Monday, January 30, 2012

Great photos of our Eco Tour from last week here in Antigua.

These photos are taken each day on our Eco Tour by our captain JD. He just uses his I-Phone and puts them on our facebook page. Click here for that page.
These images were from the Eco Tour on Wed January 25th and as you can see the weather made for a lovely trip. Read more about this tour on our website:
This trip is perfect for the family and both young and not so young can enjoy this snorkeling tour out on the water. Text or call from your mobile phone to +1 268 726 6355 or just visit the site above.
We operate most days and pick up from many of the west coast hotels and from the cruise ship dock.
We are also on google+ and twitter.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The People’s Republic of China and Antigua and Barbuda - South-South Cooperation OR a NOT SO Benign Dragon?

I have spent almost a year researching the subject of China’s diplomatic relationship with Antigua and Barbuda (AG) and the environmental consequences of this relationship. The recent heightened interest in this subject in AG has prompted me to write this piece.
Much of China’s interaction with large developing countries, such as within Africa and South America, has been well documented due to China’s huge appetite for natural resources to support their economic growth (Saich, 2011). With the exception of the issue of the ‘One China’ policy and Taiwan, a neglected theme throughout literature has been China’s policy and influence towards small developing nations especially towards small island developing states (SIDS) like AG. The recent increase in the level of Chinese attention in the small island nation of AG has piqued the interest of many. From the perspective of SIDS the implications of this developing diplomatic relationship could not only be extensive but could also be very important for the future of both national and international environmental standing as China appears to not have received much in return so far (Fieser, 2011). This is a concern because AG lacks any natural resources of significance and no country gives financial aid without it being ultimately beneficial to them. The result could be detrimental to AG and there is a fear of SIDS like AG being in a state of perpetual aid dependency.
First I am going to outline the environmental situation of AG as an integral part of the Caribbean and as a nation itself and I will then move to the beginning and subsequent development of AG’s diplomatic relations with China and the resulting impacts on our extremely important and sensitive environmental systems. Finally I will argue that if it were not China's presence in AG and the region, another country would fill it's place. Historically it has been shown that every country providing aid to the region has had their own agenda.
AG and it’s sensitive environment
Since the beginning of colonisation in 1632 by England the twin island state has been plagued with environmental destruction and degradation through the conversion of the natural vegetation into tobacco, cotton and sugar plantations and as a result AG and the Caribbean region as a whole currently maintains only 11.3% of its original biological habitat (Mittermeier et al., 1999). Even with this historical degradation, the Caribbean region and AG in particular have been highlighted in numerous reports and multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs) as having high levels of endemism, high numbers of species per unit area and many regionally important habitats. Therefore as a region the Caribbean “could arguably be considered the highest-priority hotspots of all” (Mittermeier et al.,1999: 53) for biodiversity conservation within any global strategy (GoAB, 2008; Sullivan Sealey and Bustamante, 1999). Further, there is a strong economic dependence on the important linkages between the terrestrial and marine environments (Conway and Lorah, 1995) and conservation should therefore be of high priority within any government agenda.
AG unfortunately has a lack of protected areas and even the areas that are under protection suffer from a major lack of monitoring, regulation and enforcement (Albuquerque and McElroy, 1995). Today the main contributor to AG’s GDP is the tourism sector which again, more often than not, is associated with severe environmental degradation due to unregulated development and lack of monitoring and enforcement by government institutions. There are over forty pieces of legislation in AG that govern different aspects of the environment none of which give the Environment Division any authority. The Environmental Protection and Management Bill has been in draft form since 2003 leaving the Environment Division with no real legal basis to be able to carry out their work. Most of the forty plus pieces of legislation are legislation which “is out-dated and needs to be reassembled and realigned in a more coherent manner, and does not reflect the changes required by the regional and international Conventions to which the country is Party” (GoAB, 2008: 17).
