Into the Future – Conservation Art Today!

Have you ever wondered at how much our emotions govern us?  Even when we think our decisions are based on facts, information and logic, more often than not it is how we feel about something that sparks our choice. We make these decisions in an instant, but their effect on our lives, or those of others, continue for days, months and years into the future…  Such is the power of emotion.

Emotion is not something foreign to artists. They have the luxury of using this, the very essence that gives them the passion to pursue their craft, each and every day that they draw, paint, photograph, sculpt, design and create their unique art work.  Art is going to produce an emotion in those who connect with it ~ and artists throughout history have used this power in their images to influence people across the ages.

Then there is the very real connection between art and science. We are all familiar with the centuries old genius of Leonardo Da Vinci and his work. Both an artist and a scientist… brilliant and pioneering!  Unfortunately, we seem to think one should be either artistic OR scientific… we all know how education appears to stress the divide – but why?  Some of the most brilliant minds are both artistic AND scientific – neither has to be set in stone!

Looking to the future, the very animals, landscapes and natural wonders we see portrayed so brilliantly on print, paper, canvas, parchment, board, sculpture & design in the art world are often also the focus of a dedicated team of conservationists, who have a powerful vision to sustain the same, in the fact driven, scientific world!  A connection between two exclusive groups of people with very different modes of operation, but based on a very real commonality, a seed planted in emotion rising up with vision.

Dig below the surface, and you will find the power of emotion here … The avid conservationist will only forego the comforts of life and work in the civilized world if something bigger is driving him to leave it.  In order to fuel the drive, dedication and determination they need to succeed in often hostile environments with challenging climates and politicians, rampaging poachers, uncomfortable living conditions in remote parts of the world – no doubt they draw on the strength of WHY they are out there doing what they do!?

What is so important that they spend years committed to researching and understanding? Brian Tracey, one of America’s leading business authorities, once said “Happiness and high performance come to you when you choose to live your life consistent with your highest values and your deepest convictions.”* Somehow, I think artists and conservationists have more in common than meets the naked eye!

The popularity of this Conservation/Art connection came up through a conversation between my brother-in-law (and wildlife artist) Jeff Dix and avid natural image photographer, Jacqueline Deely – who mentioned that the organization she frequently volunteers for often promote artwork at their events.  On visiting the Wildlife Conservation Network I saw a list of conservation projects and speakers scheduled to share their work and visions at the Wildlife Conservation Expo Day, Sunday, October 3rd, Mission Bay Conference Center, San Francisco. Sure enough there were pages dedicated to artists who pledged support through their art, for the conservation projects of their choice!  Emotion no doubt playing a part in which project to support… 🙂

As for me, two familiar names: Dr. Greg Rasmussen and Peter Blinston sparked my own excitement as they are working on a project in Zimbabwe, the country of my birth from where I emigrated to Canada in 2004. Greg Rasmussen embraces a lifelong vision, a lot of determination and good dusty grit with which he founded the Painted Dog Conservation project.

Peter Blinston helped transition the project from vision to programming, and their unique combination of modern technology and the utilization of valuable traditional knowledge from local communities, has helped PDC make a huge impact on wild dog populations in Africa today.  Both have given up a lot to do what they do, and to carry out what they have done, with PDC.  As a result, Zimbabwe’s painted dog population has almost doubled since the project started.

Since then I have found whole associations and websites dedicated to Artists supporting Conservation. One of my favourite connections is the link between the ILCP (International League of Conservation Photographers) and conservation projects around the world.

These photographers translate “conservation science into compelling visual messages targeted to specific audiences. They work with leading scientists, policy makers, government leaders and conservation groups to produce the highest-quality documentary images of both the beauty and wonder of the natural world and the challenges facing it.”

Enough said ~ this is a testimony to the power of vision; from seed to fruition!

*Excerpts from “The Treasury of Quotes” by Brian Tracy. (

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For the Birds… :)

National Geographic have the most awesome ‘Bird Shots’ on their Animals Page here:

Zoom in to enjoy hundreds more photos making up the original. Then zoom again at each level for continuous kaleidescope of images submitted by users to My Shot…. Photographers Only 😉
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Why is Lancaster Sound the “Serengeti of the Arctic”?

Inuit and native populations, both in and out of the water in Lancaster Sound, have a lot to celebrate with the major legal victory scored for them by a Nunavet Court today! Just one day before it was set to begin, a territorial judge granted an injunction that blocks a major seismic program in the Arctic Experiment from continuing this summer, much to the relief of local communities and, surprisingly, avid environmentalists too.  Why, you may wonder?

