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Dominica Post Hurricane Maria Update

Dominica Post Hurricane Maria Update

ROSEAU, DOMINICA (October 18, 2017) — Dominica was severely impacted by category 5 Hurricane Maria on September 18, 2017. Assessment of the country’s infrastructure, including roads, bridges and sites and attractions continues.  Updated information from daily press briefings are accessible at http://www.opm.gov.dm/. Following is an update on island services:

Current Status
Dominica has classified this new period post Maria as one of relief, recovery and rebuilding.  The positive news is that many areas, communities and families are now moving from the relief phase to recovery. Restoration and repair of some services has begun. The Government led rebuilding phase will focus on incorporating best practices that ensure Dominica will be better able to withstand future acts of nature.

– Main roadways have been cleared and damage is still being assessed.
– Over 275 tons of food and 45,000 gallons of water have been distributed to over 93 communities.
– All banks, some businesses and government offices are now open for business in the city.
– The Ministry of Education is working to have 23 schools reopened by October 17, 2017. Many schools will reopen in in their original buildings, while others will operate on a shift system or in an alternate location.

Travel
– Most roads are safe for driving and motorists are advised to proceed with caution in certain areas.
– LIAT Airlines and Seaborne have resumed commercial flights to Dominica and are operating at a limited capacity.
– Seaborne Airlines began commercial flights to/from Dominica on October 11, 2017. Flights depart San Juan, Puerto Rico at 12:45 pm and depart Dominica 3:00 pm daily. For additional details, visithttps://www.seaborneairlines.com/
– LIAT Airlines will operate commercial flights as follows:

  • Return flight to Antigua (LI624) will operate on Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday departing Antigua  at 11:30am and  Dominica at 1:10pm;
  • Return flight to Barbados (LI601) will operate on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday departing Barbados at 10am and Dominica at noon.

This schedule will run until November 7th when the airline will update its schedule.

For additional details, visit http://www.liat.com/ or call the Call Centre at 1-888-844-5428

– L’Express des Iles ferry service is operating to Guadeloupe, Martinique and St. Lucia from the Roseau Ferry Terminal.  The ferry travels the Martinique /St Lucia route on Mondays Wednesdays and Fridays departing Dominica at 10:30 am and on Saturdays at 3 pm.  Service to Guadeloupe from Dominica is at 11:30 am on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays and at 09:15 am on Saturdays.  For additional information, please visit http://www.express-des-iles.com/index.cfm?lng=en.

Accommodation
– Prior to Hurricane Maria, Discover Dominica Authority (DDA) had on record of seventy-three (73) properties / nine hundred and nine (909) guest rooms. As of October 17, 2017, sixty-four (64) of these properties have been reassessed for hurricane damage.  Assessments show that thirty-two (32) properties are moderately damaged and able to operate now or in the near future.
– Twenty seven (27) properties have been severely damaged or destroyed, with serious to total destruction of structures including roofs, electrical and plumbing. Wi-Fi  is not available in most cases.

  • The properties that suffered moderate damage account for fifty one percent (51.4%) of the total room stock or four hundred and sixty-seven (467) guestrooms.

Tourist Activity
– Most natural sites have been assessed.  Access roads to these sites have been damaged and consequently tourist sites and natural attractions are currently closed until repair work is complete.
– Overall 35% of reefs at dive sites were damaged, particularly  sponges and softer corals above 45 feet. Currently all nine dive operators are closed for business and most will not be operational before January 2018. Upon resumption the number of dives per day will be reduced to ease the strain on the fragile reefs.  Kindly check in with your dive shop for more details.

Utilities
– The Dominica Water and Sewage Company (DOWASCO) has restored drinking water supply to 55% of its network and work is ongoing to restore pipe borne water to other communities.
– The Dominica Electricity Services (DOMLEC) has restored electricity to parts of the capital city Roseau, Portsmouth and are continuing restoration of electricity to other communities.
– Mobile phone service providers FLOW and Digicel have restored access to their mobile networks to a number of communities.  FLOW has restored 21 of its 49 mobile sites and land line phone service has been restored to parts of Roseau, Canefield, St. Joseph, Portsmouth, Morne Daniel, Mahaut and Pond Cassee.  Digicel has restored mobile service to communities in the north, south and west as well as Roseau, Portsmouth and environs.

Relief Operations
– Relief efforts are being coordinated by the Office of the Prime Minister through the Emergency Organizing Committee.