The weak national agenda to protect AG’s environment is in direct contradiction to AG’s strong standing in the international community regarding to its involvement with the majority of multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs). As a small developing country, AG is not only vulnerable to the impacts of global environmental change, but is a minor contributor to these problems. Yet, as a member of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), the Group of 77 and China, and Group of Latin America and Caribbean Countries (GRULAC) among others, AG is at the forefront of many environmental MEAs including climate change negotiations representing the most vulnerable. This position has unfortunately been compromised in the past as a result of financial aid provided by other countries e.g. with Japanese aid and AG’s voting in the International Whaling Commission. If AG can change its position at the IWC as a result of financial aid received from the Government of Japan, it is arguable this could also occur within other international agreements in which a donor country has its own agenda.
AG and China
AG established diplomatic relations with China in 1983, soon after independence from the British Empire in 1981. Over the following decades the economic and political power of China has been ever increasing, as has its interest within the Caribbean region and Latin America. In 2009 trade between China and the Caribbean reached US5.5 billion and China’s foreign direct investment into the Caribbean region reached US8.6 billion (Shooman, 2011). China generally promotes a ‘dollar diplomacy’ throughout the Caribbean and traditionally in exchange these countries which have good diplomatic relations with China, side with China in the ‘One-China’ policy within the UN (Sutter, 2010). Recently there has been a massive increase in Chinese aid in the form of loans and grants, received for developmental projects in AG. All of these projects have been designed by Chinese architects, constructed by Chinese labourers, made of imported Chinese materials and funded by Chinese dollars, which is normal procedure for Chinese aid (Sanders, 2010). The following are the projects that have been funded by China to date (the environmental implications of one of these will be discussed in detail below):
  • Rehabilitation of Big Creek bridge
  • Renovation of Grays Farm gutter drainage
  • Chinese Multipurpose Cultural Centre in Antigua
  • Electrification of KV-69 cable
  • Development of the Free Trade Zone
  • Reconstruction of Darkwood Beach bridge
  • Mount St. John’s Hospital
  • Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Stadium
  • Government to Government scholarships
  • Green Castle Nursery
  • Grays Farm Reservoir
  • Island Wide Street Lighting Project
  • Generators for APUA
  • Chinese Cultural Centre in Barbuda
  • Construction of new airport terminal
Island Wide Street Lighting Project (First Phase)
There have been several major environmental concerns about the implementation of the first phase of the Island Wide Street Lighting Project that have been voiced by environmental activists, NGOs and Government Agencies within AG. The first and most ecologically important implication of the street lights is that they run along many of the most important beaches for turtle nesting in AG, especially for the Critically Endangered Hawksbill and Leatherback Turtles. Direct lighting on or near beaches creates a high risk for nesting turtles and hatchlings as they are naturally attracted to illuminated areas. There have been several documented instances in the last year where baby turtles have been found dead on these roads travelling away from the ocean. Many of the street lights are also placed along mangrove ponds and swamps in which many internationally threatened birds species nest and so could have displacement impacts on these resident and migratory populations.
Apart from the negative implications that the lighting project has and will have on the ecology, the project does not appear to be in line with the newly formed Energy Desk that resides within the Office of the Prime Minister. The Energy Desk, established in the beginning of 2010, is mandated to ensure energy efficiency and develop a National Energy Policy and Sustainable Energy Plan for AG. A Government press release in February 2010, stated that "the National Energy Task Force will play an essential role in advising the Government on prospective energy-related research and development projects and in identifying and championing key activities geared towards increasing energy efficiency and conservation" (GoAB Press Release, 2010). The street lighting project may have been implemented prior to the formation of the Energy Desk but this does not alter the fact that no consultations were carried out with the any of the Government Agencies able to provide environmental advice on either national environmental issues, or obligations and objectives in the international arena. Further to this, China is the “world’s leading manufacturer of solar photovoltaic technology and it vying to take the lead in other critical renewable and low-carbon technologies” (Saich, 2011: 356) and this technology should have been requested as the highest priority. All of this said without even mentioning the current state and upkeep of these lights by APUA plus the fact that this is only the first phase of this project.
The cost of this project to the country in economic and environmental terms is extensive. First and foremost there is the obvious environmental cost of this project: light pollution, the impacting and killing of internationally threatened and endangered species, increase in emissions and other associated environmental power production costs from the amount of electricity needed to power the lights. The economic cost not only comes from the of the upkeep of these lights and the energy cost of running these but also the subsequent burden and cost of changing these lights in the near future to hopefully be in line with the objectives of the “National Energy Policy and Sustainable Energy Plan”. While the rest of the world are turning off their lights and switching more energy efficient means, we are doing the exact opposite.
