Showing posts with label Nevis. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Nevis. Show all posts

Two Young Adventurers Are Kayaking 2000-Miles Across the Caribbean to Miami

Two American adventurers are in the middle of an epic paddle that will see them travel more than 2000 miles (3218 km) across the Caribbean Sea in a tandem kayak. The journey began back on October 1, but is now nearing completion as the two young men close in on their finish line. 

Dubbed The Golden Arc Expedition by Will McCreadie and George Parry – both 21-years old – the trip began on the island of Grenada and will end when the pair reach Miami, which they hope to do by the end of the month. That will end about two months of island hopping as they've made their way across the Caribbean. Along the way, they have stopped in Nevis, Turks and Caicos, the Dominican Republic, and  Puerto Rico. Currently, they are paddling through the Bahamas on their way to Florida. 

Throughout the course of the journey, McCreadie and Perry have faced some serious challenges. As you might expect, the ocean hasn't always been kind, as the two men have had to deal with high seas and strong winds. They've also suffered dehydration, heat exhaustion, and sleep deprivation, as they have sometimes paddled for as much as 30 hours straight during open ocean crossings. Still, reading their dispatches they remain upbeat and determined to reach the end of their journey on schedule. 

The two men undertook this challenge to raise funds for the Get Exploring Trust, an organization that awards grants to get people outside and pursuing activities that they are passionate about. It encourages people from all kinds of backgrounds to step out of their comfort zone and encourage them to explore the world around us. The grants are not particularly large, but they may cover costs such as purchasing a good pair of hiking boots, paying for an outdoor training course, or transportation to reach a destination. The whole point of GET is to simply help young, adventurous people to go after their dreams. Something that we at The Adventure Blog can obviously get behind. 

As far as this particular adventure, I could think of worse places to kayak through than the Caribbean Sea. Still, having just been there recently myself, I do know how hot it can get under the blazing sun, and kayaking 2000 miles is an impressive accomplishment no matter where it is done. Will and George haven't had to rough it completely however. During their stop over in Nevis for instance, they stayed at the Four Seasons while they recuperated some. We should all be so lucky on our own expeditions. 

Adventures in the Caribbean: Opportunities Abound on Nevis

Yesterday I shared my experiences hiking and biking on Nevis as part of a series of posts based around my recent visit to the Caribbean island, which is extremely accessible both on foot and bike. But those opportunities for adventure were just the tip of the iceberg, as there are still plenty of other things to do there for those who prefer to be a bit more active while visiting this little slice of paradise. In fact, I think you'll find a surprising number of adventurous things to keep you busy.

This being the the Caribbean, both snorkeling and diving are certainly two great choices for keeping you occupied. In fact, the island has a five-star PADI certified dive center located near Oualie Beach, and there are plenty of great spots to hit the water located not far from shore. In fact, their are abundance of dive sites that sit within a 5 mile radius of Nevis, which means it doesn't take long to reach them, and they usually aren't very crowded.

As you would expect, these dive sites offer visitors a chance to spot hundreds of different tropical fish, as well as sea turtles, dolphins, sharks, and other aquatic animals. There are a number of large coral reefs in the region as well, which provides some excellent opportunities to explore those ecosystems as well. There are even several ship wrecks not far off the Nevis coast, which are always interesting and attract a lot of sea creatures as well. One such dive includes a tug boat that is submerged in just 20 feet of water, which makes it very easy to reach and swim around as well.

In addition to good hiking and biking on Nevis, you can also choose to explore the landscapes there on horseback. Travelers can elect to take a ride along historic trails that wander through some of the villages on the island, while passing by the remnants of plantations that date back to the 17th century. And for a romantic end to then day, considering taking a ride on the beach at sunset. The views are spectacular and sublime.

Despite being a small island, Nevis has a lot to offer the outdoor athlete. Running and cycling are two very popular sports, with opportunities to run and ride both on the road and trail. For a good challenge, take on the ring road, which encircles the entire island. It is only 21 miles (33 km) in length, but it features a climb up the infamous Anaconda Hills that will definitely test your legs. And if that is too far, you'll still find plenty of rolling hills in other parts of the county as well, including a really tough ascent on the approach to the Montpelier Plantation Resort.

