year has whizzed by and again it is time to wish our friends and
family around the globe a wonderful Christmas and best wishes for 2017.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words so I will attempt here to
relay our activities during the past year more with pictures than with
The year began with us arranging some daily care for
our aging friend and neighbour Ivor who, at 85, was preparing to return
home to his family in England for good. The picture below was taken
over 14 yeas ago, when the boys were small and Ivor used to take us for
rides up the west coast in the boat he built. Right is of Colin &
Ivor in Feb, before leaving for the airport.
At 68 I still run my small business Nature Island Destinations
from home, which is OK and flexible as everything is dealt with
through email, so I can organise my work time around farming, family activities
and Mr Fixit duties. Cecily, however, in March this year fully
retired from her roll as MD of Safehaven. This has allowed us more
freedom to enjoy Dominica and to travel.
Our first trip of the year was
to visit the nearby island of Motserrat, much of which was devastated
by a volcanic erruption in the late 90's. Even though it is close to us
the journey necessitated a stopover in Antigua both ways. We stayed at
a lovely guest house on the mid west coast, just north of the exclusion
a population of just 5,000, down from around 13,000 prior to the
erruption, we found the locals very friendly and were pleasantly
surprised at how ordered and law biding they all were. Apart from an
island tour on our first day with the retired deputy head of police, we
got around on foot and by local minibuses.
In May we arranged with a group of friends to spend the day at a newly opened facility in Wotten Waven called Bongo Baths.
the summer we did a few hikes with friends. Rob, an English
volcanologist who only arrived in Dominica this year (left of photo)
took a group of us up the Soufriere hills in the south to the source of
the hot water which feeds the bathing pool down below. From here we had
a great view of Morne Patates, Dominica's youngest volcano.
friend Robinson, a Dominican landscape gardener who lives in London but
is spending increasingly more time in Dominica with a view to moving
back permanently, took us on a hike up the Mero River valley to a small
waterfall hiding behind some huge boulders.
my birthday in mid July, we revisited the Trafalgar Falls before
lunching at Papillote, after which we relaxed for a few hours in their
friends, Peter and Kathy, who relocated to Dominica about 5 years ago,
joined us on several hikes and when their kids and grandkids visited
them in July we invited them to the river one Sunday to picnic and swim.
graduating from university last year, then spending a year getting some
work experience in New York, Michael returned home in early August. With him
for the first 3 weeks was his girlfriend Fran. To celebrate we
took them for dinner at the nearby Sunset Bay Club. Michael has since found
employment with CBN4, a local television news channel. He is seen right
covering a book launch just down the road at Romance Cafe on Mero
the local air service, LIAT, increasing its reputation for
unreliability, we arranged our next overseas trip in late August, to
Canada to visit our son Dominic, via St. Maarten on WinAir from
Canefield Airport, then Westjet to Toronto. Dominic, who this year switched college from Barrie to Toronto, is studying
Electrical Engineering and shares a condo with his girlfriend, Julia,
on the north side of Toronto. Julia is studying to be a legal exec.
The balcony of their condo, on the 28th floor, enjoys a spectacular view north.
were impressed to see eco vehicles being driven in Canada, both Tesla
all electric cars and various makes of hybrid vehicles (electric, but
can also use petrol). This is just the sort of technology we need to
embrace in our ever heating world.
2 weeks stay was pretty full, the weather was just right and we had
many outings. As well as visiting Julia's family in Barrie, which is
about a 2 hour drive north, we had a day at Scarborough Bluff on the
shores of Lake Ontario with 5th passenger Marco the dog.
Toronto is a very modern city and we enjoyed a day downtown walking the streets and appreciating all the wonderful architecture
day we took Cecily to visit her sister in her 44th floor condo on the
shores of Lake Ontario about a 15 minute drive west of the city, before
heading north to Canada's Wonderland, a theme park with every kind of
roller coaster ride you can imagine. On one of our final evenings, we
had the opportunity of attending a live performance of the world
renowned Circ du Soleil, which combines circus performances with
theatre and music.
did have a 1 night stopover in St Maarten on our return home which was
also interesting and enjoyable. By this time, however, my camera
battery had lost its charge so we were unable to take any pics.
November we made the 1hr 45 min ferry trip to Martinique for a
weeks rest and relaxation. We stayed at our favourite spot, the Bambou
Hotel in Anse Mitan, a 15 minute boat ride accross the bay from Forte
de France. The jetty is right by the hotel, which is on the beach, has
a great restaurant, a swimming pool, and where the rooms are in paired
cottages. This time we didn't hire a car but walked into Point de Bous
a few times and spent a day in Forte de France
I've run out of time for now so will post this and may add a little more over the next few days.
Merry Christmas to you all from Colin, Cecily, Michael & Dominic Lees
Colin & Ivor
Bongo Baths, Wotten Waven
Mero heights trail
hot pools at Papillote
Mike at work
L'Express-des-Iles catamaran ferry
market place, Forte de France