Let’s hope that within the second phase environmental concerns are taken into consideration prior to implementation to avoid the negative impacts resulting from the first phase.
With great thanks to the work currently being carried out by CaribArena on the APUA generators, it is obvious from their reports that there are many questions to be answered by the GoAB, APUA and Ambassador Shoul regarding this project and many others. Is this technology dumping? Why weren’t renewable or energy efficient technologies requested? Have these projects been through the correct procedure i.e. the tenders board? Why is China so secretive about these bilateral agreements? 
It is apparent that the many of the projects implemented with financing from China do not correlate with national and regional environmental policies. It is therefore essential to implement projects financed by China or other donors, in AG with an integrated approach that falls in line with the policies currently under implementation within each of the government agencies, especially those that have the enormous responsibility of managing our limited natural resources.
South-South Cooperation OR A Benign Dragon?
Many developing countries have looked to China for FDI at a time where investment flows from other countries are declining, especially because China expresses commitment to not attach conditionalities to its loans and investment and also to not interfere in internal governance practices of the recipients (Lintner, 2010; Saich, 2011) as the IMF does. It is therefore essential to question the more recent underlying motives of China within AG and the broader Caribbean region as a whole as we move into a world where natural resources are becoming more scarce and the pressures on emerging economies such as China to combat environmental problems such as climate change are ever increasing. This has been a topic of international discussion since 1987 with Chan (1987: 22, cited in Taylor, 2006: 205) arguing that “the question to be asked is whether ... the Chinese were truly interested in solidarity with the Third World, or whether they were interested or more interested, in securing a position of safety or power ... which, among other things acted to protect China.” China has become a growing partner in the region, becoming a permanent member of the Organisation of American States (OAS) in 2004, a permanent member of the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) in 2005, an observer to the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and a member of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), with a member on the Board of Directors.
As a percentage of GDP the international funding figures (including the vast amounts from China) are extremely high (UN ECLAC, 2010), especially when considering the value of what China is apparently receiving in return i.e. the ‘One-China’ Policy. Professor Terrence Wesley-Smith of the Centre for Pacific Islands Studies at University of Hawaii at Manoa stated that “China is active everywhere on the globe and it’s active everywhere in pursuit of its own interests - for the most part those interests are economic ... It’s in Africa because there are resources; it’s in the Middle East because it needs oil and so on and so forth. There are practical reasons for China to be active all over the world” (cited in Reeves, 2008). Despite this growing activity by China, there has been little to no detailed examination of the discourses emerging around China’s interest in SIDS like AG which have no recognised natural resources of interest (Potter, Barker, Conway and Klak, 2004) beneficial for China’s economic development.
With the current rate of growth of China’s economy, accessing natural resources is a top priority i.e. minerals throughout Africa and even scrap metal out of AG. Africa and many SIDS are therefore ideal partners for not only these resources but also providing markets for China’s low-value manufactured products. Jubany and Poon (2009) argue there is a significant political dimension with financial aid being used as a means to sway governments to vote with China in multilateral bodies. Developing countries provide a large support base for votes at the UN; each country carries one vote no matter how large or small they are.  
If China wasn’t providing financing somebody else would, where by conditionalities for better governance and institutional reform are usually tied to financial aid. China is therefore currently AG’s preferred partner. The evolving diplomatic and now financial relations between AG and China have, to date, been able to give the Government of AG space to manoeuvre at a time where they are financially constrained. This financial aid has allowed Governments of AG and the wider Caribbean region to finance big developmental projects and subsequently create employment for their public, which is essential for retaining political power. As Sir Ronald Sanders argues, this relationship so far has proven beneficial for Caribbean Governments but has not yet proven to be beneficial for AG and the Caribbean region. It is extremely important within an ever globalising world that SIDS need to maintain their autonomy over their natural resources, ensuring that leaders within these states take charge of their future development and allow for healthy ecosystem functions for the future generations.
The agreements between China and AG should be open to the public of AG for scrutiny as the public have a legitimate right to be concerned as to what the GoAB are agreeing to on their behalf.

