Friday, September 28, 2007

Bay of Islands rescue excerise becomes real emergency!

An elaborate search and rescue exercise off the west coast of Newfoundland was transformed into a heart-thumping reality Thursday when passengers aboard a covered lifeboat started choking on acrid fumes, apparently from a sputtering engine.

Two people, apparently suffering from serious injuries, were plucked from the motorized boat by a Cormorant rescue helicopter around noon. The 23 others aboard were taken to shore, where all but two received care from paramedics.

The exercise, dubbed Ocean Guardian III, involved about 400 people dealing with a mock disaster staged aboard the Marine Atlantic passenger ferry MV Leif Ericson in the Bay of Islands, about 90 kilometres from Corner Brook.

The main scenario involved an explosion and fire aboard the ferry, requiring rapid evacuation of numerous casualties. Witnesses said one of the lifeboats used to evacuate 160 people aboard the ferry started to spew smoke as it left the side of the larger vessel.
Google News and articles

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Newfound H1 pretax loss slips to US$7.4M vs profit US$1.8M

Humber Valley Resort owner, Newfound NV said it slipped to a first half pretax loss of US$7.4M from a profit of US$1.8M last year after higher administrative costs. Also, the company said plot sales in the first half were negligible as the early part of the year is 'not conducive' to sales at Humber Valley, adding it had to reorganise to target high net worth individuals looking for luxurious second homes.
The company's revenue for the first half to end-June rose to US$17M from US$9.6M last year, due to the increased construction activity in Humber Valley compared to the same time last year.
Meanwhile, Newfound said Humberts Leisure, the international leisure business consultants, valued its resorts in Humber Valley and Nevis at US$227M, resulting in a net asset value of 77 pence a share. The company said it is in the process of finalising a loan facility of US$21M for its Humber Valley resort to provide working capital for development and for the company.
LONDON (Thomson Financial) - ARTICLE or ADVFN larger ARTICLE

Earlier article:
Newfound N.V. (owner of Humber Valley Resort), the creator and operator of international luxury resorts and destinations, today announces its unaudited interim results for the six months ended 30 June 2007. Since its announcement of the 2006 full year results, the Company has:
* Had its resorts independently valued giving a calculated net asset value of 77p per share
* Made good progress in obtaining suitable funding in order to sustain and enhance the financial position of the company
* Revised the management structure of the Company with new CEO and CFO appointments
* Increased revenue over the same period in 2006 and commenced plans for reducing the Company's cost base
* Made further investigations of potential new resorts

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Rafting down the Humber River ...

We met Marty of today, and he encouraged us to try the river rafting sunset trip ... for which we were easily convinced and signed up for ... The trip leaves just west of Marble Mountain, and it was a pleasant surprise to find a picnic basket, cheese platter, and two bottles of champagne in an ice bucket! (Though it was shared across the whole crew!) Its about an hour and a half to two hour sedate cruise down to the edge of Corner Brook - then again the duration and sedateness can change depending on your athletic abilities or wants that day... lets just say, ours was sedate!

All the pictures and video clips are on our Webshot storage area
We're ... are you?

Monday, September 17, 2007

River Course at Humber Valley Resort Best New Course in Canada

We're ... are you?

The Humber Valley Resort’s scenic River Course has been awarded "Canada’s Best New Course of 2007" by ScoreGolf Magazine. The 18-hole, par 72 championship course, which opened in 2006, offers spectacular views from all holes including the panoramic backdrop of western Newfoundland’s mighty Humber River and the breathtaking Humber Valley mountains.

The River Course, located in the Humber Valley, Newfoundland, was designed by renowned Canadian architect, Doug Carrick and is an outstanding feature at Newfoundland’s Humber Valley Resort. "Doug Carrick designed the River Course to be a great play for both experienced and novice players. It is the kind of course that you want to come back and play again," says Brian Dobbin, Newfound Resorts Chief Executive Officer.

The River Course was selected as the Best New Course in Canada by an esteemed cross section of Canada’s finest experts in golf. "We are honoured to have been named the Best New Course in Canada by ScoreGolf," says Dobbin. "ScoreGolf is a very prestigious Canadian golf publication and it means a great deal that editors and rankers feel that our River Course deserves to be rated the top new course in Canada this year," adds Dobbin.

Referred to as one of the best holes in the country, the 10th hole is the most rewarding and challenging of the course. "The most spectacular course to open in Canada in recent memory…Worth heading to for the 10th hole alone" says one ScoreGolf Panelist. While the 10th hole is the most notable for its degree of difficulty the rest of the course provides its own unique challenges for golfers.

"Newfoundland golf is unique in many respects" says Jamie Digby, Director of Golf for The River Course. "We have the perfect formula for an award-winning course with a Carrick design, extraordinary location and a devoted golf team. We strive to exceed our guest’s expectations on every round."
ScoreGolf New Course award site
Humber Valley Resort
PR release on the award

We're ... are you?