While I was visiting Nevis the country's annual triathlon was even taking place. This event is a perfect excuse to visit Nevis for endurance athletes, as the race makes up for its lack of a relatively small field by having some excellent triathletes from all over the world enter. This race is billed as the "most beautiful triathlon in the world," and for good reason. The swim takes place in the waters just off shore, while both the bike and running segments take place on roads set right along side the beach. You may suffer some from the heat and humidity, but you won't notice quite so much thanks to the views. And if you're looking for an even bigger challenge than a triathlon, why not try the Nevis to St. Kitts Cross-Channel Swim instead?

For a more relaxed way to explore the island, check out the Funky Monkey Tours, which take travelers to various historic and naturally beautiful sites around the island via 4x4 utes. These tough little off-road vehicles can transition from pavement to dirt without missing a beat, and are a great way to see some of the island's more historic sites, including Hamilton Estate, which was once home to Alexander Hamilton when they lived on Nevis Island.

Some other options for seeking active adventures on Nevis include visiting the island's botanical gardens, drop by Oualie or Pinney's Beach, play around of golf on the local links, or even go drag racing at the St. James Raceway. The point is, there are always plenty of things to see and do on the island, despite its quiet and more subdued nature.

My stay on Nevis was an all-too-brief four days. But in that time, I learned everything I needed to know to want to go back. I personally like the more relaxed atmosphere I found on the island, and the people that live there are incredibly accommodating and welcoming. Of course, I also found plenty to keep me occupied, often being quite active in the morning and more relaxed in the afternoon. If you're the kind of traveler who wants to get away from the hustle and bustle of some of the other places in the Caribbean, but still wants plenty of activities to keep you busy, then Nevis needs to be on your list of places to go. You definitely won't be disappointed.

Adventures in the Caribbean: Hiking and Mountain Biking Nevis

Yesterday I posted the first part in a series of stories I'm writing about my recent visit to the island of Nevis in the Caribbean. That article was meant to serve as an introduction to the place, which is rich in history and culture. If you haven't read that piece already, you may want to take a look at it first before proceeding with this one, as it does provide a bit of context. That said, these stories are also meant to be self-contained so readers can enjoy them without needing too much backstory. So, without further ado, here's a bit more about my recent travels in the vary intriguing country.

When most travelers think about a visit to the Caribbean, they usually conjure up images in their mind of white sandy beaches, relaxing in the warm water, and enjoying fruity beverages in the sun. Of course, you can do all of those things on Nevis too, but there is so much more to see and do there that you'll miss out on a lot of you confine yourself to the lovely beaches alone.

For example, the island actually has a couple of unique and challenging hiking trails. As mentioned in my previous story, one of the most difficult is a tough climb to the top of Nevis Peak, which stands at 3232 feet (985 meters) in height. Remember, you'll be starting at sea essentially sea level, so while the altitude isn't all that serious, the amount of elevation gain can make it tough. There are also some ropes involved in getting to the top, and you'll definitely want to take a guide if you go.

Unfortunately, do to scheduling I wasn't able to make this hike, so instead I trekked another route known locally as the "Source Trail." The path gets its name because it passes through some lush cloud forests on the way to the island's main source of fresh water, located high in the mountains there. Now days, a series of pipes have been installed to carry that water to the towns below, but it wasn't all that long ago that the inhabitants of Nevis had to make this hike daily to fetch fresh water for use around their homes. It remains a popular walking path with visitors and locals alike, and is a good way to stretch your legs.

The trail begins near the Golden Rock resort, first winding its way up through some small villages before passing under the thick jungle canopy. From there, the route covers just a few miles, but takes about 2.5 hours to complete the round-trip, in part because there is a lot of uphill sections that can be both muddy and rocky. Because of this, you'll want to wear a sturdy pair of shoes that can grip the slick surfaces and provide plenty of support. Some of the group of hikers that I joined didn't heed that warning, and were actually forced to turn back midway through the walk.

