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Dominica showcases ‘all-inclusive, island included’ experience – first in the Caribbean

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Fort Young Hotel & Dive Resort, the “Nature Island’s” landmark, waterfront hotel on the edge of Dominica’s capital, Roseau, has announced the introduction of the Caribbean’s first-ever “All-Inclusive, Island-Included” resort experience. Beyond the offerings of a traditional all-inclusive, like food and beverages, the All-Inclusive, Island-Included experience will give guests access to activities and offerings beyond the hotel — from a lionfish catching expedition, to hiking and exploring some of the island’s best attractions like Trafalgar Falls and Titou Gorge, to enjoying tropical beaches — providing an unrivaled, immersive and memorable Nature Island holiday.

Not only will guests enjoy city, land and/or sea adventures each and every day, but off-property island activities will also include a community touch point — whether it be a sweet treat or cocoa tea from a local restaurant or rum shop, a local arts and craft offering or a cultural experience. By involving independent tour providers and local food and beverage outlets, the new model will cater to guests while also supporting the community at large.

“Fort Young has always been a gateway to Dominica’s incredible sights and landmarks, so it was a natural evolution for us to introduce this All-Inclusive, Island-Included offering,” said Dinesh Kissoon, Fort Young Hotel & Dive Resort’s general manager. “We wanted to offer travellers to Dominica a truly seamless, effortless and authentic way to experience the local culture, land and sea unlike ever before. Doing an all-inclusive with island included is a way of engaging our community and gives guests a more robust and immersive experience, creating a more sustainable and symbiotic environment.”

The All-Inclusive, Island-Included package requires a minimum five-night stay and includes:

  • Daily breakfast, two-course lunch, afternoon snacks and three-course dinner
  • Unlimited house beverages and alcoholic drinks from 10am – 10pm
  • Welcome pack in-room minibar
  • A selection of daily scheduled water or land adventure experiences
  • Cocoa tea, juices and cakes at local eateries
  • Beach discovery visit
  • Round-trip airport transfers
  • 60-minute massage twice per stay for one or two based on occupancy
  • 60-minute yoga twice per stay for one or two based on occupancy
  • Unlimited unguided shore scuba diving
  • Kayak and other non-motorised watersports
  • Daily housekeeping and turndown services
  • High-speed Wi-Fi
  • National park and entrance fees
  • All taxes and charges

Among the numerous included excursions are:

  • Hiking to Trafalgar Falls, Titou Gorge, the Middleham Falls and Hot Springs, Spanny and Jacko Falls, Freshwater Lake and Boeri Lake
  • Lionfish hunting and snorkelling by boat
  • Guided Roseau city walking tour
  • Mero Beach discovery

Further, guests will also have the opportunity to donate to a local charity at check-out.

Rates for the All-Inclusive, Island Included start at US$349 per person per night based on double occupancy in a newly reimagined Oceanfront room. Upgrades are also available to experience even more of the island’s adventures, such as swimming with Dominica’s resident sperm whales, canyoning, night snorkelling, hiking to Boiling Lake, and exploring Kalinago Territory. Terms and conditions apply.

The resort is also offering three alternative packages: a breakfast, beverages and island-included package starting at US$286 per person per night (five-night minimum stay); a standard all-inclusive meal plan starting at US$255 per person per night (two-night minimum stay); and a breakfast and beverage plan for US$190 per person per night (two-night minimum stay). Prospective guests can also book standard room rates without a meal plan.

Fort Young Hotel recently unveiled 26 fully refreshed Oceanfront Deluxe Rooms. Replete with panoramic seaside views, exceptionally stylish furnishings and a bright colour palette, the reimagined guestrooms are designed to make guests feel even more warmly welcomed while expressing Dominica’s vibrant spirit. These refurbished rooms are part of the resort’s new master plan that also calls for eight more rooms to be updated this autumn alongside the introduction of a brand-new waterfront spa, 24-hour gym and six all-new Oceanfront Junior Suites with en-suite bathrooms, kitchenettes and interconnecting rooms; 60 forthcoming Fort Rooms; a state-of-the-art fitness center featuring eco-friendly equipment; business center; new bar and lounge; 200-seat conference room; 250-seat sun deck for weddings and other events; art gallery, wine and rum cellar, gift shop, and three new meeting rooms. Upon completion, Fort Young Hotel & Dive Resort will be a 4+ star property.