It should be noted that within this study when referring to ‘China’ the author is speaking of the Government of the People’s Republic of China. Further when referring to AG within the text, this is speaking of the Government of Antigua and Barbuda, unless stated otherwise.

Albuquerque, K. de and McElroy, J.L. (1995). Antigua and Barbuda: A Legacy of Environmental Degradation, Policy Failure, and Coastal Decline. Environmental and Natural Resources Policy and Training Project EPAT/MUCIA, United States Agency for International Development (USAID) July 1995. Supplementary Paper No.5.
Conway, D. and Lorah, P. (1995). Environmental protection policies in Caribbean small islands: some St Lucian examples. Caribbean Geography, 6: 16-27.
Fieser, E. (2011). Why is China investing Billions in the Caribbean? Global Post [online]. Published 22nd April 2011. Available at: <,1>. Accessed 24th May 2011.
GoAB (2008). Demonstrating the Development and Implementation of a Sustainable Island Resource Management Mechanism in a Small Island Developing State (SIRMM). Environment Division, Government of Antigua and Barbuda. UNDP Project Document.
GoAB Press Release (2010). Antigua & Barbuda Establishes National Energy Task Force. Published February 2nd 2010. Available at: <>. Accessed July 15th 2011.
Jubany F. and Poon, D. (2006). Recent Chinese Engagement in Latin America and the Caribbean: A Canadian Perspective. Canadian Foundation for the Americas (FOCAL). Research Report, March 2006.
Linter, B. (2010). The South Pacific: China’s New Frontier. In: A. Brady (ed.) Looking North, Looking South: China, Taiwan, and the South Pacific. Singapore: World Scientific Publishing Company, pp.3-33.
Mittermeier R. et al. (1999). Hotspots: Earth’s Biologically Richest and Most Endangered Terrestrial Ecoregions. Mexico City: CEMEX: Conservation International.
Potter, R. B., Barker, D., Conway D., and Klak, T. (2004). The Contemporary Caribbean. Harlow: Pearson Education Ltd.
Reeves, R. (2008). China Brings Austerity to Laid-Back Rarotonga: Islanders, academics question Chinese motives in Pacific. Pacific Islands Report, Pacific Islands Development Program/East-West Center [online]. Published July 16th 2008. Available at: <>. Accessed August 13th 2011.
Saich, T. (2011). Governance and Politics of China. 3rd ed. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Sanders, R. Sir. (2010). Chinese Take Away? Sir Ronald Sanders [online]. Published November 19th 2010. Available at: <>. Accessed 18th July 2011.
Shooman, J. (2011). Chinese continue to invest in the Caribbean. The Observer on Sunday [online]. Published September 4th 2011. Available at: <> Accessed 19th January 2012.
Sullivan Sealey, K. and Bustamante, G. (1999). Setting Geographic Priorities for Marine Conservation in Latin America and the Caribbean. Arlington, Virginia: The Nature Conservancy.
Sutter, R.G. (2010). Chinese Foreign Relations: Power and Policy since the Cold War. 2nd ed. Plymouth: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Taylor, I. (2006). China and Africa: Engagement and Compromise. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge
United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (UN ECLAC) (2010). Foreign Direct Investment in Latin America and the Caribbean. Briefing Paper. Unit on Investment and Corporation Strategies of the ECLAC Division of Production, Productivity and Management. United Nations: New York and Geneva.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Another great Review on Tripadvisor by a Senior Reviewer

Ottawa, Canada

Senior Reviewer
9 reviews

9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 16, 2012 NEW
We spent a fabulous Friday the 13th on the Xtreme Circumnavigation tour with JD, Trevour and Natalie. Hand down, one of best excursion experiences I have ever had. I don't like big crowds, and the other circumnavigation catamaran cruises would not have been as enjoyable for me.

