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Dominica’s Fort Young Hotel & Dive Resort awarded Green Globe Certification

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Fort Young Hotel & Dive Resort, the “Nature Island’s” landmark, waterfront “All-Inclusive, Island-Included” resort on the edge of Dominica’s capital, Roseau, is pleased to announce it has been awarded Green Globe Certification, one of the highest standards for sustainability worldwide. Only the second property in Dominica to earn the accolade – the first being Fort Young Hotel’s sister property, Secret Bay, which just re-earned Green Globe Certification – the resort has been recognised for its multiple community initiatives and committed management team.

“The resort should be commended for its management during the pandemic, choosing to dedicate its staff and resources to a number of community efforts, including Koudmen Kitchen, an initiative where the hotel donated meals to healthcare workers, and packaging food for the Care in Crisis programme,” said Green Globe’s Chief Executive Officer Birte Pelayo. “Our independent audit review has found the management team to be very forward looking and dedicated to continuous improvement across all sustainability indicators.”

“We’re thrilled to receive our inaugural Green Globe certification, an honour our entire team has worked hard to achieve,” said Dinesh Kissoon, Fort Young Hotel’s general manager. “Every staff member has been committed to this endeavor and this is a huge step in our journey as we continue to expand and evolve our sustainability practices.”

To earn Green Globe Certification, Fort Young Hotel demonstrated it operates in accordance with Green Globe standards and employs various Environmental Impact Assessments. Among the resort’s eco-friendly practices are:

  • Garbage sorting programme, including waste specific bins to easily categorize waste
  • Guest and staff education on waste disposal best practices including reusing and recycling
  • Zero-waste in food production
  • On-property organic tomato and herb garden
  • Reduction in the use of plastic water bottles with the introduction of in-room glass water pitcher
  • Staff involvement through education including training on the hotel’s Sustainability Management System and in the areas of health, safety, service level and culture
  • Guest education through eco-messages and other person-to-person interactions pre-arrival and throughout stay
  • Installation of energy monitoring system
  • Implementation of waste management monitoring system

Initiatives planned for the near future include installation of a modern refrigeration system, assessment of operations to establish reusable systems, energy and water conservation efforts, and exposing staff to cultural experiences like art, music and local entertainment, as well as historical exposure through storytelling about the resort’s dynamic history. The hotel also aims to achieve carbon emission reduction through the implementation of fuel monitoring systems.

The Green Globe Standard covers four key themes: Sustainable Management; Social/Economic; Cultural Heritage; and Environmental. The standard includes 44 core criteria supported by over 380 compliance indicators. To guarantee compliance with the highest international standards, a third-party independent auditor is appointed to work with clients on-site.

In late 2021, Fort Young Hotel became the Caribbean’s first-ever “All-Inclusive, Island-Included” resort experience. With this, guests enjoy two 60-minute massages at the new Zemi Spa, as well as access to activities and offerings beyond the hotel — from a lionfish catching expedition to regulate this invasive species, to hiking and exploring some of the island’s best attractions like Trafalgar Falls and Titou Gorge, to enjoying tropical beaches — providing a truly unrivaled, immersive and memorable Nature Island experience.

Fort Young Hotel & Dive Resort recently unveiled its Zemi Spa, the island’s first and only waterfront day spa, and oceanfront 24hr Compass Gym, along with fully refreshed Oceanfront Rooms, Oceanfront Deluxe Rooms and Oceanfront Suites. 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. The resort also introduced six Junior Suites, a new category of elegant and modern guest rooms featuring kitchenettes. Future enhancements and additions will include 60 Fort rooms; a state-of-the-art fitness center featuring eco-friendly equipment; a business center; a new bar and lounge; a 200-seat conference room; a 250-seat sun deck for weddings and other events; an art gallery; a wine and rum cellar; a gift shop; and three new meeting rooms.

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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