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Visit to cabin on Deer Lake (north shore)

We are - Are you?

Saturday we (now only Dan & Kate, as Anne went home last week) borrowed a quad bike and drove back to the resort - and then off to the east, through the brook where the bridge is out and then on a further 6 miles. The trail runs along the north shore of Deer Lake, and we end up opposite Pynns Brook (on the south side), at Bettylou and John's excellent cabin.

Check other
CrazyAboutNewfoundland videos on

It was our first visit to their cabin - and for sure they win the prize (so far) for cabins we've visited. Truely a home-from-home feeling. Tea, muffins and a good chat, ranging from the ways of cooking "hard bread", to describing what a real curry is all about, to logging history in the Deer Lake area ... A great way to spend a morning - Thanks guys!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Scottie, Kerri & Brad ... and Paul Shelley

A screech-in night at the Beach House. We teamed up with Scottie (in white cap) and Kerri, and Brad (red cap). Scottie works as a golf-green-keeper, Kerri at the Beach House, and Brad is Assistant Golf Pro, to James who is also Scottie's good mate, and the reason hes here). It happens to be Brad's birthday, as well as his turn to be screeched ... another good night - followed by a slow day!

Paul Shelley (the former provinsional minister of tourism, and now General Manager at the resort) was also at the Beach House tonight - theres more to him than meets the eye, including being rather good on stage with a guitar and microphone!

We're! Are you?

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Newfoundland - in the top 10 future destinations!!

The Wall St Journal have a team of "International Travel Scouts", working on naming destinations destinted to become a hit with international travellers in coming years.

Saadiyat Island came first this year. However in a list of others in the top ten came (in no particular order) ... Honduras, Providence Rhode Island, Montenegro, Rwanda, the Seychelles, Almaty in Kazakhstan, China’s Hainan Island, Boracay in the Philippines ... and (you guessed it) NEWFOUNDLAND !!

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Hunting season opens ....

The Newfoundland moose and caribou hunting season opens today. Everyone we're been talking to is focused on, and preparing for bagging their moose!

This year there are 26k moose licences, and 3k for caribou, which reflects the need to protect the caribou numbers on the island, and is a total of (approx) 2k less licences than last year.

Environment and Conservation Minister Clyde Jackman said, "If you look at it nationally, woodland caribou hunts are disappearing. Our officials and our stats are still saying that we have enough caribou on this island to have a sustainable hunt. It is something we have to monitor. It’s the emblem of our province."

More background - Hunt is on - Western Star

The Provincial Flag of Newfoundland and Labrador

White is representative of snow and ice;
Blue represents the Sea,
Red represents human effort and
Gold, our confidence in ourselves.

Thirty years after joining the rest of Canada, the official flag still remained the Union Jack. England's official flag. It remained the Union Jack because Canada was a common wealth country of England.
In 1979 however, a commission was formed to select a new flag. One year later, one of six designs submitted by Newfie Christopher Pratt was chosen as the new provincial flag, and it was first flown on that years Discovery Day.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Visit & Blog - 7th Sept - Last Day, Fishing, and some!

My finally day of my first visit to Newfoundland. Its the first, as I've already planned to return - which is a surprise to those that know me, as I don't normally "do" holidays as such. Anyway, so we're up early to get across to Cox's Cove as early as possible.
Problem is, after last night's screech-in activites, none of us had set the alarm, so we ake slightly later - and arrive at Cox's Cove by 8am.
Darrens already down with his boat waiting for us, and we're quickly all in to his Dory and off.

I used to fish with my father many years ago, so was keen to show Dan & Kate that I still could. Its not long before I get my first mackeral, though alarmingly the rod did at first bend what seemed like right under the dory.

Darren had taken us to a small cove about 30 minutes from Cox's Cove, and we were about 200m off shore, with a waterfall pouring out from quite a height on a cliff down to the beach below. We spot (another !!) bald eagle soaring across the cove, and then when it lands on the cliff, we motor closer to it - and wachted as an osprey repeatedly seemed to try to scare the eagle and was buzzing him - its all quite an experience!
We caught quite a few mackeral, and started releasing those we considered too small. Then Dan shouted out that he had something special ... and up came a spiky red fish called an Ocean Perch, much to our joint excitment.

And amazingly he followed that with a 2lb cod fish - and looked very pleased with himself!!
However Kate was the star today. It felt like her line was never down for more than a minute, before she would say "here's another one". Then at a moment when both Dan & I were handling a mackeral each, she pointed out that she was struggling with hers. No one was really listening ... but when she said it again, louder! ... Darren turned to help, and in fact took over ...
"oh my god" was his first words, "you've got something here, Kate" ... and then as it surfaced "holy sh#t" ... repeatedly and intersperced with "unbelieveable".
First up on the line was a mackeral, but there was clearly something else on the 2nd hook ...
A HUGE fish, which turned out to be a 35lb cod ... you don't see many of those!