Other reviewers have detailed the stops - Stingray City, Green Island, Nelson Dockyard, Pillars of Hercules, and Rendezvous Bay. My husband says I have to say that a plus for us was the pick-up and drop off at the resort. The old adage that the "journey" is as much part of the experience as the end destination definitely applies to this tour! The boat ride has to be mentioned as a big "plus" of the day, if you like being on the water - it was a windy day when we were out, and the ride was riot!! (and a little wet!)

The tour was a great way to see some highlights of the beautiful island of Antigua from the water, and the group was small enough so that you could ask the team your questions to learn more about what you were seeing. They were friendly, knowledgeable and fabulous guides. You can tell they are proud of their island and they wanted each and every one of us to come away with a positive impression.

We loved the snorkelling at the Pillars of Hercules - thanks for a great "tour" underwater, Trevour! And Rendezvous Bay (secluded, quiet, untouched!) was a nice contrast to Dickenson Bay where we were staying at Sandals.

A great day out. We won't be soon forgetting this excursion!
  • Visited January 2012 

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Biggest failure of Antiguan politicians IMHO

For the past few days I have been thinking about something I didn't write earlier in the week. In my last blog post I mentioned that during a live chat show where I was a guest, we had a phone call from a minister in government. He's a strong politician who does well in his community. He defended his position in The Ministry of Environment and mentioned several projects that they are working on. I had one question for him when he finished speaking. I asked him that if he became Prime Minister, would he give the incredibly important Fisheries Ministry, The huge and overwhelmingly challenged Ministry of Agriculture, and the equally challenged and important Ministry of Environment to one minister. Of course he now is that minister who has all of these jobs, and I said that if I was elected and was asked to do all of these things all at one time, I would run!
He said that the PM "in his wisdom" felt it necessary to put them together and that since his government was trying to make government smaller, that it wasn't a bad decision. (This didn't answer my question, but it was good enough.) He went on to say that in all of these ministries there were Permanent Secretaries, sometimes two, and sometimes Junior Ministers, and all sorts of technicians to do the work and manage the work to be done. This was a good answer, and it was the kind of thing that has been done for years in government.
The big problem was and still is that in reality things don't quite work that way here in Anitgua. All of the "underlings" working in these ministries answer to him, and he makes decides what happens or doesn't happen. The legislation and the general status quo makes it almost impossible for many of these these highly educated and very proficient career professionals to get things done unless the Minister is in agreement. The buck stops with the Minister, and we have seen time and time again glaring examples where Fisheries and or Envionment officials make decisions which are then ignored or overruled by Ministers at the top.
It's no secret that I have written about many of these examples in my blog over the years, and of course this type of thing has been going on for even longer all across both the ALP and UPP governments. At one point I even said that the government should just close down the Ministry of Envirionment since they have no power to do much good in the current situation.
Ministers need to start trusting their own people. There is no good reason why they shouldn't, but apart from that no one person can or should be expected to make all the decisions across three huge ministries all at the same time.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Why do people put political party before country?