Migrations through the Lancaster Sound have often been likened to those that take place in Africa, in the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania.

Serengeti is one of Tanzania’s most famous national parks, and also one of the largest, with 14,763 square kilometres of protected area that borders Kenya’s Masai Mara Game Park. With endless plains of savanna grass, acacia trees and large stone kopjes home to rich ecosystems and staggering annual migrations of wildlife, the Serengeti has conjured the classic image of a wild and untarnished Africa.

Closer to home for those of us in North America, especially Canadians and Inuit communities living up in Oceans North, we have Lancaster Sound – often referred to as the “Serengeti of the Arctic.”

[Here is an excerpt from Sharon Oosthoek’s article in Saturday’s Globe and Mail, (Published on Friday, Aug. 06, 2010 6:19 PM EDT, Last updated on Monday, Aug. 09, 2010 7:00AM EDT)]

“Lined with steep ice-covered mountains and deep fjords, Lancaster Sound lies between Baffin Island and Devon Island, covering 40,000 square kilometres, more than twice the area of Lake Ontario.

Seemingly desolate to the untrained eye, it is, in fact, home to an unusual abundance of wildlife. Extensive polynyas – stretches of open water surrounded by sea ice – make the area so creature-friendly that it has come to be known as the Arctic Serengeti, inhabited by most of the world’s narwhals and one-third of North America’s belugas, as well as massive bowhead whales, an array of seals (ringed, bearded and harp), walruses, thick-billed murres (cousins of the long-vanished great auk) and one of the highest densities of polar bears in Canada.

This natural bounty has long sustained the Inuit, who look at the $200 the Northern Store charges for a turkey no bigger than a soccer ball and worry about what impact the testing will have on their traditional source of food.

The Polarstern will drag air guns in its wake and measure what happens to the sound waves they blast out every 60 seconds. Hunters says all this noise is bound to drive off the animals, and this week, the Qikiqtani Inuit Association, which represents residents of Arctic Bay, Pond Inlet, Clyde River, Resolute Bay and Grise Fiord, petitioned the Nunavut Court of Justice to call the whole thing off.

The move has drawn support from a surprising source – environmentalists, who rarely see eye to eye with hunters, says Chris Debicki, who works in Iqaluit with Oceans North Canada, a branch of the U.S.-based Pew Environment Group. But they also oppose the testing, both in the short run and because of what it could lead to down the road: drilling for underwater petroleum and the prospect of a spill like the one that sent an estimated 4.9 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.

If history is any indication, there is cause for concern. Four decades ago, a crew looking for gas on Melville Island, more than 400 kilometres west of Lancaster Sound, sparked a blowout that lasted 485 days – five times what it took to contain the gulf spill.”

No wonder mapping the seabed of Lancaster Sound has the Arctic in a Fury. It’s time we look further than our short lives, experiments, economics, politics and comforts; and do all we can to protect the Arctic’s precious oceanic life and those communities who have learned to co-exist with it…  in a sustainable manner.

Our future all over the world, is intrinsically linked to that of the Arctic. If we want to continue to enjoy the natural resources and environments that make living in our world possible, we first have to preserve it…  Destroy the Arctic, and the domino effect begins – we destroy ourselves!

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African Beaches, Adventure and Mozambique Horse Safaris!

Do you and your family want to experience the “Spirit of Fun and Adventure” you’re looking for on your next trip to Africa? This is one increasingly popular travel destination where you can enjoy just that – on a Mozambique Horse Safari!

Turn your speakers up for the initial introduction, then settle back and enjoy a peek into paradise!

On your next vacation to Southern Africa do something “different” – try and get to Vilanculos, Mozambique! Here you will find some of the best “unspoiled” beaches in the world (especially on Bazaruto and Benguerra Island) – with luxury resorts that melt into the surrounding landscape and horse safaris that cater to your every wish for an awesome family holiday, romantic getaway or adventure vacation “extra-ordinaire”!!  Mozambique is a world away from the busy, cell phone driven, first world techno frenzy a lot of us live in. Here in this special, beautiful, little known, island archipelago of Africa TIME is unlimited.

My husband is a fisherman and has taken our family on some of the most awesome holidays in Mozambique. There is an initial mind-warp; I will not deny my own shock at how backward the country was on our first visit… and my family will testify to that 😉 However, I soon learned, that those of us who thought we were suffering with a 3rd world infrastructure elsewhere in Africa, soon discovered here that we were not so badly off!  Yet, and this is the SECRET in Mozambique, despite the obvious lack in overall regional infrastructure, you come away so much richer for it; and never quite feel the same again…

Here, on Mozambican beaches in the Bazaruto Archipelago, you learn to appreciate the simple things that people enjoy for free. Beaches, so exquisite that the fine, white sand “squeaks” when you walk on it, sea waters abounding in sea-life that tastes like nothing you’ve ever tasted when cooked that evening on a BBQ under the stars, sunshine, sand and waves while trying to windsurf with laughter, lying under palms blowing wind in your hair!

