from the LEES FAMILY in
Santa's rest time

Another 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.
Dominica Delivery

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 words.

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.

boat ride 2002

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 zone.

Montserrat - view west from our guesthouse balcony
With 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.
Bongo Baths, Wotten Waven

In 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.
source of hot sulphur springs

Our 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.
Mero heights

On my birthday in mid July, we revisited the Trafalgar Falls before lunching at Papillote, after which we relaxed for a few hours in their hot pools.
Trafalgar Falls, Roseau Valley, Dominica

Our 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.
bathing in the Rosalie River, Newfoundland

After 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 Beach.
dinner at Sunset Bay

With 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.

We 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.
Tesla electric car + Ford hybrid
Our 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.
Scarborough Bluff, Lake Ontario
Toronto is a very modern city and we enjoyed a day downtown walking the streets and appreciating all the wonderful architecture
downtown Toronto
One 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.
Circ Du Soleil
We 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.

In 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
Martinique's west coast

our top deck cottage at Bambou

breakfast at Bambou

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

Santa's little Dominican helpers

Colin & Ivor
Colin with Ivor Feb 11, 2016

Volcano view from our guesthouse
cooling off
Enjoying the guesthouse pool

Bongo Baths, Wotten Waven
mineral pools of varying temperatures

Morne Patates
Dominica's youngest volcano

Mero  heights trail
Mero heights trail

taking a dip

hot pools at Papillote
Papillote hot pools

Mike at work
book launch at Mero Beach

Downtown Toronro



Toronto from the western lakeshore

L'Express-des-Iles catamaran ferry
inter island ferry

market place, Forte de France

Santa lost... or an unshaven Ian CRANE REPORTing from the Australian outback?

Dominica and our Global Environment - home page
An Introduction to Dominica
The Banana Story
The Earth - it's place in the solar system, our gallaxy and the universe
we are cooking our planet!
corporations rule the world
invasions, oil and an assault on our freedoms
Global finance in Dire Straits

last years message