As a writer and photographer I travel between my life in Toronto, my life in Antigua, and anywhere else my wanderings may take me ... writing my books and enjoying local arts and adventures along the way.

The Antiguan Mongoose

To the best of my knowledge the creature called the Antiguan Mongoose is actually the same species as the Indian Mongoose which is said to have been introduced on sugar plantations here in the late 1800s to get rid of the cane rat. The mongoose has caused the elimination of at least one species in Antigua … and that is the Antiguan Racer snake. However the Racer snake still survives on the offshore islands close to Antigua where the mongoose has been eradicated.

Despite the devastating effect the mongoose has had on Antigua’s ecology I’ve always been fascinated with them. I still remember when as a boy I asked my grandfather whether I could capture a baby one and rear it as a pet. He just laughed and dismissed the question. Born with the curse of persistence I kept asking … determined to get an answer. Finally when I started talking of plans that conceivably could have resulted in me actually capturing one, the grin left his face and he said “those things are VISCIOUS … you can’t tame them”. His fear of the destruction that such a small animal could wreak upon any other creature even close to its size was obvious and unmistakable. I gave up my idea of catching a mongoose from then on … but at the same time every time I saw one thereafter I would stand frozen and watch the creature with speechless reverence for all its mystical powers.

Blood Red Eyes

Blood Red Eyes

There is rarely a time that I don’t have my camera with me and I still occasionally see mongoose. Even now, with stories such as that of a mongoose fighting off a pride of lions the creature is only slightly less magical than it was. Childhood dreams such as mine of raising a pet mongoose … die slowly if at all so still carrying my fascination for the mongoose I vowed to capture a picture of a mongoose whenever I encountered one in Antigua. But after months of trying I hadn’t succeeded. Even approaching one very quickly in a car a mongoose will look at you for only a second and then will be gone. Yet today after doing some exercise on Jabberwock beach I saw one that didn’t move far away. I kept my body turned from it so it would not think I was focusing my attention its way, and then I used the car door to shield it from seeing the actions of my hands … which were busy pulling out my camera and fitting it with the long lens. Finally I captured the Antiguan Mongoose.

Licking its Chops

Licking its Chops

For some real stories of people who kept mongoose as pets (and the neighbors who lost cats and small dogs as a result) view here.

Thoroughbred Horses in Antigua

The Mighty Barbosa

The Mighty Barbosa

The first time I saw one of these thoroughbred horses in Antigua I was on the beach and the horse was being washed in the ocean. It was strong and it’s coat gleamed flawlessly. It was breathtakingly beautiful. At first I made the mistake of thinking that it was typical of the horses on the island, but months of searching for one like it proved me wrong. That horse was unlike any other that I have since seen.  Today however I happened to look out of the corner of my eye while driving past the Antigua race track and I caught the sight of some thoroughbreds being put through their paces. I doubled back and whipped out the camera.

After the Benefit for Haiti in Nelson’s Dockyard, Antigua

People in Antigua and Barbuda came together and raised over a hundred and twenty thousand dollars for donation towards relief efforts for Haiti earthquake victims. For such a tiny country not yet out of the grip of the current global recession, the fact that people here have dug so deeply is gratifying.

After the Fete for Haiti

After the Fete for Haiti

And with the Antigua Lions having donated USD $10, 000 the efforts haven’t stopped there. People continue to give generously of their time and money. Seeing this shirt hanging on my clothesline was for me a symbol that Haiti is still in people’s minds.

Thankful in Antigua


Sunday morning church for the naturalist in you.

Sunday morning church in Antigua ... for the naturalist in you.

Today being Sunday, wherever you drive in Antigua around the town of St. John’s or near any village  you won’t be far from the sounds of church ringing out to you. Listening to those sounds you might hear the voice of a minister, or sometimes the voices of the community that live nearby. And in those church voices, depending on your connection to this place, you might hear “you are part of us, you should be here” … or in those same voices you might hear foreign noises that say nothing at all.

Antigua has without a doubt been stunningly blessed with the simple contentments of coral sand, warm waves, and bright sun. And it is blessed with so many truly friendly people. One day I may go to church to find community too. But today I’ve left the town and passed the villages to come to one of Antigua’s unspoiled beaches where I’ve found one of the most important things that one would hope to ever find in church and that one would hope to be lucky enough to pass on to one’s children. And that is thankfulness.

My First Kitesurfing Lesson in Antigua

After watching local kitesurfing boy wonder Jake Kelsick and his dad Russell kitesurf so many times, it was inevitable that I’d want to try it. Firstly I wanted to try it because it looked like great fun, and secondly because I sometimes feel I’d be letting Antigua’s stunning natural gifts of wind and waves go to waste if I didn’t try the many water sports that the island has to offer.

Game for new adventures though I am, I still had the sense to listen to Russell when he asked that I start with a small kite. Not that there’s any danger of this photographer ending up midway across the island still clutching frantically to a big kite bound towards wherever the direction of the prevailing winds is taking it. Not so. It’s more a matter of possibly being embarrassed by the spectacle of being pulled a little unceremoniously by a big kite that you didn’t learn to control.

But learning the little things was enough for today. Little things like how to unroll the kite, pump it up, fasten the cords, getting instruction on how to control the kite, harnessing up, and how to launch the kite. I look forward to the next lesson and to the day soon when I’ll be out with a kite on the waves.

Benefit for Haiti in Nelson’s Dockyard, Antigua

Joyful to Help Haiti

Joyful to Help Haiti

After the recent devastating earthquake in Haiti a lot of people in Antigua have really felt strongly about wanting to get involved and help. Last night a number of the islands entertainers, restaurants, business people, and other concerned individuals all got together and threw a big benefit for Haiti. The energy of the event was incredible. It was really a rare and special occasion.

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