Yesterday I was invited by the Observer Media Group (OMG) to appear on their most popular radio program "Voice of the People" from 12 until 2 pm. The topic was a broad survey of Environmental issues that came up in 2011 and were either dealt with successfully or not. 
As is usually the case with our local media the extremely complex and massive subject of the environment was piled into one conversation, but Julian Rogers who was running the show did a great job of trying to focus on to several narrow themes. 
Dr. Brian Cooper from the EAG and Arika Hill from the government's Environment Division were also guests on the program. 
Of course, Arika Hill works for the government and has to tread carefully around many topics that come up. As the person in charge of education within the ministry of environment, she focused on some of the great work they are doing in trying to spread the Good News of environmental stewardship among the youth of Antigua and Barbuda. We all agree that if the country's youth better understand our rich environmental assets and the ongoing threats that these assets face, they will be better equipped to manage these resources in the future. In fact, one caller even went as far as to say that the older generation is so set in their ways that they are almost incapable of changing for the better. She said that we just need to focus on the kids. 
I don't agree entirely with that and feel that change can happen if the decision and policy makers at the very top start the process or ARE FORCED TO START THE PROCESS. 
Dr. Cooper and I both intimated that the lack of political will was and has always been a major stumbling block. Example after example is there for us all to see where great ideas, speeches, programs, laws, regulations, policies have been brought before the public by politicians, but almost none of these turn into visible action on the ground. I mentioned the NEMMA which has failed to produce any visible change in the Marine Protected Area apart from unmanaged mooring balls for yachts. 
All three of the guests spoke about the Environmental Management Bill (I think that's the proper name for the bit of proposed legislation). This bill was worked on my a huge team of consultants and civil servants for years. Of course this wasn't done for free and plenty of hard earned tax payers money went into the construction of that bill. Dr. Cooper himself said that back in 2003 he had spent considerable time on the bill. The EAG has worked on it with the government as has many others, but it still hasn't been pushed through parliament. Why? Well some of the reason was that there were other bits of legislation which crossed over the bill, but we feel that the main reason that it hasn't been sent to parliament is that it will finally give some teeth to the Environment Divison and to anyone else who cares about environmental protection.... like you and me. Can you imagine that there are critically endangered species which have no legal protection here in Antigua? Madness. Anyway, Julian Rogers did a very good job of extracting a clear picture of how the bill works and why it hasn't gotten its final stamp of approval. 
Several people called in to ask questions and generally we were fairly diplomatic about what we were speaking about. I mean, I didn't say that the leading party were doing a terrible job or spend any time slamming the Minister of Environment, Hilson Baptiste who also is Minister of Agriculture and Minister of Fisheries. Lord knows that it wouldn't be difficult to be very critical of the way Fisheries and the Environment Division has been managed, but I tried to focus on the idea that a shift in the political policy was what was needed. I stressed over and over that Antiguans and Barbudans need to understand the inalienable connection between proper environmental protection and economic survival. Julian asked something along the lines of why i felt that the Leaders of Antigua and Barbuda had not lived up to their promises. I said that as a new Dad who is constantly changing my boy's diapers, I liked the saying which compared diapers and politicians. It suggested you change them both as often as possible.
George Ryan who is a regular caller on the program called in shortly afterward to offer support and encouragement for the panel. He is a highly respected businessman in Antigua and sits on many boards locally. Anyway, he suggested that since I was suggesting that the politicians had dropped the ball and walked away from the game of Environmental protection, that I should offer myself as a candidate. I laughed as I have no interest at the moment in diving into the degree of service and commitment that is required of a political representative. He pushed and said that i would be surprised as how many people would be following me.
I guess this was the straw that broke the camel's back. The next caller was The Minister of Agriculture, Environment, and Fisheries, Hilson Baptiste who was still on the last day of his Christmas holiday. He did a good job of highlighting some of the areas that he and his ministry in the Environment Division were working hard for Antigua. He also pointed out that he was working with the EAG and that he had worked with me when he was Jr. Minister of tourism.
Shortly afterward a few of his party's loyal supporters called in applauding the Minister and his efforts. Blinded by what is actually going on out at sea, along the coastline and on the ground, these political followers support party first and can never see shortcomings. The same callers always seem to call in whenever anyone dares suggest that a better job can be done. This GroupThink mentality is what has ruined empires, political parties, great companies and all sorts of groups. Being critical without suggesting solutions isn't the right way, but not accepting any criticism because you feel that your party of political position is threatened is so much worse. I think to sit by and accept everything without offering suggestions on how things could be done in a better way is unpatriotic. I will always put country before party. It's the patriotic thing to do especially when it comes to conservation and environmentalism.

Friday, January 06, 2012

Some new reviews of our tours just in.

