Category: "Goings-On"

Hurricane Maria - 2017

December 21st, 2017
Hurricane Maria - 2017

After only 3 weeks on the island, and only 3 days after Annette arrived to join me in our new home, Hurricane Maria raged over the island and destroyed much of the island's infrastructure and way of life. I had posted a satellite photo (above) showing how close Maria was to Dominica and told everyone not to worry. The blue line indicates the island. We didn't think much of it and fully believed that in the next day or so, we would go back to work and forget about Maria. 

Hurricane Maria - 2017
An aerial view of our villa complex.

However, upon waking after a long night in the bathroom hiding from the worst of the storm, we saw how much our little world had changed.

Hurricane Maria - 2017
The beautiful fan palm in front of our villa before the storm.
Hurricane Maria - 2017
The beautiful fan palm in front of our villa after the storm.

We checked on our neighbours below to see how they fared. Luckily, they were little worse for wear than we were, however their balcony fan did take a beating.

Hurricane Maria - 2017
Rachel and Gaby's fan beat against the ceiling

Our other neighbour was also fine, however her spectacular view over the Caribbean was even more exposed, and perhaps more spectacular.

Hurricane Maria - 2017
View over the Caribbean before the storm
Hurricane Maria - 2017
View over the Caribbean after the storm

 Once we ascertained that everyone in our compound was okay, we ventured out to discover fallen power lines...

Hurricane Maria - 2017
Fallen power lines near our flat

... holes and washouts in the road...

Hurricane Maria - 2017
Holes and washouts

... and the bridge near our flat collapsed.

Hurricane Maria - 2017
Collapsed bridge
Hurricane Maria - 2017
Road near the bridge overcome with fallen trees

Past the bridge, the road north toward the campus, 20 KMs away, was covered in debris...

Hurricane Maria - 2017
Road covered in debris
Hurricane Maria - 2017
Iguana hiding spots were blown away

... and the little village of Coulibistre was almost washed away.

Hurricane Maria - 2017
Village of Coulibistre

We spent several days in our villa waiting for news and devising an escape plan. However, before we had a chance to implement our plan, the university sent a rescue team by fishing boat to get us from our village and bring us up to the campus.

Hurricane Maria - 2017
Our villa complex from the water

Once we started up the coast, we then realized the full extent of the damage...

Hurricane Maria - 2017
The Sunset Bar - our new 'local'
Hurricane Maria - 2017
Debris in front of the bar

Many of the villages were devastated. Debris was blown up the mountains leaving a trail behind the villages.

Hurricane Maria - 2017
Trail of debris

 Other infrastructure was damaged beyond repair.

Hurricane Maria - 2017
A bent cell tower

Dominica does not have any enclosed harbours so most boats were actually moved to neighbouring islands. This one was not.

Hurricane Maria - 2017
Washed up

 Once we arrived at the campus, we were able to talk to others to get their stories of what happened to them during the storm. We discovered that...

Hurricane Maria - 2017
More than one roof blew off
Hurricane Maria - 2017
Another roof
Hurricane Maria - 2017
Many beautiful trees were stripped of leaves
Hurricane Maria - 2017
Many beautiful trees were stripped of branches as well

... and that evacuation efforts were well under way.

Hurricane Maria - 2017
Preparing to evacuate

The US were airlifting people and conducting various emergency efforts. They also took those students who were willing to pay to get off right away.

Hurricane Maria - 2017
Fly over

However, most of us were evacuated by an old cruise ship. It could only take about 350 people at a time and we were on the second trip. After several days of sleeping in my office, we finally were tendered out to the ship...

Hurricane Maria - 2017
The tender bringing us out
Hurricane Maria - 2017
Not unlike sardines
Hurricane Maria - 2017
Even people's pets were evacuated

From here, it was an overnight trip to St. Lucia where we were finally flown out to Miami. We arrived in Miami on September 28th, 10 days after the hurricane.