The ocean perach and both cod had to be returned as they're out of season for non-commercial fisherman until the end of Sept.

Darren said it was the biggest he'd seen this year ... and on a mackeral line too! It was an amazing end to a perfect morning ... we had stop after, as anything else caught would simply be a disappointment!

Back on the dry land, Darren quickly filleted the mackeral, and we warmed up with some hot chocolate. Later we went down to Darren's land to see the work he had completed near the stream, and to eat some berries ... A wonderful morning.

Back at the chalet we cooked the mackeral and had a calm afternoon, packed, (though being an extreme light traveller that doesn't take me long) ... and go explore the inside of Dan & Kate's cabins .. charming, if a bit rough, and then down to the airport. The flight arrived early and so was able to get away early (doesn't happen like that in London!!) ... no drama getting home - easy and quick.

I've had truely wonderful time in Newfoundland. The area beautiful, but the people are special. I'm definately coming back!
Day 1 -
Flight & Arrival
Day 2 - A washout & shopping
Day 3 - Walk, Brunch & Bonfire
Day 4 - Tour & Tapas
Day 5 - Bay of Islands & Strawberry Hill
Day 6 - Gros Morne & a Moose
Day 7 - Quad Bike Tour
Day 7 - An honourary Newfie
Day 8 - Fishing & the 35lb cod !!!

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Visit & Blog - 6th Sept - Honorary Newfoundlander

So we end up on my last night at the resort's "Beach House" for what they call the "screech in" ... a ceremony to create honorary Newfoundlanders, that turns out to include proving you can speak like a Newfie, drink like a Newfie, and be knighted (with an oar instead of a sword of course!) ... and then worship the fish, by kissing one! Its a good night - and everyones enjoying themselves. Though it looks like the resort cooked all the fish - as we ended up kissing a fillet of salmon!!

I'm told its normally a sizable whole cod or salmon - but they couldn't find one - Shame, anyway, I'm now an "honorary Newfie" ... and proud of it!

Day 7 - An honourary Newfie
Day 8 - Fishing & the 35lb cod !!!

Visit & Blog - 6th Sept - Quads to Norwest Cove

So its Thursday and we've proved the the only way to get to the Norwest Cove cabin is by quad bike ... so Dan has booked it with his mate Darren. I'm getting nervous, and asking what its like. Trouble is I know Kate's not been, but seems keen. Should I be worried? Should I?

Darren arrives - and everything is fine - he's very calm and reassuring, so I vote that I ride with him!

We leave the resort to the east, and hit various trails (on to the other end of Goose Arm Road). Darren spots various good places to chat and enjoy the amazing views, and we also have a pitstop to fix the hired quad's windshield.

Its fantasic here, and there simply is no way to get in to (what they call) the "back country" in the summer
without being on a quad bike. Its the same trails that they use for snowmobiling - but (apparrently) very different views.

Below, we stopped briefly near Old Mans Pond (what a name!). Great stop, great view!

Then we press on for Norwest Cove at speed, and find the barn like cabin. Its fine, on a good plot - but along way from anywhere. Perhaps too far, even for me! Then we cruise round the corner to the old Mussel Farm - to look out across Norwest Cove and have lunch.

During a quick lunch suddenly theres lots of pointing ... and there it is ... a Bald Eagle soaring above us - wow! Thats both the boxes ticked!!!! What next??

Soon after, we're off and running and leaving to get back, but suddenly the hired quad is making srange noises and then seizes up and stops! Darren has a go, but not much changes, except that bits drop out of the back - its not looking good!

Darren is looking worried and stops at the cabin nearby. Lucky (as is often the way here in Newfoundland) he knows the guy, and after a few seconds the cabin owner - who was busy upgrading the panels on the outside of his cabin - stops his DIY, and is loaning his mobile to Darren and Darren is off on his quad to find a hill, where he can get reception and call for help.

But thats not a problem for those left behind, as Joe (as we thought he introduced himself) is quickly looking after us, and in no time there are beers being passing around, and tea being offered - hes from McIviers and spends as much time as possible out this way. We're invited to look round the cabin and the veg patch - hes very proud, and its one of the best laid out cabins we've seen to date. We're probably there for more than an hour, but actually mildly disappointed when help finally arrives in the form of a pick up for the quad.

Throughout all this everyone was very calm and enjoying the opportunity to share stories. The only one looking in any way worried was Daniel, who kept looking at his watch. His only explaination was "tonight mum, you're becoming an honorary Newfoundlander - and you can't be late!"

Should I be worried? Should I?
Day 1 - Flight & Arrival
Day 2 - A washout & shopping
Day 3 - Walk, Brunch & Bonfire
Day 4 - Tour & Tapas
Day 5 - Bay of Islands & Strawberry Hill
Day 6 - Gros Morne & a Moose
Day 7 - Quad Bike Tour
Day 7 - An honourary Newfie
Day 8 - Fishing & the 35lb cod !!!