5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 3, 2012 NEW
We took the Adventure Antigua Eco-Tour while on our Caribbean cruise this December. Despite a change in our ship's departure time, they made sure that we made it back to our ship with time to spare.

The tour is excellent - incredibly informative, educational, and most of all, full of great activities in the water. It takes you around the coastline and into the mangroves; it also includes some hiking on Bird's Island and snorkeling. We had the opportunity to climb Hell's Gate, and this is definitely a don't-miss activity even if you don't enjoy heights. When you're on the top of the gate, you can look out and realize that the next piece of land that you will reach is actually Africa which is over 4000 miles away. The crew is very friendly and willing to answer any questions that we had.

Lunch consisted of BBQ chicken, a green salad, pasta, and lots of juice. There was definitely plenty to eat. On the way back, we got to enjoy some great rum punch.

Thanks for the great time! :)
  • Visited December 2011 
Another one:

5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 29, 2011
We took the Xtreme Circumnav Powerboat Tour during our stay at the Verandah in November and it was incredible! The great facts about the history of the island, the beaches, snorkeling at the Pillars of Hercules, the Stingrays!! The tour staff was accommodating, kept the tour moving at a good pace and had great tidbits to share about the history of Antigua. And I don't know if it's been mentioned before, but the lunch they served was DAMN GOOD! Especially the banana bread. Thanks guys (and Nicola) for a wonderful experience!!
  • Visited November 2011 
Another one:

5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 21, 2011
Visited December 2011
We booked this tour independently while traveling on the Queen Elizabeth.
The boat was not crowded and provided plenty of both sun and shade. The trip to Hell's gate was great and the climb across the top something that will be long remembered. Our Hosts were fantastic,they provided plenty of information about conservation and the ecosystem of Antigua. The did some snorkeling but didnt see many fish as on other islands.
The secluded beach at Bird island where we swam and had lunch was very nice. Snorkling lessons to those who were not that comfortable were provided.
This a wonderful tour with great photo stops and a variety of interesting locations and activities along the way plus very educational, plus swimming snorkleing and food. I would say this tour is a must do and would recommend it to all.
  • Visited December 2011

5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 20, 2011
person found this review helpful
We did the Extreme Circumnavigation Powerboat tour during our stop in Antigua. We had a great time and really enjoyed our experience. We enjoyed multiple stops including StingRay city and some downtime in Rendezvous Bay. Eli's staff of Ross, Trevor, and Serge took great care of us and we felt in good hands the entire day. Would definitely recommend and can't wait to go back.
  • Visited December 2011 
Another one:

5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 19, 2011
person found this review helpful
We went on the Eco-Tour with J.D., Trevor & Nicola on December 16th. We couldn't have had a more fun experience, from the wild boat ride (waters were choppier than normal, but it was a lot of fun), to the climb on Hell's Gate, to the hike on Bird Island, the delicious lunch, & great conversations. We were still grinning about it for hours after dinner. We hope to do more tours with Adventure Antigua on our next trip to the island. GREAT value!
  • Visited December 2011 

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

2012 off to a running start

Our season here in Antigua has been fairly slow compared to past ones and it wasn't until a few days before Christmas that things got busy for Adventure Antigua. In fact, busy isn't the best word. IT was manic with tours, charters and half day trips being requested at an incredible rate. Needless to say, we have been very very busy and to make things slightly more exciting, it was very windy.

"The Christmas Winds" were making for choppy seas exciting sailing. As I mentioned in a recent blog post, we damaged our classic yacht.
Picture 550sm
Today the sun slowly approached the horizon from under a much calmer sea and when light finally won it's fight against the darkness, it looked like a perfect day for boating. In fact, the weather forecast on windguru is looking very good for the next seven days. Click here if you need a better explanation on how to use these long term forecasts for Antigua.
June 264 friends and family
Two boats are out again today and our crew is probably excited to see such beautiful power boating weather. Later today, we will have a meeting which is the first one of 2012. We have some new faces and some updated to be made to our now outdated crew list.

Things are looking good for 2012 and we've made some changes to our team and to our operation. More news to come. eli IMG_6186