Below are a few more photos from Dominica.

Hurricane Maria - 2017
No more leaves
Hurricane Maria - 2017
The neighbour's banana garden
Hurricane Maria - 2017
Before and after from a student
Hurricane Maria - 2017
Before and after from a student
Location: Dominica, Dominica

Around in Australia

June 24th, 2017
Around in Australia

Since our last holiday, we have been trying to stay warm on these cold Aussie nights and getting out to keep our blood circulating. We have actually been quite busy and so have a lot of photos to look at. I'll try to give a bit of background to them so you know what I am showing you. Don't forget, you can see the gallery in order to get the actual location of these places.

Around in Australia
Christmas Cactus - blooming in our garden in June down under

Being seafood lovers and somewhat familiar with world seafood, we went to the Sydney Fish Market to see what was on offer.

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Entrance to Market

There are some interesting and delectable items for sale, although personally I was not overly enticed to sample some of them.

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Scampi - not an Italian gelato flavour as I had thought
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Fresh octopus - for real sushi, just eat these live
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Manta Ray wings for footy night with the lads
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Live sea urchins with built in toothpick
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Murray Cod - not your average cod as we know it
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Raw oysters - not sure of the point to just slurp it down in one go
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Oysters dressed up to disguise their oysterness

And if any of you Newfs were feeling left out, there is a bit of old salt cod for you too!

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Bacalao from Portugal, but probably caught on the Grand Banks

While there, we saw some unusual customers lining up to get some fresh sushi.

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Pelicans love seafood - he is not looking at the child!

We watched these two line up at the door and deftly catch an offering from the kitchen - fresh fish heads!

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What'cha got for me?
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Cheers, matey

We also went downtown again for the Vivid Sydney display. Different sections of the city are set up for displays  - and lots of food.


A few weeks ago, we took a short trip down the coast to visit our friend Cecelia at her new beach house. 

Around in Australia
Beach house in Kioloa

We also met Humphrey, the dog.

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Humphrey likes the new deck

As with most Aussie coast lines, there are endless beaches, waves and beautiful vistas.

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Beaches

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More beaches

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And beaches

We went for long walk along the beach to see what we could see.

Around in Australia
A long walk

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A plover, not unlike our piping plovers of Nova Scotia

We stopped to smell the salty fresh ocean air.

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A salty selfie with Cecelia

Kioloa is home to healthy population of kangaroos. 

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Feeding joey

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Mowing, er, munching the grass

Kangaroos apparently support a healthy population of ticks and mites in their dense fur.

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You tick muncher, you.

A word of caution to parents everywhere - kangaroos are wld animals with some serious kicking power. One kick of this toenail, and you will be punctured.

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Sharper than an awl

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They are so darn cute, though


We also returned to Parramatta Park to visit the bats again.

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Large fruit bats

The colony is alive and well. We have learned that they are not viewed kindly here due to the diseases they carry and the large quantities of poo they spread over people's houses.

Around in Australia
A large healthy colony


Another beautiful weekend, we decided to explore the childhood neighbourhood of our friend Diana. So, off we went to Watson's Bay to have a look-see.

We got ourselves to Circular Quay ...

Around in Australia
Circular Quay

where we hopped a ferry much like this one...

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Harbour ferry

... and passed several iconic Australian sights on our way.

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Harbour Bridge

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Opera House

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City skyline

Out at Watson's Bay, we did the South Head Walk which takes you along the water around the Southern point and entrance to Port Jackson Bay, which contains Sydney Harbour itself and other sections of the larger body of water. 

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View of the city

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Entrance to the harbour

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Selfie spot

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Double selfie


Finally, to mark the abundance of birds that grace our deck and keep us so entertained, here are a few more that we caught on camera.

Around in Australia
Crested pigeon

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Kookaburra - a type of kingfisher

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Crimson Rosella

Location: Inner City, New South Wales, Australia