Tuesday, February 28, 2012

a few photos to warm you up

Quite often I get asked for photos of Antigua by those who are suffering in the middle of cold winters. Thankfully winter is well on it's way and soon spring will be showing signs of it's arrival. There are still many cold days to come though and I figure you could use a nice warm image to help you plan your next holiday to Antigua. Here is one of the Eco Tour guides out doing what they do best....snorkeling:
Snorkeling is a big part of all of our Adventure Antigua tours and we give special attention to those people who have never tried it before. Lessons are done on the beach and on the boat. We almost never have people who can't enjoy a little snorkeling. Another thing people love to do here is spend time on the beach of course. The closest beach to where I live is Jabbawock Beach and it's where I started a kitesurfing school with some friends. One of my oldest friends and long time Adventure Antigua team member is Ty Brodie.

Originally from Antigua, Ty works in New York City at the moment and manages to come and visit quite often. When he's here you will see him giving kitesurfing (kite boarding) lessons on the beach. This was a photo of him posing while he was taking a short stop on the beach in between a nice light wind session. Also joining me on the beach that day were my son Skye and my wife Mykl.

He enjoyed having a swim too! Anyway, I hope these recent photos help ease the effects of the cold and grey that is typical of so many wintery days and nights. See you soon here in the Caribbean! www.adventureantigua.com

Saturday, February 25, 2012

A sailing trip on your Antiguan Holiday in the Caribbean?

This lovely little video was done by one of our recent guests. On this day I had two of the Adventure Antigua Captains running the boat. JD was the captain on this Classic Yacht Tour and Noel was First Mate.

Friday, February 24, 2012

“A Great Day in Antigua”

 This is our latest review on tripadvisor
and we are all liking this one. Thanks!!!

Ernie M
Cleveland, Ohio
5 reviews
4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 21, 2012 NEW
We took the Eco-Tour as an independent tour during our cruise on Serenade Of The Seas. Booking online was easy and you get a discount for doing so. We met at the pre-arranged pick-up spot very near the cruise dock , about a five minute walk, at 9AM. We met Captain JD and his crew Nichola and Natalie who would be our guides for the day. After 2 quick stops to pickup passengers from resorts along the way we headed to the North Sound area of Antigua. We had a stop near Long Island where Nickie told us about the island and the on going turtle project there, then we cruised through the mangroves looking for and seeing a turtle and some starfish. Next up was the highlight of the tour , a stop at Hell's Gate. This is a coral formation that only the Eco-Tour goes to. There we were given choices of going over to Hell's Gate and climbing through the cave and up to the top, just sitting in the natural jacuzzi, snorkeling/swimming in the area, or just hanging out onboard. A very good lunch was served with BBQ chicken, pasta and green salads,plantains and a choice of drinks, water, soda, and fruit juices. After lunch it was off to Bird Island for a little hike up to the top, or a swim at the beach. Last up for the day's activities was the longer snorkel at a nearby reef. At this time of year the North Swells can make snorkeling a challenge , so Natalie took the less experienced and kept them nearer to the boat while Nickie took the more experienced out farther. You could see where the coral is starting to recover from the bad storms over the years and reef fish are becoming more plentiful. It was then time to head back to the dock and the Rum Punch and Banana Bread was served on the ride back.
To address some issues brought up in other reviews - We never felt crowded and everyone had a place to sit if they wanted. This is not a "Booze Cruise" or a snorkeling only excursion so if that's what you're looking for, look elsewhere. This is one of the most unique tours offered on any of the islands that we have cruised to and we look forward to going on the other excursions offered by Adventure Antigua when we return to Antigua.
Visited January 2012

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Adventure Antigua - Eli Fuller's Office on the Caribbean Sea by Tim Cotroneo

Eli Fuller’s office isn’t like yours and mine. One day his workplace is a 32-foot speed boat. Another day it’s a 52-foot catamaran. This 40-year-old native of Antigua conducts business and meets clients on the Caribbean Sea.

Eli Fuller captains his Xtreme speedboat while touring passengers along Antigua’s coastline.

Fuller discovered early on that being indoors wasn’t for him. After graduating from college at Florida Institute of Technology, Fuller tacked a variety of jobs that kept
reminding him what he didn’t want to do. Over the course of a post-college decade working in restaurants and hotels, Fuller kept his sanity and competitive outdoor juices flowing while competing as a world-class wind surfer.
In 1999, Fuller coordinated an agreement with Antigua’s Sunsail Colonna Club to take hotel guests snorkeling on his rustic 21-foot boat. About the same time, Fuller bonded with a friend who was developing a web design business. The moons were starting to align for Fuller as he began combining his twin passions of a life at sea, and anything to do with the Internet.