Since the trail passes through the cloud forest, it can be warm and humid even in the mornings. Bring plenty of water and dress in wicking, quick-drying clothes of help keep you more comfortable. Even then, expect to get sweaty, dirty, and completely soaked through as you march up the trail. A shower will most definitely be in order after you finish this brief, but often intense trek.

Those who do venture up the Source Trail will get a sense of what it was like for the locals to walk to collect fresh water each day. While the hike itself isn't particularly grueling, it is a challenge to keep your footing in certain sections, and it is easy to get dehydrated and overheated as well. The islanders who made this hike in the past often did so without shoes at all, and while carrying heavy jugs of water back to town with them.

Sharp-eyed hikers may spot some of the local vervet monkeys that inhabit the island as well. These primates came over from Africa – via Europe – as pets when Nevis was first colonized. Over the years, some of them escaped, and ended up mating in the jungles. Now, it is to the point that there are probably more monkeys on the island then there are people. For the most part, they scurry away at the sound of humans approaching, but on occasion you could catch a glimpse of them leaping through the trees.

The Source Trail comes to an abrupt end at a relatively nondescript place. We were told that to go any further would be too dangerous, so the group I was hiking with stopped to enjoy some light snacks and water before turning back. The view at the turn around place was a bit obscured by the thick trees, but you could still see through to the shoreline far below. There, the beautiful beaches and stunning waters of the Caribbean looked spectacular, making the hike up worth the effort.

After a few minutes, we turned around to head back down, which in some ways was more difficult than the hike up. The slick rocks, coupled with the sometimes steep trail, meant that you had to be very careful where you put your feet. There were times when I wished I had a pair of trekking poles along for the walk, as they would have come in handy on the descent. Still, it was easy enough to make our way back to our starting point, it just required a bit more diligence to avoid tripping or falling on the obstacles along the way.

While not as challenging as a climb to the summit of Nevis Peak, the Source Trail is nonetheless a good hike with plenty of opportunities to test your legs and lungs, not to mention your balance. If you're looking for a hike to take with friends and family while on the island, it is recommended. And while a guide isn't needed, it is recommended.

Hikers aren't the only ones who will find ways to stretch their legs on Nevis either. Road cyclists and mountain bikers will get the chance as well. The island is very bike-friendly, and it is not uncommon to see riders out on the road. There are even some surprisingly tough hills that can provide a good workout as well. Take for example Anaconda Hill, which leads out of Charlestown on the main highway that circles the entire island. It is long, difficult, and at some points quite steep. If you're looking to do a bit of cycling on a visit there, and want to test your legs, Anaconda will be more than happy to oblige.

I certainly love a good ride on a road bike, but I'm a fan of mountain biking as well, and had the opportunity to spend one of my afternoons there touring the island in that fashion. My guide was none other than Reggie Douglas, a local legend for his cycling prowess. Reggie has competed in triathlons and cycling events all over the world, and is definitely a strong rider.

He and I set out on our afternoon jaunt from a place called Pizza Beach and ended up wandering up and down a variety of both paved and dirt roads, as well as some jeep trails and single track. Along the way, we passed through a number of small towns and villages as wandered past old sugar plantations, churches, cloud forests, and more. For me, it was a great way to explore the history of Nevis, and Reggie was a knowledgeable guide who pointed out many sights to see along the way.

In terms of mountain biking, there was nothing incredibly technical about any of the routes we rode. Just about anyone could climb on a bike and enjoy the paths we rode, with the only real challenge coming in the form of some steep hills and the hot afternoon sun. For the most part, I had few problems keeping up with Reggie, who obviously was doing his best to not drop me on the climbs. But, on the last big section of uphill of the ride I was forced to dismount and push my bike to the top. After a very long day in the warm Caribbean sun, I just didn't have power left in my legs any longer.

