Day 35: The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide To The Caribbean

04.02.09:

Cristal and I hit the streets looking for a way off the island. We even had a half-hour segment on the local radio station. We then spent the rest of the day trying to find a cargo ship – we thought we had found one leaving for Puerto Rico tomorrow. Perfect.

But…

There’s always a ‘but’, isn’t there! US immigration (Puerto Rico is a US dependency) have changed their visa rules and now anyone arriving in a private vessel must have a US Visa (you’re alright on scheduled transport). So it was a big no, no.

I headed back to the Marina on the other side of the island – surely somebody there could help? No. I asked and I pleaded and some people said they would do all they could to help; others just couldn’t care less.

Unlike the other islands, there are loads of people my age on Antigua. They work as crew on the big, big yachts that cost upwards of twenty million pounds. But to get on one of these boats isn’t easy, and at this point, I’d settle for a rowboat.

The sailboats (a better option) were all moored out in the water, so I could just ask from the jetty if anyone was going to St. Martin, the British Virgin Islands or anywhere really.

My sense of panic and despair is rising rapidly. You can only be told ‘no’ so many times before your whole demeanour changes – you find yourself expecting the answer to be no. Where was my Annette? My Wayne? My nice lady from the shipping company to help me out?

Antigua is such a beautiful island. I wanted to be able to enjoy it in the knowledge that I had my passage sorted. But I didn’t, and things were about to take a turn for the worse…

Graham Hughes

Graham Hughes is a British adventurer, presenter, filmmaker and author. He is the only person to have travelled to every country in the world without flying. From 2014 to 2017 he lived off-grid on a private island that he won in a game show, before returning to the UK to campaign for a better future for the generations to come.

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