Fuller and his crew prepare to leave for a six-hour excursion from St. John’s Harbour.

Water and Web

Fuller immediately crafted a website called www.adventureantigua.com and absorbed whatever his friend would share on search engine optimization, link building, and Internet marketing. Fuller’s water adventure business inched forward as he kept his eyes opened, looking for a bigger boat.
Around 2000, “an English lady” suggested that she and Fuller attempt a 50-50 business split, with Fuller operating her 34-foot Wellcraft Super Sport based out of Antigua’s Jolly Harbour. Luckily, this new business arrangement coincided with the demand for boat excursions increasing on the island. The partnership remained fluid for about a year until Fuller eventually purchased the boat outright.
In those early years, Fuller “worked like a dog” to keep his excursion business at full capacity. Fuller felt he was developing a competitive edge, in part, because of a growing response to his content rich website. As much as Fuller enjoyed managing a one boat business, he began scouting for another, even bigger boat, to meet the demand stirred by some of the larger hotels on the island. Financing for this potential purchase would arise from an unlikely source.
“I was telling an English gentleman on one of my excursions that I was considering the purchase of a 52-foot catamaran. After knowing me for just a few hours, he very casually offered to lend me $195,000,” Fuller said.

Adventure Antigua has operated as an excursion business since 1999.

Only as Good as Your Team

As important as his boats are, Fuller noted that a boating business is only as good as the people who work for you. Eli’s Mom and sister handle the administrative side of his company, while many of his crew members are people he has known since childhood. The common denominator for all of Fuller’s Adventure Antigua hires is that each individual has a passion for sailing or an overall love of being on the water.
As for dealing with customers, Adventure Antigua is committed to keeping it real. “I believe in treating people like a best friend visiting here on a special holiday. People can
tell when you’re being corny or scripted. My goal is for Adventure Antigua to make a connection with our customers. We believe our tours offer tremendous value. That’s how you develop a good word of mouth and referral business,” Fuller said.

Eli Fuller’s business goal is to make each excursion a memorable experience for his passengers.

Instant Feedback

Value is also about giving customers more than what they bargained for. During the course of a six-hour Xtreme tour, customers snorkel twice, view dozens of dreamy oceanfront hotels, have lunch on a pristine beach, see the mega-yachts at Falmouth Harbour, swim with stingrays, and catch glimpses of celebrity homes like those belonging to Eric Clapton and Georgio Armani. Throughout a day skittering along the Caribbean’s turquoise water, Fuller regales guests with stories of Antigua history, geography, and shipwrecks.
Being an entrepreneur in an era where you are only as good as your last customer is something not lost on Fuller. “With today’s Internet, gone are the days when you can get by running a mediocre business. With Trip Advisor, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter, we receive instant feedback over the web regarding our tours. If a customer has had anything other than an exceptional experience, you hear about it,” Fuller said. Early on, Fuller snared “Antigua” as his Twitter handle, and he stays connected with followers on a daily basis.
When one’s office is on the Caribbean Sea, it’s important to anticipate the next big wave. Whether he’s navigating passengers along Antigua’s coastline or researching the latest in Internet technology, Eli Fuller is one happy entrepreneur, as long as he’s not too far from the water.

Tim Cotroneo is a freelance writer from Lino Lakes, MN, with a passion for travel and a future Caribbean zip code. www.timcotroneo.com

Saturday, February 18, 2012

The Adventure Antigua Team

Adventure Antigua has needed an updated crew blog for some time. Many of the old team have moved on to bigger and better things with skills they gleaned with our team and today we are proud to have another excellent fresh team who have been getting nothing but excellent, rave reviews on Tripadvisor and other online sites.
I am still here of course and in case you are new to Adventure Antigua, I (eli fuller) started this company using a small open, locally built boat back in 1999. I took a max of four people a day out on a tour i called "the eco tour". The tour is carefully designed to replicate adventures that I got up to with my siblings and cousins in the North Sound of Antigua. That's me on the far left sometime back in the very early 80s.
dad, eli, ali, & nell

Also shown in the image above and in a better one below is Nell Fuller, my sister, and the person who maintains a link between the hotels and our company. Nell has been with Adventure Antigua for years and years and know the internal mechanics of it better than anyone. It's not always easy getting info about our tours to the guests that visit Antigua and Nell's job is a very challenging one indeed. She also takes most of our bookings that come in over the phone. She answers the phone 24 hours a day!