But, after cresting the top of the hill, I climbed back on my bike and started the descent down the other side. At this point, we had left the paved roads, villages, and other signs of civilization behind, and we were gliding along in an open meadow lined with cloud forest around us. As we zipped past the trees, some of the vervet monkeys that are common on Nevis were hopping out of the grass and fleeing into the jungle. It was a sublime moment for sure, and one of my favorite memories of any mountain bike ride I've ever taken. Reggie can take you on the same ride as he runs the Nevis Adventure Tours, and can be hired for a tour at just about anytime.

One of the things I love about mountain biking is that it allows you to go places on a bike that are often only accessible on foot. That was certainly the case here, as we wandered through the cloud forest, spotting the remains of old plantations that date back to the 17th century. While riding high in the hills, we could also look down at the beach and the Caribbean Sea. From that vantage point it was beautiful to behold, even when rolling along at a rapid pace.

Once again, if you're going to mountain bike while on Nevis, be sure to bring plenty of water and wear comfortable clothes. You will work up a sweat, and the heat of the day can take its toll on your legs. But, you'll be rewarded with a great ride that provides amazing views and a chance to immerse yourself even deeper into the history of the place. I've always been a big proponent of using cycling as a way to explore a destination, and Nevis is a great example of that.

Unfortunately, my time on Nevis was short and I only had the opportunity to see a fraction of what it has to offer. Still, I was more than impressed with the options for hiking and biking that the island provided. While of course we all enjoy sitting on the beach and being pampered from time to time, most of us also like being active on our escapes. On Nevis, you can do both, and feel very happy and satisfied along the way.

In the next part of the series, I'll explore a few other things that the island has to offer, which go beyond hiking and biking. Stay tuned.

Adventures in the Caribbean: A Visit to Nevis

One of my favorite things about getting to travel regularly is discovering new places and learning about all of the amazing things that they have offer. Such was the case recently when I traveled to the Caribbean island of Nevis, a place that you wouldn't think would be a home for outdoor adventures, but nevertheless has much to offer those looking for a nice blend of active pursuits and relaxation.

This wasn't my first trip to the Caribbean. In fact, quite the contrary. I've been there several times, and have always enjoyed the beautiful water, fantastic landscapes, laid-back atmosphere, and the culture and history. Nevis didn't disappoint in any of those departments for sure, but one of the things that I liked best was that the island was quieter and less "touristy" than some of the other places I've visited in the region. You won't find any massive resorts lining the beaches there, nor are there gigantic cruise ships pulling in on a daily basis, expelling passengers into Charlestown or any of the other villages on the island. Instead, you'll get a unique – more authentic – experience that allows you to explore everything that Nevis has to offer at your pace.

Located in the West Indies of the Caribbean, Nevis sits just across the water from St. Kitts. The two sister islands function as a single country in most regards, although the atmosphere is unique to both places. Covering just 36 square miles (72 sq. km), Nevis is home to roughly 12,000 people, all of whom seem friendly, accommodating and content. Most everyone I met during my brief stay on the island were outgoing, happy to meet visitors from another country, and eager to provide the island's famous hospitality. As much as I enjoyed all of the adventurous activities on the island – which I'll get to in another story – it was the wonderful people of Nevis that left the most lasting impression.

The best way get to Nevis is to first fly into St. Kitts and then grab a water taxi over to the island. That is exactly how I arrived, and it was a great way to sample the scenery of both places, which are bordered to the east by the Atlantic Ocean and on the west by the Caribbean Sea. Taking the boat across from St. Kitts to Nevis took about ten minutes, with some lovely views of the water and the towering landscapes along the way.

Both islands are volcanic in nature, although they have remained dormant for centuries now. Nevis Peak, which stands 985 meters (3232 ft) in height dominates the center of the island and is pretty much never out of view. It is also a popular destination for hikers to go up to the summit, although it does require a fairly good degree of fitness, a sense of adventure, and some rope skills to reach the top. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to make that trek do to timing, but I did take another hike later on that gave me a sense of what it is like to explore Nevis on foot.