The new Zemi Spa features two private treatment rooms and two manicure and pedicure stations where certified and therapists conduct a variety of services and treatments, including Swedish, Deep Tissue and Volcanic Rock massages, Body Treatments and Signature Rituals featuring indulgent, locally-inspired products. Guests can also book a package of multiple services. Spa visitors can also make use of the 24- hour Compass Gym overlooking the Caribbean Sea.

For more information, visit www.fortyounghotel.com/, call 767-448-5000 or email info@fortyounghotel.com.

Freediving Blogs

British freediver sets new national record with 112m dive

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British freediver Gary McGrath has set a new national record at the prestigious Vertical Blue freediving competition in the Bahamas.

Using only a monofin for propulsion, Gary swam down a measured rope to a depth of 112m (367ft), returning to the surface to receive a white card from the AIDA International judges to validate his dive.

Gary, 41, held his breath for three minutes and 13 seconds to complete the dive.

Freedivers descend underwater on a single breath of air and the atmospheric pressure on their bodies increases as they go deeper.

At 112m deep the pressure is 12 times greater than the surface, meaning the air in Gary’s lungs would have shrunk to less than a twelfth of its original volume – around the size of a golf ball.

Freedivers train to cope with the physiological strains placed on their bodies by their sport, and Gary uses his background of yoga and meditation to help his physical and mental preparation for deep dives.

He has also had to overcome physical challenges after contracting Covid last year during preparations for a previous national record attempt.

Gary said: ‘Diving below 100m is a totally unique environment, it’s my therapy. 

‘This year has been extremely challenging for my mental health and freediving has helped me overcome that for sure. 

‘At depth I have complete isolation from the everyday world we live in. Down there it’s just me and nature. It’s that escape that all freedivers crave. 

‘There are moments of extreme mental clarity and purity that I can only achieve when underwater. The flow state that a deep dive allows me to experience is unique and addictive.

Gary, originally from Twickenham, began freediving in 2006 and has been competing since 2008.

A former tree surgeon, he became a professional freedive instructor in 2014, and he and his partner Lynne Paddon run Yoga and Freedive Retreats in Ibiza.

Remarkably, he completed his 112m national record dive on Tuesday (August 9) despite being forced to compete wearing a borrowed monofin which was a size too small for his feet.

His entire kit bag containing his monofin, bifins and two wetsuits was lost by an airline as he travelled to the competition.

Despite his careful preparation, Gary said he suffered nerves on the morning of his national record dive, and relied on a phone call to his partner Lynne, who helped him focus on breathing techniques and visualisation to calm his nerves.

Speaking immediately after his dive, he said: ‘That was all for Lynne – this whole week has been about her. I could not do it without her. I hope that everyone finds someone they can click with, it’s the most magical thing in the world.’

Gary also thanked supporters who helped him to crowdfund to raise the money needed for him to travel to the Bahamas and compete.

Vertical Blue is considered one of the most elite events on the freediving calendar and has been dubbed the ‘Wimbledon of Freediving’.

Owned and run by world record freediver William Trubridge, the event takes place in a 202m (663ft) deep sinkhole known as Dean’s Blue Hole, off the coast of Long Island.

The previous British national record of 111m was set by Michael Board in 2018, also at a Vertical Blue competition.


All Photographs courtesy of Daan Verhoeven (www.daanverhoeven.com)

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Miscellaneous Blogs

Film Review: Thirteen Lives

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Ron Howard’s recreation of the 2018 rescue of a Thai junior football team is impressive. Even though we know what happens in the end the tension and drama played out is palpable.

On 23 June 2018, 12 members of a Thai junior football team, the Wild Boars, and their coach became trapped deep in the Tham Luang cave system by rising flood water. The film details the incredible international rescue efforts that ensue. And Ron Howard has judged the tone perfectly. There is no Hollywood glitz and glamour and the two leading actors: Colin Farrell and Viggo Mortensen, who play John Volanthen and Rick Stanton respectively, capture the intensity of the situation perfectly.

The diving scenes are claustrophobic in the extreme. Although I suspect that the visibility was even worse than the film depicts as you have to be able to see something in the dramatization! All the way through the film I found myself shaking my head in disbelief at the extraordinary feat these divers pulled off. The skill and bravery required still impresses after watching films, hearing them speak in public and reading about the rescue.

I loved that, whilst the divers took centre stage in the film, the heroic rescue efforts of the water engineer and his team was also given the attention they deserve, as well as the incredible Thai Navy Seals and the thousands of people that flocked to the region to help.

Thirteen Lives is a must watch movie about an incredible cave rescue. It’s sober tone hits the mark. The cinematography is skilled and creates an impressively tense experience. It is available on Amazon Prime right now.

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