F/A-18E Super Hornet

Raptors, Mustangs, and the Blue Angels – by Randy

OK, we know our followers read our blog to keep up with the travels of our family aboard our 50 foot Sea Ray Motor Yacht the “Pilot’s Discretion.” We assure you that we are making significant improvements to our floating home to prepare her for the next chapter in our cruising life and we will be chronicling those improvements as well as sharing our future cruising plans in posts in the near future.

For now, we hope you will indulge us as we go off on a brief tangent about all things flying machine related (after all, our boat is named after an air traffic control term related to an altitude clearance). With the exception of 2020, as a result of the COVID 19 pandemic, springtime in Florida means warming temperatures and the Sun N’ Fun Fly In Aerospace Expo in Lakeland Florida. This year the fly in played host to thousands of pilots and hundreds of airplanes of every type and size from single seat home-builts all the way up to the US Air Force’s massive C17.

C-17
C-17

This years event represented two notable events for our Navy’s Blue Angel flight demonstration team. First, 2021 is the 75th anniversary of the founding of the Blue Angels at the direction of Admiral Chester Nimitz. This years Blue Angels show in Lakeland represents the first demonstration of the Blue Angels since switching from the F/A18 Hornet to the F/A18E Super Hornet.

F/A-18E Super Hornet
F/A-18E Super Hornet

To the non pilot, the differences between the legacy Hornet and the new Super Hornet might seem hard to discern but the Super Hornet has lots of improvements all pilots love. More power, more fuel, more payload are all noticeable improvements to the Super Hornet. When you give a plane with the Super Hornets capabilities to the Blue Angels, you get a very loud and impressive improvement to their already legendary air show.

In addition to the Blue Angels we also enjoyed watching the F-22 Raptor demonstration as well as a very cool formation flight pairing our most advanced fighter, the F-22, with the legendary WW2 fighter the P-51 Mustang.

F-22 Raptor
F-22 Raptor

The combination of the roar of the Raptor in full afterburner and the sweet sound of the Mustang’s V12 Rolls Royce Merlin engine was at least as mesmerizing to a pilot as any Pavarotti aria or Rolling Stones live show.

F-22 Raptor, P-51 Mustang, A-10 Thunderbolt
F-22 Raptor, P-51 Mustang, A-10 Thunderbolt

All in all, our day at Sun N’ Fun 2021 was a perfect way to celebrate our son Ronan’s 15th birthday with the added bonus that we finally are feeling like our year in isolation as a result of Covid 19 may be fading into the history books.

Ryan & Ronan, prime viewing
Ryan & Ronan, prime viewing

Ryan, Randy & Ronan
Ryan, Randy & Ronan

Here’s hoping 2021 brings good health and new adventures for our family as well as yours.

Merry Christmas

Christmas 2020, the Holiday Spirit With Built in Social Distancing🎅🏻😉 – by Randy

Like families the world over, we are adjusting to the new norms in a world with COVID-19. We have limited our family gatherings, forgone the holiday parties, and avoided public places. As followers of this blog already know we have spent 5 previous Christmases aboard. This year we decided to enjoy Christmas in Florida at Caladesi Island State Park. We are attaching a short video to share some of the isolated beauty that we experienced this Christmas.

It turned out to be the perfect socially distant choice given the circumstances of 2020. We arrived at Caladesi Island on December 22 and stayed through Christmas Day. The beautiful Caladesi Island Marina (a 100 plus slip marina with floating docks) was empty, save two other intrepid cruising couples who, like us, wanted to spend Christmas afloat on one of Florida’s most beautiful and isolated state parks.

Dolphin at sunset
Dolphin at sunset
Ronan & Ryan
Ronan & Ryan

We hope everyone enjoyed their holiday and are wishing everyone all the best in the New Year! Hopefully, 2021 will give us all the opportunity to enjoy a more traditional and festive holiday season.

Cheers 2020
Cheers 2020
Beach snowman
Beach snowman

Ronan & Ryan at Cay Costa Cay, FL

Socially Distant Cruising

Below is a video of our last year’s Thanksgiving and Christmas Cruises. We are very much looking forward to this year’s Thanksgiving and Christmas cruises. Being out on the water is an excellent way to stay socially distant and safe while enjoying time with the family. #Gratitude.

Wishing everyone safe and enjoyable holidays!

See the source image
Caladesi Island State Park (Nov. 2019)

CALADESI ISLAND, FL – 2019 (By Theresa)

Below is a short video-clip of our recent excursion to Caladesi Island State Park, a little slice of paradise about an hour south of our home port in Tarpon Springs, FL. Randy’s sister Patti joined us on our sojourn, making the trip even more special.

The swaying palms, pristine white sand beaches, and crystal clear aqua-marine waters rivaled many of the beaches we have visited in the Caribbean.

Caladesi Island State Park (Nov. 2019) Caladesi Island State Park (Nov. 2019)
Caladesi Island State Park (Nov. 2019) Caladesi Island State Park (Nov. 2019)

The island is also home to  scenic nature and hiking trails. We were fortunate enough to get a personal guided tour of the island with the park ranger and a nature trail guide.

Patti, Park Ranger & Nature hike guide (Nov. 2019) Patti, Park Ranger & Nature hike guide (Nov. 2019)

Ryan on the nature trail, Caladesi Island State Park (Nov. 2019) Ryan on the nature trail, Caladesi Island State Park (Nov. 2019)
Patti, Caladesi Island State Park (Nov. 2019) Patti, Caladesi Island State Park (Nov. 2019)

We all enjoyed he beauty of the island and continue to love being out on the water.