Detailed information on relief operations can be found at www.opm.gov.dm.

While some of our accommodations and sites have been damaged by hurricane Maria, our welcoming spirit has not been deterred. Many within the hospitality sector have regrouped and welcome voluntourism visitors.  If you are interested in such a visit to Dominica kindly contact our office.

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Farmstead experience on Blue Hen Farm in Lanark County, Ontario

After the four and a half hour drive from downtown Toronto we arrived at the Blue Hen Farm.  Right at the turn we saw an old cupboard filled with jars of homemade preserves and a sign “Honk for Service”…  And we saw the farmhouse in the opening between trees.

Farmers Jeff and Leslie greeted us and as we entered the house we were amazed by the old fashioned setting of the rooms – furniture, chandelier and even the old upright piano that produced some wonderful melodies after our evening meals…

Executive Chef, Costas preparing dinner for Farmstead Blue Hen Farm in Lanark County

 

Leslie and Jeff used to live in Ottawa and have jobs as many of us do… The idea of farming came up after some changes in jobs and also as a result of research of the food industry, commercial farming and agriculture.

Executive Chef Costas

Later, after getting settled in our rooms we headed down for dinner made by Chef Kostas who came out to tell us about the ingredients he used in his cooking, the dinner was amazing and filling.

As farmers do every day after dinner, we went into the barnyard to help with evening chores.

 

 

We found all the work surprisingly entertaining; we unloaded some 20 stacks of straw that will be used as bedding for the animals, fed the calves and pigs, brought the sheep and goats back to the barn and herded the chickens into their coop.

Farmstead Blue Hen Farm in Lanark County

There was a special place where hens lay eggs, so we picked our breakfast! The eggs were dark and light brown, white and even light blue…

Once the chores were done, tired we went to our bedrooms; may be the mattresses were so comfortable or the day was long – falling asleep was no problem at all.

Farmstead Blue Hen Farm in Lanark County
Farmstead Blue Hen Farm in Lanark County
Farmstead Blue Hen Farm in Lanark County

In the morning we woke up around half past six to the mouthwatering smell of bacon and eggs…

Breakfast during Farmstead Blue Hen Farm in Lanark County

And after breakfast we went to the yard to do morning chores which repeats the evening in the back order – letting the sheep and chickens out,  showering and feeding pigs… and saying hello to all of the farm animals.

Farmstead Blue Hen Farm in Lanark County
Evening chores during Farmstead Blue Hen Farm in Lanark County
Farmstead Blue Hen Farm in Lanark County
Farmstead Blue Hen Farm in Lanark County

 

The goats are very young and new to the farm and don’t know the barn yard, so they we carried to the pasture  like babies!

Calf is sucking a finger, Farmstead Blue Hen Farm in Lanark County

Although all of the chores seem like quite a lot to do, they were our favourite part of the day. We also found that doing chores and waking up that early in the morning was very refreshing which was useful since we had a long day ahead of us. We found all of the animals so cute… and especially the three kittens that roam around the barnyard. There are also two dogs that help farmers by guarding  the barn yard from foxes and other invaders.

Leslie and Jeff ask that visitors do not  bring or wear any fragrances on the farm including mosquito spray, however they do supply their own free of charge so that you do not get bitten by pesky flies.  Leslie makes her own natural soap – I found it very smooth and took a little piece home as a souvenir. Around the house we also found natural fragrances, bug spray and soap – all handmade from natural ingredients that smell like summer fields…

Their mission statement is free range thinking, meaning all of the animals are free to roam the field and raised with no antibiotics or chemical supplements at all. “Being a novice in such a tedious business as farming should be challenging for city folks” – I asked… yes, and they learn every day.

We also had a chance to learn – about how to feed pigs and chickens and how to take care of sheep and goats;  we would join Leslie to let the animals out of the barn with the first rays of sun and get them all back in the evening…

For us it was just two days – but these days were filled with smiles and laughter, delicious homemade meals and that feeling of love and happiness…

After Dinner Chat

We took a lot of pictures that will remind us about this wonderful place and people that are so enthusiastic about  what they do.  Thank you Jeff and Leslie for teaching us some very basic skills that we miss in our city life!

So, time to leave The Blue Hen Farm… I think I  saw tears in some eyes…, we hope to come again.