If you have the luxury to add to this with a Mozambique Horse Safari, you will experience so much more with like-minded people who have been here for years to share this with you.  For those who love horses and riding on beaches, this has to be one of the best experiences in the world…  They also offer rides on Bazaruto Island where Volunteers are often also needed to help care for those horses which are owned by the Bazaruto Island Lodge. This is a “wonderful experience on an idyllic island” (Mandy Retzlaff)

Bazaruto Island Beaches

Those who enjoy snorkeling with guides over coral reefs or deep sea scuba diving, are also in for a treat; as we were, when we spent a memorable family holiday some time back, on Bazarutto Island. Early each morning (up with the sun & long before breakfast), we would set off by Land-rover for a protected beach on the island and don our gear before wading into the sea.

This was entry into another world… not ours – we were visitors to this one, drifting in a myriad shades of blue, ethereal and incredibly beautiful!  A completely different world; precious, unique and deserving of man’s protection and care.  We were swimming in a protected area surrounded by larger reefs where the waves pounded not far away.  Our guides reminded us constantly not to stand on coral, and never to litter… rightly so!

... Dreaming!

Soon we were feasting our eyes on a kaleidoscope of sea-life, including lovely pink & turquoise “parrot” fish crunching on coral, long before our own stomachs got hungry!  Those of us who braved holding our breath and diving deeper were fortunate enough to spot the odd leopard eel lying in their “cleaning” stations, hidden deep amongst the rocks on the sea-bed.

By the time we had dried off on the bumpy, open air ride back to the Lodge, our appetites were fully focused on the thought of breakfast… However, despite the fact that we now looked forward to appeasing our grumbling stomachs – our hearts were still out there, amidst the sea sand, salt on our skin and sun in our hair ;)

If you enjoy deep sea diving, the footage on this video from the Mozambican Horse Safari website is so typical of what you see when you’re on a boat in these waters… and underneath the waves.

Mandy and Pat Retzlaff have an amazing story to tell – I hope you can visit the Bazaruto Archipelago and Mozambique Horse Safari one day and hear it from them, for yourselves!  It’s been a while since we were all young university student friends together in the late ’70s, but we have nothing but admiration for what they have done for these horses, their family and the countless people they’ve touched through their horse safaris and Volunteer Programme.

This special place, on the beaches of Mozambique, gives you plenty of “time” to:

  • lose your watch 😉 AND
  • ride in the sea,
  • ride on the beach
  • ride on the sand dunes
  • ride on the cliffs above the sea
  • enjoy and care for deeply loved horses,
  • unwind on pristine beaches,
  • snorkel in unpolluted waters,
  • deep sea dive with dolphins,
  • fish with the best – both local & international fishermen,
  • swim and feel the sun and water on your skin,
  • feast your eyes on sunrises and sunsets that render you speechless,
  • taste freshly caught seafood, and
  • enjoy daily the warmhearted, fun-loving and smiling people that help build unforgettable memories on that Holiday of a Lifetime

Priceless – I’m sure you’ll agree that this is enough for ANYONE to enjoy their next seaside adventure in Africa!

Posted in adventure holiday, adventure travel, Africa, ARTICLES, south africa, travel club, travel member, Uncategorized, volunteer in africa, volunteer program | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Are Travel Clubs the Solution for Your Family Vacation This Year?

How would you like to spend a family vacation – or two – at exquisite beach, golf, mountain and family resorts around the world, this year?  If you are not sure how to book that surreal vacation package, without stretching an already overloaded budget, see where this trend is pointing!

While some families are cashing in on the downturn in the once popular Timeshare industry to invest in luxury weeks that once cost between $16,000 – $20,000, (e.g. these can now be found online for re-sale at prices as little as $2,500 for a 2-bedroom suite in Cabo San Lucas) one is still faced with an expensive annual fee, often in the region of $890/year.

Others – and you may be one of them – are not happy to throw away their hard earned savings. Those of us who own our own homes, are already juggling with ever increasing maintenance costs and mortgages… Hence, the hesitation to add to our current annual expenditure with more maintenance costs and annual levies which accompany the purchase of that tempting Timeshare week and entry into that exclusive Destination Club.

