulbs, turning lights off during nesting times, putting the lights lower and behind beach vegetation. I am told that the letter was sent to the Prime Minister, the Fisheries Ministry, the Antigua Public Utilities Authority, the Environment Division, the Public Works Department, The DCA.... you name it and the letter was sent to them. When the EAG met with Cabinet some time in 2010 before the lights were turned on the issue was brought up again. The Prime Minister admitted that he had seen the letter himself. One of the Ministers was heard saying that nobody is going to tell him to turn off his lights! This was the minister responsible for an area where there are three important nesting beaches. Later that summer when the lights were on baby turtles were run over as they wandered around on the road adjacent to the beach.
Last night a mother turtle that had come up to lay on Jabbawock beach ended up in the middle of the brilliantly lit road. A driver nearly ran it over and pulled off to the side of the road. The lights along the road by the bridge were confusing the endangered species and it ended up falling off the bridge into the swamp. The driver saw it swim further into the swamp and away from the beach. As if things are not difficult enough for these amazing creatures!!!
I would like to see lights out along Jabbawock, Dark Wood Beach, Fryes Beach, Little Fryes, Crab Hill Beach and Turners. Then there is the street lights and sport's complex lights in Old Road. Why are the sports facility's lights left on all night when nobody is playing there? We must have money to burn in this country. There are many other beaches where artificial lights cause problems. These endangered animals are on our passports and our leaders just ignore science and reason and are letting them perish.
The day after I blogged this story, this youtube video was posted in Barbados:

It shows a nesting turtle that had been messed up by lights in exactly the same way that the one from jabbawock beach here did here on the same night.

Friday, July 01, 2011

More evidence and denial about how threatened our fisheries are.

Some people on the street are saying that the people representing our Fisheries Ministry don't have a clear understanding of what the words "sustainable use" mean. I don't totally agree with them as I know there are some very good people working at our Fisheries Ministry. Anyway, according to a definition I pulled from the net:
Sustainability is sometimes known as the capacity to endure. In ecology, the word describes how biological systems remain diverse and productive over time. Long-lived and healthy wetlands and forests are examples of sustainable biological systems. For humans, sustainability is the potential for long-term maintenance of well being, which has environmental, economic, and social dimensions.
With that in mind and after you read my blog from last week (click here) you can clearly see how the there seems to be a problem with the words "sustainable use". Today we see an article published in Antigua's Daily Observer where once again our fisheries department stands firm in their stance that all is well and the fishermen, divers, snorkelers and consumers have it all wrong. Despite all of these parties agreeing that the fish stocks are extremely deminished, our government's fisheries department says there is no shortage at all. Here is the article:

Bad weather and poor catch affect fish supply

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One month into the Atlantic Hurricane season, some fishermen are reporting that bad weather is forcing them to remain on land and as a consequence there is a shortage of fresh fish at the market.
Seasoned fisherman Gerald Price said many of the fishermen have either been passing the time for most of the week playing games or doing repairs to their boats.
“For the first in a long time there is no fish in the market, not even a scale. Housewives are not likely to get fresh fish for the rest of the week going into next week,” Price told The Daily OBSERVER.
It would appear that it is not just the rough seas and high winds which are affecting the catch. According to Dale Henry, a veteran of more than 30 years, there is just not many fish to be caught any more.
“There’s scarcity. We are going further, deeper and the situation remains the same. Since year before the last, we have difficulty in finding fish.”
Henry said he went out this week even though there were 8 to 10-foot swells.
“Occasionally, sometimes, we have a good catch. But 90 per cent of the time we are just covering expenses. We don’t know if it’s climate change or global warming. Our fisheries is not doing so much research. They are just doing a guessing game out there right now,” Henry surmised.
A check with Antigua Fisheries, however, revealed there was no shortage of fish there. General Manager Mavis George was unable to say just how much fish is purchased on a weekly basis from local fishermen, but she indicated there was no lack of fish at the department.
“We are not out of stock, but a lot of boats are down. She said large vessels such as those operated by Andy Roberts, which bring in thousands of pounds of fish are currently not operational.
The problem, she said, is that many people prefer snappers and when they are told there is none, they automatically assume there is no fish.
The conditions for fishing are not likely to improve any time soon. In fact, Meteorologist Orvin Paige said there would be some increased wind conditions across the islands associated with a high-pressure system. This will lead to worsening sea conditions which will make it difficult for fishermen to ply their trade.
He indicated that a tropical wave east of the Windward Islands would bring showers which could move into the vicinity of the Leeward Islands, including Antigua, over the next 24 hours. This will make it difficult for persons over the open waters in terms of visibility.
(More in today’s Daily OBSERVER)