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Exploring Waterloo Region – Bingeman’s Big Splash

After lunch at the (nearby) Boston Pizza, we came in to the Bingeman’s Big Splash. After changing into our bathing suits we stepped out on to the deck exited about all of the slides that awaited us. They had many slides to choose from and better yet, the height restrictions are very reasonable so that everyone can go (most of the required heights are around forty inches). My personal favourite slide was the Cyclone.

Entertainment Area in Bingman’s Splash Park, 425 Bingeman’s Centre Drive, Kitchener, Ontario

Over all, the park quite fairly spread out which makes it feel like there is less of a crowd, there also is a big wave pool

Entertainment Area in Bingman’s Splash Park, 425 Bingeman’s Centre Drive, Kitchener, Ontario

which has a shallow end

Entertainment Area in Bingman’s Splash Park, 425 Bingeman’s Centre Drive, Kitchener, Ontario

and a deep end however the tubes have to be rented for five dollars each and Cabana rentals are also available, another thing to note is that most of the rides are one person at a time, however there are a couple that two people can ride on at the same time.

Entertainment Area in Bingman’s Splash Park, 425 Bingeman’s Centre Drive, Kitchener, Ontario

We highly recommend that you try it out especially if traveling with young ones.

Entertainment Area in Bingman’s Splash Park, 425 Bingeman’s Centre Drive, Kitchener, Ontario
Entertainment Area in Bingman’s Splash Park, 425 Bingeman’s Centre Drive, Kitchener, Ontario
Entertainment Area in Bingman’s Splash Park, 425 Bingeman’s Centre Drive, Kitchener, Ontario
Entertainment Area in Bingman’s Splash Park, 425 Bingeman’s Centre Drive, Kitchener, Ontario

Overall it is the most fun water park in the region.

By Jonathan K.

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Exploring Waterloo Region – Bingeman's Big Splash

After lunch at the (nearby) Boston Pizza, we came in to the Bingeman’s Big Splash. After changing into our bathing suits we stepped out on to the deck exited about all of the slides that awaited us. They had many slides to choose from and better yet, the height restrictions are very reasonable so that everyone can go (most of the required heights are around forty inches). My personal favourite slide was the Cyclone.

Entertainment Area in Bingman’s Splash Park, 425 Bingeman’s Centre Drive, Kitchener, Ontario

Over all, the park quite fairly spread out which makes it feel like there is less of a crowd, there also is a big wave pool

Entertainment Area in Bingman’s Splash Park, 425 Bingeman’s Centre Drive, Kitchener, Ontario

which has a shallow end

Entertainment Area in Bingman’s Splash Park, 425 Bingeman’s Centre Drive, Kitchener, Ontario

and a deep end however the tubes have to be rented for five dollars each and Cabana rentals are also available, another thing to note is that most of the rides are one person at a time, however there are a couple that two people can ride on at the same time.

Entertainment Area in Bingman’s Splash Park, 425 Bingeman’s Centre Drive, Kitchener, Ontario

We highly recommend that you try it out especially if traveling with young ones.

Entertainment Area in Bingman’s Splash Park, 425 Bingeman’s Centre Drive, Kitchener, Ontario
Entertainment Area in Bingman’s Splash Park, 425 Bingeman’s Centre Drive, Kitchener, Ontario
Entertainment Area in Bingman’s Splash Park, 425 Bingeman’s Centre Drive, Kitchener, Ontario
Entertainment Area in Bingman’s Splash Park, 425 Bingeman’s Centre Drive, Kitchener, Ontario

Overall it is the most fun water park in the region.

By Jonathan K.

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Needle Felting with Peg Learn in Ottawa Valley

Felting with Peg Learn in the Ottawa region

Needle Felting  with Peg Learn

After spending the day in Almonte, we arrived at the Blue Hen farm for a felting workshop presented by Peg Learn ( Learn Creations). She greeted us with a big smile, hand holding a large red dragon made from felt pieces … Surprisingly felting is much easier than it may look; everyone was given a felting needle, a foam pad and of course some colourful wool. Since we are the beginners Peg suggested that each of us make a simple Halloween pumpkin. The process is started by taking wool strands and using the needle to compress the wool together by poking it and combining into a ball. The pad is used to rest the material while using the needle. It was quite entertaining and after we got the pumpkin form down we started customizing our pumpkins in different ways. I put a French mustache on my pumpkin while others placed eyes, and/or smiles..