R&R at the beach, Caladesi Island, FL (Oct. 2019) R&R at the beach, Caladesi Island, FL (Oct. 2019)
R&R at the beach, Caladesi Island, FL (Oct. 2019) R&R at the beach, Caladesi Island, FL (Oct. 2019)
Ronan & Randy (Nov. 2019) Ronan & Randy (Nov. 2019)
Randy & Patti (Nov. 2019) Randy & Patti (Nov. 2019)
Ryan at the helm cruising past Three Rooker Bar (Nov. 2019) Ryan at the helm, cruising past Three Rooker Bar (Nov. 2019)
Theresa & Marlow (Nov. 2019) Theresa & Marlow (Nov. 2019)
Randy on the bow, Caladesi Island, FL (Oct. 2019) Randy on the bow, Caladesi Island, FL (Oct. 2019)

In an ironic twist of fate, as we were departing Caladesi Island, we passed the incoming ferry. Later in the day, we received an email from friends of ours, Gail and Jason (S/V Two Fish) who were our boat marina neighbors in Grenada in 2015.  It  turns out they were on the ferry headed to Caladesi Island and snapped a photo of Pilots’ Discretion in the channel departing the island.

Ferry to Caladesi Island State Park, FL (Oct. 2019) Ferry to Caladesi Island State Park, FL (Oct. 2019)
Pilots’ Discretion leaving Caladesi Island (2019) Pilots’ Discretion leaving Caladesi Island (2019)

It is a very small world indeed that our bows have passed in this fashion!

We have more boating adventures on the horizon. Details to follow.

 

Ronan, Ryan, and Doug Milne (PGA Tour Sr. Media Manager) in PGA Media Center (March 2019)

RONAN’S PGA GOLF DEBUT (March 2019) – by Theresa

Warning, this post is not boat related, however, it does recount a recent, amazing landlubber, encounter at the 2019 PGA Valspar Championship, where Ronan, 12, received the surprise of a lifetime when he got to play the 18th hole with reigning champion Paul Casey, and Sergio Garcia!

Click here for full PGA.com article and video “Ronan Mowrey, 12, sees ‘Most Colorful PGA Tour Tournament in the World’ Through New Lens” by Doug Milne (March 21, 2019).

Below are a few pictures that we snapped along the way.

Reigning PGA Valspar champion, Paul Casey, surprises Ronan during his interview on the 18th hole (2019 PGA Valspar Championship)

Reigning PGA Valspar champion, Paul Casey, surprises Ronan during his interview on the 18th hole (2019 PGA Valspar Championship)

Reigning PGA Valspar champion, Paul Casey, surprises Ronan during his interview on the 18th hole (2019 PGA Valspar Championship)

Reigning PGA Valspar champion, Paul Casey, surprises Ronan during his interview on the 18th hole (2019 PGA Valspar Championship)

Reigning PGA Valspar champion, invites Ronan to play the 18th hole with him and Sergio Garcia (2019 PGA Valspar Championship)

Reigning PGA Valspar champion, invites Ronan to play the 18th hole with him and Sergio Garcia (2019 PGA Valspar Championship)

Paul Casey drives on the 18th (2019 Valspar Championship - Practice Round)

Paul Casey drives on the 18th (2019 Valspar Championship – Practice Round)

Sergio Garcia tees up drive on the 18th (2019 Valspar Championship)

Sergio Garcia tees up drive on the 18th (2019 Valspar Championship – Practice Round)

Ronan prepares to drive on the 18th (with Paul Casey and Sergio Garcia looking on) (March 2019)

Ronan prepares to drive on the 18th (with Paul Casey, and Sergio Garcia, looking on) (March 2019)

Sergio Garcia, Ronan and Paul Casey on the 18th fairway (2019 Valspar Championship - Practice Round)

Sergio Garcia, Ronan, and Paul Casey on the 18th fairway (2019 Valspar Championship – Practice Round)

Ronan, Paul Casey and Sergio Garcia on the 18th green (March 2019)

Ronan, Paul Casey, and Sergio Garcia on the 18th green (March 2019)

 

Reigning PGA Valspar Champion Paul Casey giving Ronan his new EnChroma glasses! (March 2019)

Reigning PGA Valspar Champion Paul Casey giving Ronan his new EnChroma glasses! (March 2019)

PGA Valspar Champion, Paul Casey, and Ronan, finishing up the 18th hole (March 2019)

PGA Valspar Champion, Paul Casey, and Ronan, finishing up the 18th hole (March 2019)

Ronan’s special day at the Valspar PGA championship this past Tuesday was full of surprises, and thanks to the EnChroma glasses that Paul Casey surprised Ronan with on the 18th hole, Ronan is now seeing the world in a w”hole” (pun intended) new, and more colorful way! In addition to the kindness and generosity of both Paul Casey, and Sergio Garcia, there were a lot of wonderful people behind the scenes that worked to make our sons’, Ryan and Ronan’s, day at Valspar unforgettable.  Our heartfelt appreciation is extended to all who contributed to making the entire event so incredibly spectacular!

Click here for full PGA.com article and video “Ronan Mowrey, 12, sees ‘Most Colorful PGA Tour Tournament in the World; Through New Lens” by Doug Milne (March 21, 2019).