Also involved in working with the hotels but more involved with working with guests before they actually get to Antigua is Julia Fuller, my sister in law. Julia answers most of the hundreds of emails we get each week and spends quite a bit of time behind the computer as you can imagine. It's been a while since I have seen her on the boat actually (makes note). Here you see her with her son and my nephew, Alexander Jr., a third generation North Sound Fuller kid.

Also not getting on the boats nearly enough is the person who really keeps the business glued together. My mom, Jill Fuller, runs the office side of things. Thank goodness because I am not nearly as good as she is at keeping track of everything that is going on behind the scenes. She is one of those people who finds a few more hours in each day and when she's not working for us she manages to find time to do councelling. Read more about that part of her career here. She also finds time to be an artist too!! See some of her work here.  

Another family member who is part of the team is Ross Bloomfield, my (slightly) younger cousin. Ross was born in Antigua and grew up on Dutchmans Bay like the rest of us had done and spent his time as a youngster exploring all the islands and reefs of the North Sound. Like most of my team, he is more at home on the beach and in the sea and on land. He spent quite a bit of time in the UK going to school and then came back a few years ago with a Yacht Masters under his belt. He is a great captain and a natural guide showing people his beautiful home out on the water.


Another skipper on the team is Captain JD Hall. JD is a veteran Adventure Antigua hero like Ross spends most of his free time out on the water. I mean, you know you are in the right type of work when you go boating on your day off and that is what you do when you work! His family has a long tradition of going to sea here in Antigua and I don't think there has been a fishing tournament at any time over the past 40 years when one of the Halls wasn't taking home a trophy. They all learn about boating as kids and JD is probably one of the best at it. He's comfortable at the helm of either a powerboat or a sailing vessel.

Another Adventure Antigua veteran and one of my oldest friends is Trevor Erskine. Trevor and I spent quite a bit of time racing against each other during windsurfing competitions both here in Antigua and internationally. Trevor is another person who is at home on the water. That being said, you will also see him on land wherever there is a good cricket match going on. Until recently he spent most summers in the UK playing county cricket. On the pitch he's an all rounder scoring sixes and fours with ease and then later will be smashing wickets with fierce bowling. He now plays with the Stingray City gang for Seatons here in Antigua.
He has worked in the hospitality industry for over 20 years and is the perfect tour guide while you are visiting Antigua. We are lucky to have him with us in our team because just like when he's playing cricket, Trevor is an all rounder on the tours as well. 

Nicola Nash joined the team a few years ago and we are so lucky that she did. Nicola is our main Eco and marine biology aficionado. She has represented Adventure Antigua at a recent Whale Watching conference in Panama, sits on the Environmental Awareness Group as a board member, spends heaps of time volunteering at night for the Turtle Project here in Antigua, and is always there to help when there are any eco type things going on. She loves nothing more than snorkeling and being in the water though. Her favorite thing in the world is the octopus, but she's passionate about all the other marine and terrestrial animals. She is our main Eco Tour guide and is perfect for the job as you can imagine. Originally from the USA, she lives full time here on island now.

The other lady team member working on the boats full time is Natalie Fuchs. Natalie also grew up spending most of her time in the North Sound. I remember seeing her take some of her first steps on the beach where I grew up. Dutchmans Bay was where her Dad and I windsurfed most days and Natalie was often there with her brother and her mom. She is an extremely talented and artistic makeup artist and cosmetologist but after quite a bit of perseverance we managed to get her to join the team. She is a natural tour guide on our tours because like JD, Ross and I, she grew up doing this. Showing people the beautiful aspects of our off shore islands, secluded bays and interesting reefs is something that she has done all of her life and you can see her passion when you are on the tour. This kind of "work" is fun for her!  


Jourdain Smith also joined the Adventure Antigua team recently and has shown to be very dedicated. Jourdain was working with the luxury Galley Bay Resort but wanted to be on the water more. He would see us passing the hotel each day and after getting powerboat course under his belt he approached us about being part of our group. We were happy to have him and like the rest of our team, Jourdain can be found on the water when he's having a day off. He owns a small powerboat which he goes fishing and snorkeling from whenever he gets time off work.

Noel Dubery is the newest member of the team. I first met him when I was general manager of the sports center in Jolly Harbour way back in 1998. He was a 15 year old kid who spent all his free time on the beach or out boating. When he was 17 he got a good job working as first mate with one of the premier private charter boat companies. It didn't take long before he was skippering and within a short time he was traveling with the owner to work with their day charter operation in Italy during the summers. Within no time he learned fluent Italian. After a few years he went on to work with the St. James club and ran many of their boats but the was the main skipper for Suzie Q, their sport fishing boat. Deep sea fishing is Noel's favorite thing to do and he is an excellent fisherman and boat skipper. Recently the St. James Club decided to get out of sport fishing charters and Noel parted with them to do some marine mechanic courses. We convinced him to come and be part of our organization and Noel is currently working in various positions within our company. He is as comfortable driving the boat as he is snorkeling or guiding. He is a great all rounder and we are delighted to have him with the company.

