Antigua Eco Excursion
On Friday, we had booked another tour with Adventures Antigua , called the “Eco Tour”. This boat was a bit bigger than the extreme, but much smoother. It held again about 20 people. The boat had two 250 hp engines with a turbo booster.
This tour began at the cruise docks and headed north to Long Island and then to Hell’s Gate.
Long Island is the only island that has residents on it (of the 22 small islands surrounding it). It is very very exclusive and has a high end resort on it called Jumby Bay. We were told that rooms run $8000-$15,000 per night and are used primarily for celebrities. No we didn’t see Mariah or J Lo. In fact, it looked a bit sleepy.
Mangroves of Antigua
From Long Island, we went to see an island, completely made up of mangrove trees. Mangroves are key to the sea life, as many live in and around their root system for protection. China purchased the island below, but locals protested and insisted the island remain untouched or developed. Supposedly, they have agreed.
From here we went to Rabbit Island and ironically, there are no rabbits on the island, only birds – lots of them! The entire hillside was covered with pelicans.
Hells Gate Island
From here we went to one of the main attractions – Hells Gate Island. This small piece of land is located between the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. It also has a cave that you climb up to and through and come out on the Atlantic side.
Facing the Caribbean side
Down below is where the Atlantic meets the Caribbean. You COULD swim to the other side via an underwater cave…but who would do that?!! Instead, we climbed back up towards the guy in the orange shorts to get on top of the island.
Now on top of the island
The rocks are limestone and extremely jagged. You had to be very careful, finding the perfect “step” and “handle” to climb up into the cave and then go carefully back down. Here’s where you can put one foot on the Atlantic side and the other on the Caribbean side, but the water was gushing so hard, all I wanted to do was get out of there! We then swam back to the boat and off to Bird Island for lunch.
Bird Island Tour
Bird Island has a short hike to the top of the island to give you great vistas. It also is home to the The Antiguan racer (Alsophis antiguae) which is a harmless rear-fanged (opisthoglyphous) grey-brown snake that was until recently found only on Great Bird Island off the coast of Antigua, in the Eastern Caribbean. It is among the rarest snakes in the world. Ironically, one crossed our path on our hike!!
Facing the Atlantic Ocean
Turned around and now this is the Caribbean Sea
We finished the day snorkeling just a few yards away from Bird Island (about where you see that island in the background).
The boat then returned back to the Cruise terminal to drop us all off. It was such a fun day and again, I highly recommend www.adventureantigua.com.
Stay tuned for Part 4, a collection of fun beach photos!