Smart thinking, especially when you consider some sport a hefty price tag of $70,000, before the annual fees. If you search online you will discover that this is, thankfully, not the only way to enjoy a family holiday in Hawaii or take cruise vacations in Mexico.  Quality inclusive vacations can be found elsewhere today.

Safari in Africa

Many families are now looking at the benefits of enjoying inclusive vacations as “Travel Club” members. This is not hard to understand, when you see how much money families can save on their exclusive, discounted vacation deals. Imagine flying to Africa and spending a few day’s Safari in Kenya… while you and your family enjoy a week at a quality beach resort for just $299!

Or, a little closer to home for some…

Imagine treating yourself, your family and your grand-children to that dream Vacation in Hawaii. No black out dates, mean you have the ability to book whenever and wherever you want, even during peak travel periods where luxury beach-front accommodations sleeping 8 will cost no more than $950 for the week in total (not per night as you would pay if renting a whole house)

This is something more and more savvy Holiday and Travel Club members choose to enjoy! Without exhausting family savings, they benefit from the huge leverage Travel Clubs use to make bulk bookings at luxury resorts, condos, suites, villas and cottages around the world. These are then made available to Travel Club Members, at a huge discount – often up to 70% if you find the right Club!

The travel industry rely on these residual bookings to keep their rooms full and the wheels turning in a Trillion dollar industry worldwide! You also benefit – as you and your family save on your flights, accommodation and activities which is why Travel Clubs are more than attractive to a lot of people out there.

Villa on the Mexican Riviera

Those members who have switched from “owning’ timeshare now have the additional benefit of no more annual levies, fees and restrictions on the number of weeks or locations they visit each year.  A lot of travel clubs give members the option to travel 52 weeks of the year; and the chance to book your vacation up to a year ahead.  What an opportunity, especially when you’re retired and have the time and resources to go travel the four corners of the world!

Luxury Room on the Mexican Riviera

There are many travel clubs out there, and most also have contracts with numerous popular travel providers (including major Cruise Lines, Car Hire & Flight Providers, e.g. Fare Buzz).  This all adds up to a premium Travel Club of huge value.

Services often include: a) premium pricing on accommodation weeks at luxury resorts, b) discovery tours worldwide at unheard of prices, c) cash back on all bookings (including cruises, excluding flights) made through your personal online travel portal, and d) a personal travel assistant.

Not many people would turn down the above possibilities… It sure is an attractive incentive for families to visit the beaches and golf courses of the world, this year and every year. Even non-members who book through your site, hoping to escape the gloomy northern winters, can enjoy some of the discounted pricing available.

Many families today agree that Travel clubs are a refreshing and attractive way to make their money go further! There is no need to compromise on the quality of vacations you enjoy, when you take your next holiday.  In fact, the world may just feel a better place, when you decide to join the Travel Club of your choice!

Find Out More Today!

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Downtown During the Olympics – Great Highlight for 2010!

One special day, when my youngest son, Ryan, and I decided to go check out the buzz downtown during the Vancouver Winter Olympic Games in February, 2010!

It was the first time I had traveled on the new Canada Line – which was awesome, so new, and clean and fast. In no time we were down by the Waterfront in Vancouver…

The Waterfront Station is an amazing destination to arrive in Vancouver…  that magnificent old Railway Station building at the bottom of Howe Street is a work of art – history with it’s old colonial style architecture and lofty ceilings.  Stepping out and into a city I thought I knew, but this felt different – very different.  The buildings had been turned into huge symbols – supporting Canada, the Athletes, the Spirit of the Games!

Something was up… or was it just the sunshine – which shone most days in BC. Not common for the MIDDLE of February. In fact – very bizarre, but not many were complaining… even the athletes who had to compromise for more challenging surfaces!

Everywhere we went people were in a good mood, and we found ourselves “drifting along” with the crowd, until we found the Olympic Flame burning bright from the Cauldren further down the waterfront near the Vancouver Convention Centre.  What a difference… I used to work nearby years ago, and could not believe the changes.  The new Convention Centre was now complete (no more pounding from the pylons being hammered into the ground). Vancouver was certainly looking beautiful and the fountains Ryan showed me were pretty spectacular too.