Itano Bachelor is working part time with us at the moment as he has started a little company of his own. I first met him when he worked at Sunsail's resort on the island here. He is a sailing lover and is an excellent tour guide. He worked full time with us for a few years and is now a great person to call on when we need an extra hand.

Of course there are many others who help to make it possible for us to provide what we feel are the best tours on offer here in Antigua. Thanks to you all!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Great reviews of our Adventure Antigua Eco Tour and Xtreme Circumnav trips

We have had some great reviews come in recently on Tripadvisor. Thanks to those of you who took time . Check them out here:

Baltimore, Maryland

4 reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 15, 2012 NEW
If you want local knowledge, great photo ops, a little adventure, a great boat ride, and great Caribbean food, all while being surrounded by absolute beauty than do this tour. The staff is fantastic, the gear is in great shape and everything about this tour is first class. In over 20 years of cruising this is the only tour my wife and I have done twice. Thanks Eli and Natalie!
Visited February 2012
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Nancy E
Chicago, Illinois
2 reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 13, 2012 NEW
Spent the day with Eli Fuller on his Extreme tour of Antigua. Swam with the stingrays, snorkeled, explored a bunch of different beaches, saw Nelson's Boatyard, etc. And had a blast bouncing on the waves on the Atlantic side of the island. Everyone in our group, ages 14 - 60, had a great day! This is a fabulous tour!
Visited February 2012
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.


20 reviews

72 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 12, 2012 NEW
If you want a tremendous way to experience Antigua on the water, look no further than Adventure Antigua. Last week my wife and I had the pleasure of joining Eli Fuller and his crew on his Xtreme Tour. During our 6 hour tour -we snorkeled twice and stopped at two deserted beaches. The first beach (Green Island) was right out of romance novel. On one side were kite surfers who provided great photo opportunities. On the other side we had a wonderful lunch on the beach. The second beach was later in the afternoon. Again, very isolated and very picturesque. The highlight was finding some cows that mystically appeared on one end. On the other end were a couple of topless bathers that I appreciated, but my wife not so much. :) We cruised into Falmouth Harbour and checked out the luxury mega-yachts. We also spent time in Sting Ray City. We viewed the homes of Eric Clapton and Georgio Armani. Eli and his crew really know the history, the geography, and the secret niches of the island. This trip is an excellent value. We had the pleasure of enjoying out trip with a group from Montana who were aboard one of the cruise ships. They were a lot of fun and a lot of laughs. We were fortunate that the water was a special shade of blue on the day of our trip. Thank you.
Visited February 2012
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3 reviews

5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 11, 2012 NEW
person found this review helpful
Reservation made via the Verandah Resort. Picked up by taxi with four other guests for the drive to the North Coast, where the boat picked us up at the beach next to the Sandal's resort. Seeing two enormous catamarans coming to the beach at the same time was impressive. We had to wade through the water to climb on board. The crew was enormously helpful taking shoes and bags, and in general helping people up the ladders. The group was small, 17 people total, and we could freely move around. The trip was quite interesting with lots of info about the turtle project on Long Island (and no, Oprah does not own a house there), the mangroves, the Sahara dust hanging over the main island. I would highly recommend Eli's website with tons of information and links! The brown pelicans on Great Bird Island, the quick hike uphill, the snorkeling, Hell's Gate, more snorkeling and the most fabulous BBQ chicken I ever had. You have a great neighbor, Eli, if she still makes the chicken. And great t-shirts - love the logo! The only down point was that we had to wait 20 minutes in the blazing sun for our taxi to take us back to the Verandah. And I also would suggest to have maps on board. So many offshore islands. I had to go to Google Earth to try to retrace our steps, which was fun too. Thanks Nikki, Noel and captain. Great trip!

Visited February 2012
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1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 8, 2012
We took the Circumnavigation tour on January 10, 2012. Ross was our captain and Trevor and Natalie were our crew. They were very accommodating and so knowledgable about their beautiful island. Our day was perfect, weather was great even with a small rain shower, lunch was delicious on Green Island, snorkeling at the Pillars of Hercules was fantastic! Really, we can't say enough! We hope to bring our family back to Antigua someday and we will absolutely be taking another tour with Adventure Antigua! We are thinking Eco-Tour next time! Thank you for a memorable day!
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