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Caribbean News – Dec 05

ANTIGUA TEAMWORK SAVES DIVERS

Antigua and Barbuda Search and Rescue (ABSAR) and Caribbean Helicopters teamed up with the Antigua Coast Guard to rescue two missing divers after receiving a radio call from a boat located 10 miles northeast of the island on October 1. After spotting the divers, who had drifted a mile from their boat during heavy rain squalls, the helicopter crew dropped a life ring and hovered until they were safely back on board. ABSAR and Caribbean Helicopters plan to perform a demonstration of short haul rescue techniques during the Antigua Marine Expo and Charter Yacht Show, December 7 – 12.

BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS OFFICIALS BREAK GROUND FOR $70 MILLION RESORT AND MARINA

Chief Minister Orlando Smith led a team of government officials and developers in breaking ground on October 14 for the first major resort development for the BVI in 15 years. Scrub Island, one mile from Beef Island, will soon see a five star resort to be constructed by Tampa, Florida-based Mainsail Hotels and the Scrub Island Development Group. 

According to the group’s web site, mailsailbvi.com, the project’s full service marina will have 55-65 slips ranging from 35’ to 150’ and become a Mecca for sport fishermen. The existing Donovan’s Reef restaurant will be expanded.

GALLOWS BAY MEGA YACHT MARINA COMPLEX PROPOSED FOR ST. CROIX

Lt.-Governor Vargrave Richards invited members of the St. Croix business community to Government House on October 4 and unveiled St. Croix-based Crucian Global’s plans to construct a world-class mega yacht complex surrounded by retail and office buildings.

This is the best project to come to St. Croix in 25 years,” said Richards. If approved, a marina at the current cargo dock will accommodate passenger ferries and 40 yachts from 40’ to 250.’ Developers say their fuel will cost 30% less than anywhere else in the Caribbean.

Crucian Global partners are Michael S. Fields, a California-based technology investor and former president of Oracle-USA, and Duane Bobeck, a real estate developer and mega yacht owner with a home on St. Croix.

BARKOW WINS IN BERMUDA

Americans dominated the 2005 Virtual Spectator ISAF Women’s Match Racing World Championship in Bermuda October 15-18 when Midwesterner Sally Barkow, the defending champion, won 3-0, defeating Newport, Rhode Island sailor Betsy Allison.

Set in Hamilton Harbor, just off the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club, the races had a $25,000 purse shared by all twelve competitors.

CHEAPER AIRFARES FOR THE CARIBBEAN?

LIAT, the regional airline owned jointly by the governments of Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Trinidad and Tobago, announced fare reductions of 20% or more in mid-October.

“We have a transformation plan that is both radical and extremely challenging,” said CEO Garry Cullen, announcing plans to increase direct ticket sales via the internet, link personnel pay to productivity, and fly aircraft longer each day. New LIAT fares are as low as $22 one way.

Meanwhile, at the 28th Caribbean Tourism Conference held on St. Thomas from October 22 – 26, Vice President of Sales and Distribution for the low-cost carrier Spirit Airlines Marc Cavaliere announced plans to serve 11 Caribbean destinations within the year from several U.S. cities, declaring that “We are THE low fare airline of the Caribbean and fastest growing airline in the region.”

Spirit launches its first daily service between Fort Lauderdale and St. Thomas December 15 with one-way coach seats priced at $99. Spirit is the largest privately-held airline in the United States, with 125 daily flights nationwide.

TWO CLASSES ADDED TO CULEBRA INTERNATIONAL REGATTA

The second edition of the Culebra International Regatta, taking place March 17 – 19, 2006 will include two new classes, the chalanas or native boats, and Snipes in the Dinghy Regatta.

“These two new classes will add great enthusiasm and quality to the sports event,” said Regatta Director Angel Ayala. Sailing events will be held in waters around Bahia Ensenada and off-shore events at Costa Bonita Hotel in Culebra, Puerto Rico. For information call 787-635-2979 or 787-413-7702.

HEMINGWAY’S BOAT

A technical team of architects, engineers, and museum professionals visited Ernest Hemingway’s Havana, Cuba estate, Finca Vigia, in early September under a special travel license issued by the United States government. Sponsored by the Hemingway Preservation Foundation and the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the group met with Cuban preservation professionals to review the writer’s home, its contents, and his famous fishing boat, Pilar, all deteriorating and urgently in need of repair.

The combined preservation teams assigned the US group to assess the Pilar, which sits on a tennis court at the estate under a damaged weather cover, then produce a repair and maintenance plan. Cuban architects and engineers will study and repair the corrugated roof covering the 38-foot yacht, a 1934 Wheeler Playmate.

To donate funds for repair of the house and boat, visit www.hemingwaypreservationfoundation.org

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