It may have been more than 100,000 years since the volcanoes on the island erupted, but that doesn't mean there isn't some geothermal activity at work on Nevis. In fact, there are a few places where fumaroles can be found, and hot springs bubble up in a couple of different locations as well. One of those spots is right in the middle of the capital city of Charlestown, where locals and visitors alike can take a soak in the hot springs, which stay at temperatures ranging from 104ºF (40ºC) to 108ºF (42ºC) at all times. That means you'll want to skip a visit to the Bath Springs during the heat of the day, but it is a great place to relax first thing in the morning or after the sun goes down in the evening.

Although Nevis has been home to indigenous people for more than 2000 years, it was first spotted by Europeans when Christopher Columbus sailed past back in 1493. In the years that followed, it became a popular place for ships from Europe to stop when coming and going from the New World. The island itself was first colonized in 1628 however, kicking off a rich history that included Nevis becoming one of the wealthiest places in the region thanks to the sugar trade. Today, the remains of the sugar plantations can still be found dotted the landscape, and the production of that commodity played an indelible role in how the island developed. If you're going to visit Nevis, it is beneficial to know a bit about that history and how it shaped the first several hundred years of its existence.

Despite its diminutive size, Nevis is making large steps toward protecting the environment. The country has announced that it is attempting to become the first country in the world to be completely carbon neutral, and it is making good progress towards that goal. As you travel about the island you'll find wind and solar farms that are helping to generate power, and it is working on tapping into the geothermal forces beneath the surface to help create even more energy. The hope is to reach the goal of carbon neutrality within the next few years, and the people that spoke to about this initiative seemed focused on making that happen. Not only does it make good economic sense for a place relies heavily on foreign oil, but it is good for the country's environment too. As the erosion of the shoreline becomes an ever more important consideration, and sea levels continue to rise, every effort – big and small – becomes vital to the future of the island.

While visiting Nevis I stayed at the amazing Hermitage Plantation. This boutique hotel mirrors the personality of the rest of the island nicely, being a quiet and charming refuge at the end of the day. The hotel features individual cottages that look like the kind of place Ernest Hemingway would stay on his escapes to the Caribbean. The rooms are very comfortable, unique, and fun, with plenty of space to spread out if you need to. My cabin – the aptly named "Blue House" – featured two stories, a spacious living room and bedroom, four different porches, a kitchenette, hammock, and plenty of outdoor furniture. Isn't any wonder I spent parts of each day while I was there writing on one of those balconies?

Nevis has no shortage of great restaurants to indulge in while you're there either. I'd personally recommend the Golden Rock, Bananas Bistro, and The Gin Trap, although there are plenty of other places to enjoy as well. Obviously, fresh fish is a good choice at any location, although I found plenty of other delectable things to eat as well, including surprisingly good steaks, wonderful burgers and pizza, and of course delicious desserts too.

If my description of Nevis sounds like an island paradise so far, I haven't even gotten to the good stuff just yet. My intention with this article was to set the stage to a degree and introduce readers to the island. Tomorrow, I'll share some stories about the more active adventures that the Caribbean country has to offer. Those outdoor pursuits help to immerse you in the culture and history of the place even  more fully, and are a great way to explore the island. Suffice as to say, there is plenty to see and do and I was lucky enough to get a brief taste while I was there.

I'll be back with more stories about my recent trip to the Caribbean. But in the meantime, you can discover more about Nevis here.

Caribbean Bound - No Updates the Rest of the Week!

I'm leaving the country! That's probably something a lot of American's are saying today. But, I really mean it, and it has nothing to do with the results of last night's election. This trip was already scheduled weeks ago, and I'm about to hit the road for what looks to be the final time this year.

Where am I going this time? I'm headed to the island of Nevis in the Caribbean, where believe it or not I'll by hiking, mountain biking, snorkeling, and taking part in a number of other awesome activities. I'll also be on hand to watch the Nevis Triathlon, which goes down on Saturday, November 12 as well. So, you can imagine that I'm pretty excited for the next few days.

Of course, since I'll be away from Adventure Blog World Headquarters for a few days, chances are you won't see any updates for the remainder of this week, and probably the start of the next. I'm back home to the U.S. on Monday (November 14) and will resume regular updates to the site again after that.

Hopefully you'll have a great weekend ahead with some awesome outdoor adventures of your own. Back soon!