Peg Learn

It was very fun and informative and we highly recommend it as something to do while in the area. Peg also told us about her experiences in felting competitions where the winner receives many pounds of felt, which means a LOT  of felting fun! And according to Peg ” It is the most fun when you can have stabbing something repeatedly and legally” … It was a great eye opening experience that made something that appeared hard quite easy to learn.

If you wish to learn felting and have really fun workshop with Peg, her contact is: www.facebook.com/learncreations.

By Jonathan K.

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Recharge time in Northhumberland!

With Brian, our first destination was “Victoria Inn” at Gores Landing on Rice lake (about 120km drive on 401 East from Toronto)Victoria Inn on Rice LakeOn thLobby Area of Victoria Inn on Rice Lakee front lawn of Victoria Inn we met Mike McNaught, instructor and local fishing guide. First he taught us how to make the fly, then tying fly and casting. Mike with sophisticated tools explained to us sourcing and tools for good fly fishing all step by step.

After hearty lunch at Victoria Inn we drove to  Port Hope Area  and meet our new friends who joined us for the short 2km hike in Ganaraska Hiking Trail. A bit about this trail… The Ganaraska Hiking Trail begins in Port Hope along the Ganaraska River and eventually connects to the Bruce Trail near Glen Huron, after expansion to Midland and Wasaga Beach trail becomes about 500km long. We didn’t hike all the route, just a small portion, about 2km…actually, the rainy weather shortened our hike.

Hiking along the Ganaraska Hiking Trail
Even on a rainy day hiking was great pleasure.
Ganaraska Hiking Trail, crossing the river
Crossing Ganaraska River

My favorite part of  the hike was the  crossing of Ganaraska River.  Although the river is shallow there, the thrill of adventure busted my adrenalin levels. The hiking trail is maintained by volunteers from the local “Ganaraska Hiking trail Association” , who provided detailed information, and assistance during the hike.

Entrance to "Primitive Designs"
Primitive Designs Canada www.primitivedesignscanada.ca

After the hike our thoughts were to get to nearest hotel, get a warm shower , relax and chat while having dinner with good company of friends. On the way to Port Hope we stopped at “Primitive Designs”. Yes it is cool place to visit. There are lots of unusual and funky stuff, and there are lots of it..hard to describe…best to visit on your own. They claimed to have the Canada’s Tallest Transformer, 7-m-tall called “Optimus Prime”, aPrimitive Designsnd 6mhigh T-Rex dinosaur made from recycled car and bike parts.

Then we booked into The Waddell  located on the banks of the Ganaraska river in down town Port Hope.

The Waddell
The Waddell downtown Port Hope Hotel www.thewaddell.ca
The Waddell
The Waddell

 

After warm bath we decided to meet downstairs for dinner at  “Trattoria Gusto”. I liked the food and design of the restaurant, so I took some photos.

Trattoria Gusto
Trattoria Gusto www.trattoriagusto.ca

 

 

 

 

Trattoria GUSTO Three hours flew  while having good company in good restaurant.

Next morning we planned to drive to Ganaraska Treetop Trekking, another place to boost our adrenaline levels.

Treetop Trekking at Ganaraska Forest Centre
Ganaraska Treetop Trekking www.treetoptrekking.com
Treetop Trekking at Ganaraska Forest Centre
Ganaraska Treetop Trekking www.treetoptrekking.com

First levels of trekking were easyfor me, so I decided to skip few, on the last trek I shed some sweat…

My friends prepared surprise, we had lunch near Ganaraska Forest Centre at neighbouring “Moonlight and Pines” B&B, where hosts Helen and Colin prepared a fancy lunch with a nice panoramic view and good conversation. It was a good idea to look at the premises, the room at the B&B is large enough to accomodate an entire family of four. For the next trip to Treetop Trekking it would be a good idea to rent a room in this B&B, especially since it is walking distance to Ganaraska Forest Centre and Treetop Trekking .

 

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Winter Fun in Lanark County 2014

Winter fun in Conlon Farm, Perth, Ontario

Winter Fun in Perth, Ontario Anna and Isobel are having fun

Downtown Perth in February 2014

Downtown Perth in February 2014

Hot Chocolate at Conlon Farm, Perth, Lanark County Time for Hot Chocolate ahhhh

Cross Country Skiing at Murphy’s Point Provincial ParkHigh Speed!Time to go tobogganing Yahoo!
siking at point murphey park sounds awsome

Anna skating in Lanark CountyJonathan skating in Perth, OntarioWhy not some Skating at Conlon FarmFuntime in Perth! isobel having a great time