Well, that set the tone for the day and without any set plan, we walked through the city, enjoyed lunch alongside tourists and athletes (those tall guys with the Russia kit on HAD to be from the Ice Hockey team, right?) and found ourselves in front of the Vancouver Art Gallery. There we saw the Countdown clock erected so many years ago when it was still set in years, months, days, hours and seconds.  Something I used to check on returning from work in the evenings…

Kudos to John Furlong and his team of Volunteers ~ all that planning and organizing to produce this phenomenal Olympic experience  Behind the Art Gallery we discovered the Media fun and games taking place in Robson Square. Enthusiastic announcements and music pumping from huge loudspeakers, while commentary hailed loud and clear from TV and Radio stations while scaffolding supported those brave enough to go hurtling through the skies from one tower to another – while crowds below voiced encouragement! One big party in pure sunshine…

The Robson Square Ice Rink was an attraction too and we had a chance to admire the exquisite blue rink along with other visitors and tourists.  Although we weren’t to see any performances by the stars of the day, imagining the moves as seen by millions thanks to the stunning CTV and TSN footage of the Figure Skating, was not difficult.  I could just imagine how thrilling it would be to actually watch something like an exciting Ice Dance routine..

Well, Leonardo was calling from inside the gallery, but unfortunately the crowds had beat me to seeing his Anatomy sketches on exhibition, so I put that expectation aside for another day… and we headed off to Yaletown Roundhouse by skytrain to connect with my eldest son, Matt who had just finished work …

The day ended well, on discovery of the one of the cosiest, coffee shops with excellent service across the road… despite the festivities on the street, it was calm and full of the right coffee and food enticing aromas – somewhere I could quite easily spend a few hours with family and friends chatting and enjoying each others company without feeling pressurized to vacate – “Chez Cafe” the perfect place to end a perfect day!

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Wilderness on the Garden Route, South Africa’s Best Beaches!

Resorts Like These On Beaches Like This Are What Memories Are Made Of!


The World Cup is over in South Africa but many families will continue to make the most of a Travel Club membership to either escape the crowds in their own hometown during the summer, or to enjoy an extra week at the beach thousands of miles away overseas…   Memorable holidays are always a good excuse to “Jabulani!” together and celebrate life at beautiful resorts and destinations worldwide.  That’s why this membership was created and it’s so easy to explore.

If this tweaks your beak, just take a look at the huge selection some Travel Club Members enjoy in quality Travel inventory worldwide.  These are real time inventory listings and change from day to day.  If you need time to decide, you can reserve a resort week (On Hold) for 24 hours, get back to friends and family to confirm, and then book.  The pop-up description gives you more information about the resort, including the Contact information and physical address, weather, facilities – everything you need to know – so you can call them direct to find out more.  I like to look online at the resort website, especially my favorite resorts in Umhlanga Rocks, north of Durban.  It’s just one more way to see the savings our members enjoy…

Our family owned a Timeshare on the popular Natal coast beaches north of Durban, for years! Growing up, we enjoyed multiple week holidays as children and students which were heaven on earth…  Now, my family is spread world wide, but booking our accommodations through a Travel Club we can enjoy the same luxury, without the expense and fees attached to owning Timeshare.  For just a few hundred dollars we are set to enjoy a lifetime of memories on vacations and holidays which are sometimes up to 70% discount… certainly worth it for us.

The above resort is situated above one of the most beautiful beaches in the world in my eyes… at Wilderness in the Cape Province, South Africa!  On a visit to SA a few years back, I hired a car to visit family and drove from George to Plettenberg Bay, in the Cape Province. I remember stopping to look back out over these dunes with an incredible vista of the sea and waves rolling in below – it was stunning!

Wilderness is best known for the tranquil Indian Ocean and stunning beaches which stretch on forever.

Over time it has become an internationally sought after holiday resort. On visiting Wilderness, you will find yourself surrounded by rivers, lakes and lagoons, which makes it a great spot for the water sport enthusiasts, who frequent it.

The 2500 hectares of National Park include five rivers, five lakes, two estuaries and 18 kilometers of coastline. Wilderness sports many types of wildlife, in particular birds. Many types of water birds breed here and this makes it ideal for bird-watchers. Recreation activities also include hiking, dolphin and whale-watching, hang-gliding, paragliding, horse riding, mountain-biking, scenic drives, Wilderness Lakes Art Route, day tours, ferry cruises, angling, boating and other water sports.

Wilderness is also home to skilled craftsmen and women in the area. Their work is often for sale and tourists can pick up many bargains at craft markets held each month. This and many other interesting aspects of the town add to a wonderful rustic charm.

A destination well worth a visit by any tourist on the Garden Route; it truly is a place of timeless beauty!  Find out how you and/or your family could stay at resorts, condos, villas, cottages in places like this on your next trip.

Posted in Africa, ARTICLES, club sea breeze, south africa, timeshare, travel club, travel member | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment