Westerbeak Marine Generator

How to Change the Oil in a Marine Generator in a Vessel With an Electric Oil Change System – by Ryan

On a vessel, everybody needs to know how to do everything. If one member of the crew is not there to take care of something, another person must be able to complete the task. On most boats, electricity comes from the generator and it runs on fuel. To keep running the generator requires its oil to be changed every one hundred running hours. This process is not as easy as just buying some oil and filling a tank, but needs an assortment of supplies and it takes many steps to complete this job. First, you must gather the appropriate supplies. This includes:

  • Motor oil of proper viscosity,
  • 5 gallon bucket,
  • Funnel,
  • New generator filter,
  • Garden hose,
  • Paper towels; and
  • 1 ½″ thick 3′ long rubber hose.

Before you start, it is a good idea to have paper towels, or special oil absorbent cloths, set aside to wipe down spilled oil or to clean the area that you are working in.

Once in the engine room, open the generator selector valve and attach the rubber hose to the pump discharge fitting. Place the 5 gallon bucket at the end of the rubber hose that is not being used. Flip the pump switch to drain position and pump the dirty oil into the bucket.

Ryan pumping the old fuel out of the generator

Ryan pumping the old oil out of the generator.

Next, disconnect the oil hose pump, wipe off any residual oil, and stow it away.

Ryan disconnecting the oil pump hose

Ryan disconnecting the oil pump hose

Coil the hose, wipe it clean & put stow it away

Coil the hose, wipe it clean & stow it away

Stowing the hose away

Stowing the hose away

Next, locate and unscrew the old oil filter. Clean the threads of the oil filter with paper towels, and securely dispose of any residual oil in the old oil filter.

Ryan pointing to the old oil filter

Ryan pointing to the old oil filter

Remove the old oil filter

Remove the old oil filter

Drain oil out of old oil filter into secure receptacle

Drain oil out of old oil filter into secure receptacle

Securely dispose of old oil filter

Securely dispose of old oil filter

Before installing the new oil filter wipe clean oil on the O-ring of it.

Dip finger in oil to lube ring of new oil filter

Dip finger in oil to lube ring of new oil filter

Lube outer ring of new filter with clean oil

Lube outer ring of new filter with clean oil

After wiping clean oil on the new filter, screw it in where the old oil filter was and hand tighten.

Secure new oil filter. Tighten with hand grip.

Secure new oil filter. Tighten with hand grip.

Next, disconnect the rubber hose from the pump discharge fitting. Pop the cap off where the oil is to be inserted into the generator and insert a funnel.

With funnel securely in oil input valve, pour in new diesel oil

With funnel securely in oil input valve, pour in new diesel oil

Carefully, pick up the five quart container with clean oil and pour approximately 4 quarts through the funnel. Be sure to pour it slowly or it will overflow over the funnel making a mess.

With funnel secure in oil input valve, add Diesel Oil

With funnel secure in oil input valve, add Diesel Oil

After adding approximately four (4) quarts of oil, take out the dip stick to check its level.

Ryan checking the dip stick oil level

Ryan checking the dip stick oil level

If the dip stick does not reflect the amount of oil inserted into the generator, you should probably check for a leak or other malfunction that could cause this. If the dip stick indicates it needs more oil, then  poor one more quart of oil through funnel before placing the cap back on.

Add another quart of oil

Add another quart of oil

Since this is a messy job, now would be the time to wipe down any spilled oil with paper towels, or oil absorbent cloths and to securely dispose of all of the garbage from this project.

Use oil absorbent cloth to clean any drips and spills

Use oil absorbent cloth to clean any drips and spills

Cleaning the engine room bilge

Cleaning the engine room bilge

It is also helpful to spray down the engine room with a garden hose to further clean up the mess. Once everything is closed back up, you should run the generator with no load to check for leaks. If there are not any leaks seal up the generator cover.

Close up and secure sound shield covering on generator

Close up and secure sound shield covering on generator

Secure sound and fire proof generator shield

Secure sound and fire proof generator shield

Finally, so you know when to change the oil next, log the generator’s hours in your captain’s log.

New marina at Nanny Cay, Tortola, BVI (March 2018)

NANNY CAY, TORTOLA SIX MONTHS AFTER HURRICANE IRMA

When we arrived at Nanny Cay, we realized that the marina that we have known for many years was no longer there. In a separate and newly constructed sheltered basin, Nanny Cay has built a brand new marina with very substantial, state of the art floating docks, complete with 50 & 60 Hz power, potable water and high speed internet.

New marina at Nanny Cay, Tortola, BVI (March 2018)

New marina at Nanny Cay, Tortola, BVI (March 2018)

A walk of a few hundred yards takes you to where the previous docks once were. In their place are many hulks and partially sunken boats of every description.

Old marina docks at Nanny Cay Marina, Tortola, BVI (March 2018)

Old marina docks at Nanny Cay Marina, Tortola, BVI (March 2018)

Old marina at Nanny Cay, Tortola, BVI (March 2018)

Old marina at Nanny Cay, Tortola, BVI (March 2018)

For us, Nanny Cay quickly became the dichotomy that is the current maritime industry in the BVIs. Many new and gleaming boats and support facilities standing next to boats and structures that have been irreparably damaged beyond recognition.

New fleet of Marine Max Power Cats in new Nanny Cay Marina, Tortola, BVI (March 2018)

New fleet of Marine Max Power Cats in new Nanny Cay Marina, Tortola, BVI (March 2018)

Salvaged vessel in the boat yard, Nanny Cay, Tortola, BVI (March 2018)

Salvaged vessel in the boat yard, Nanny Cay, Tortola, BVI (March 2018)

New cell tower, Nanny Cay, Tortola, BVI (March 2018)

New cell tower, Nanny Cay, Tortola, BVI (March 2018)

Flowers blooming in front of destroyed Peg Legs Reestaurant, Nanny Cay, Tortola, BVI (March 2018)

Flowers blooming in front of destroyed Peg Legs Restaurant, Nanny Cay, Tortola, BVI (March 2018)

That said, there was fuel available at the fuel dock and the boat yard, shops and restaurants were open for service. There was also a well supplied chandlery on premises. We were met with smiling faces of the staff that have now become our friends, their strength through adversity is both humbling and reassuring.

During our stay in Nanny Cay we discovered a stow away aboard Pilots’ Discretion.

Stow away, Nanny Cay Marina, Tortola, British Virgin Islands

Stow away, Nanny Cay Marina, Tortola, British Virgin Islands

It turns out our stow away “Truffles” actually resided on a neighboring boat, and just liked spending time on our boat.

While at Nanny Cay we also encountered another creature, unlike any that any of us had ever seen before. It was about 6′-8″ in diameter and glided through the water with wing-like grace, bobbing its upper extremity up and down out of the water.

Aplysia Morio

Aplysia Morio

Unable to determine is species, we posted a video of it online, soliciting the input from of our Caribbean diving buddies to help us identify the curious creature.

We were subsequently informed that it is an Aplysia Morio, the Atlantic Black Sea Hare or Sooty Sea Hare, a species of sea slug. It is a marine gastropod mollusk in the family Aplysiidae, the sea hares. It lives in warm waters in the Caribbean Sea and off the south and southeastern coast of the United States, where it feeds on seaweed. seaweed.harehttps://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aplysia_morio

After spending a few days at Nanny Cay, provisioning, tending to boat maintenance and generally relaxing, we welcomed aboard one of Randy’s fellow pilots and friend “Scott” for a quick visit. Scott had previously visited us in the BVIs several years ago so we were curious to see what his reaction would be to the post hurricane islands. Day 1 with Scott aboard, we departed Nanny Cay for Gorda Sound on the north end of Virgin Gorda (and the site of some of the most devastating Hurricane Irma damage). More on Gorda Sound, Virgin Gorda in our next post.

BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS – SPANISH TOWN, VIRGIN GORDA, SIX MONTHS AFTER HURRICANE IRMA – by Theresa

Our family has been traveling to the British Virgin Islands (BVIs) for many years, beginning with bareboat charters in 2011 and 2013. In fact, it was during these bareboat charters that we first began discussing the possibility of cruising the Caribbean in our own boat. Making that dream a reality and returning to the BVIs in our own boat was one of the countless surreal moments that we have  encountered during our Caribbean cruising journey [See British Virgin Islands (2015)].

In the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Irma, it was with a heavy heart that we viewed the before and after photos of the BVIs. [See British Virgin Islands – Before & After Hurricane Irma (2017)]. Like everyone else, we were shocked by the images of destruction that made their way into the news.  We tracked the Islands’ recovery efforts closely, knowing that we would be stopping there on our journey north. Six months after Irma, we returned to the British Virgin Islands, unsure of what we would find.

VIRGIN GORDA – SPANISH TOWN

From St. Martin, we set a  north westwardly course, across the 80 mile Anegada passage, towards the BVIs.  During our  previous channel crossings we routinely encountered dozens of other vessels. On our most recent crossing, we passed only one other vessel, a magnificent 100 foot sailing yacht. After seeing Marigot Bay in St. Martin nearly deserted, we were not sure what to expect as we sailed past Necker Island, unofficially marking our entrance into the waters of the BVIs.

On previous westbound visits to the BVIs we had cleared in at the closest point of entry, Gun Creek, on the east end of Virgin Gorda, in North Gorda Sound.

Map_BVI

Map_BVI

Since North Gorda Sound was hit hard by Hurricane Irma, the Gun Creek Customs and Immigration was no longer a clearing-in option. Instead, we headed down to the next closest clear-in office located in Spanish Town, on the north shore of Virgin Gorda, almost to the west end of island.  We had been there on previous visits to the BVIs so we were familiar with the port. We called ahead to confirm slip availability and to see what marine services were available. When we arrived, the marina was barely recognizable.

Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbor, Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands (March 2018)

Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbor, Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands (March 2018)

Tying up to the dock was a challenge because cleats were either missing or broken in half. Tying off to a half cleat required quick knot tying adjustments. The marina’s power distribution grid and associated dockside power pedestals had been totally destroyed. The only potable water available to boats in the marina is via a single fresh water spigot. Again, the dockside water distribution lines have been totally destroyed. The marina did have a functioning diesel fuel pump so refueling at the VGYH remains an option.

Once Pilots’ Discretion was secure in her slip, we set out to clear immigration and customs. Irma’s destruction was readily apparent. We saw cleats with lines still tied to them, but with no boats attached to the snapped lines, a sign of just how strong the force on the line and it’s now missing boat  was.

Cleat with snapped line still attached, Tortola (March 2018)

Cleat with snapped line still attached, Tortola (March 2018)

All that remained at the end of the dock, where the marina restaurant once stood, was a flat wooden platform.

Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbor old dockside restaurant, Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands (March 2018)

Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbor old dockside restaurant, Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands (March 2018)

Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbor, old dockside restaurant, Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands (March 2018)

Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbor, old dockside restaurant, Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands (March 2018)

The small shopping center, that use to house the dive and gift shops, was all boarded up and missing its walls and roof.

Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbor old shopping center, Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands (March 2018)

Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbor old shopping center, Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands (March 2018)

Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbor, old shopping center (missing roof, walls & windows), Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands (March 2018)

Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbor, old shopping center (missing roof, walls & windows), Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands (March 2018)

The grocery store was likewise destroyed.

Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbor, old grocery store (missing roof, walls & windows), Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands (March 2018)

Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbor, old grocery store (missing roof, walls & windows), Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands (March 2018)

Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbor, old grocery store (missing roof, walls & windows), Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands (March 2018)

Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbor, old grocery store (missing roof, walls & windows), Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands (March 2018)

Immigration & Customs was housed in a building a short walk  through what used  to be a grass field. That field has since been converted into a boat grave yard for the multitude of damaged and salvaged vessels.

Boat grave yard in the field next to Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbor, Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands (March 2018)

Boat grave yard in the field next to Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbor, Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands (March 2018)

Boat grave yard in the field next to Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbor, Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands (March 2018)

Boat grave yard in the field next to Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbor, Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands (March 2018)

Boat grave yard in the field next to Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbor, Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands (March 2018)

Boat grave yard in the field next to Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbor, Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands (March 2018)

We were repeatedly told that damaged buildings and boats remain untouched six months after the hurricane because of pending, unresolved insurance claims.

Despite all of the damage, everyone we encountered was warm, friendly and inviting. Everyone thanked us for coming. Signs of recovery could be seen in the numerous new charter boats pulling into the marina.

Marine Max charter arriving in Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbor, Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands (March 2018)

Marine Max charter arriving in Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbor, Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands (March 2018)

Moorings charters arriving in Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbor, Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands (March 2018)

Moorings charters arriving in Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbor, Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands (March 2018)

Taxis were lined up in the parking lot waiting to take passengers to the popular tourist spot nearby, The Baths. Many of the shops and restaurants that had previously been a part of the marina grounds have relocated a few blocks away.

In sum, Spanish Town remains a viable choice to clear customs and immigration and to pick up a taxi to the “The Bathsnational park or nearby shops or restaurants. There is no way to stop at the Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbor without being confronted with the dramatic destruction left in the wake of last hurricane season. We spent one night in Spanish Town before moving on to Nanny Cay Marina, in Tortola. Nanny Cay served as the headquarters for the post-hurricane Irma relief efforts mounted by the British Royal Marines. We had received reports that Nanny Cay had just installed a large section of new floating docks and that they had water, electricity and fuel available. As a result, we were comfortable that we would be able to secure adequate services for our floating home. More on Nanny Cay in our next post.

Marigot Bay, St. Martin (Left, March 2015 and Right, March 2018)

ST. MARTIN – SIX MONTHS AFTER HURRICANE IRMA – by Theresa

The cruisers’ forums have been reporting that in the six months since  St. Martin took a direct hit from Category 5 Hurricane Irma, recovery efforts have been, not surprisingly, slow and arduous. Countless wrecks had to be removed from the navigatable waters and docks needed to be repaired and/or replaced. Repairs to the marine infrastructure were secondary to repairs to individuals’ homes, businesses and land infrastructure. With all of that in mind, we approached the island trepidatiously and with an eye towards assisting in the recovery efforts.

We had heard through the coconut telegraph that Fort Louis Marina, in Marigot Bay, had partially reopened. We had enjoyed our stays there previously in 2015 and 2016 [see St. Martin (2015) and St. Martin (2016)], so we were glad to learn that they had survived the storm. We contacted the marina in advance of our arrival to determine what marine services were available. They informed us that fuel, water, electric and floating docs were all available. We spent the first night in St. Martin on the hook in Marigot Bay, astonishinly, one of only a few boats in the entire bay.

Pilots' Discretion Position Report (March 2018)

Pilots’ Discretion Position Report (March 2018)

We picked up fuel in the marina first thing the next morning and then tied up to a floating dock. The dock staff were fantastic, setting up brand new / movable cleats exactly where we needed them to hold the boat.

Pilots' Discretion in her slip (floating docks), Fort Louis Marina, St. Martin (March 2018)

Pilots’ Discretion in her slip (floating docks, Moorings sailboat pulling in port side, astern), Fort Louis Marina, St. Martin (March 2018)

After securing the boat, we headed towards the office to clear immigration  & customs, and to check in to the marina. It was then that we got our first glimpses of the devastation that Irma had bestowed upon the island. Six months after the hurricane had past, one might justly have concluded that it had just blown through the day before. As boaters, it was hard for us to look upon vessels, sunken in their slips.

Ryan looking over the sunken vessels, Fort Louis Marina, St. Martin (March 2018)

Ryan looking over a sunken vessel (snapped of mast lying on the dock), Fort Louis Marina, St. Martin (March 2018)

Ryan looking over the sunken vessels, Fort Louis Marina, St. Martin (March 2018)

Ryan looking over a sunken vessels, Fort Louis Marina, St. Martin (March 2018)

Sunken vessels, Fort Louis Marina, St. Martin (March 2018)

Sunken vessels, Fort Louis Marina, St. Martin (March 2018)

Sunken vessle, Fort Louis Marina, St. Martin (March 2018)

Sunken vessel, Fort Louis Marina, St. Martin (March 2018)

Half of the marina was closed as the docks and water and electric pedestals were in complete disrepair.

Damaged docks, Fort Louis Marina, St. Martin (March 2018)

Damaged docks, Fort Louis Marina, St. Martin (March 2018)

Damaged docks, Fort Louis Marina, St. Martin (March 2018)

Damaged docks, Fort Louis Marina, St. Martin (March 2018)

It was both evident and comforting to see that efforts were being made to repair the docks, including rewiring the electric.

Damaged docks, Fort Louis Marina, St. Martin (March 2018)

Damaged docks, Fort Louis Marina, St. Martin (March 2018)

Looking past more sunken boats and mangled docks, we saw hotels that were still without roofs and windows.

Damaged docks, sunken vessel, missing roofs, Fort Louis Marina / Marigot Bay St. Martin (March 2018)

Damaged docks, sunken vessel, missing roofs, Fort Louis Marina / Marigot Bay St. Martin (March 2018)

The old Fort Louis Marina office, had not yet reopened, because it, too, suffered the wrath of Irma. We were told the windows blew out and the wind and water destroyed everything in side.

Old marina office, Fort Louis Marina, St. Martin (March 2108)

Old marina office, Fort Louis Marina, St. Martin (March 2108)

Old office, Fort Louis Marina, Marigot Bay, St. Martin (March 2018)

Old office, Fort Louis Marina, Marigot Bay, St. Martin (March 2018)

The new office and the immigration & customs clearing-in computer have been relocated to the building directly accross the street from the marina.

Once outside, we saw more remnants of Irma. Streetlights and signs were bent over and concrete sidewalks were torn up. There was hardly a car in the parking lot that did not show some sign of hurricane damage.

St. Martin (March 2018)

St. Martin (March 2018)

Random boat debris and road or sidewalk hazards were roped off with caution tape. A disconnected center console hardtop (with seats and rear fridge) on the sidewalk was an unusual sight. However, the backdrop of the beautiful yachts in the water, directly behind the still visible signs of Irma’s destructive powers, showed clear signs that the marine community is recovering.

St. Martin (March 2018)

St. Martin (March 2018)

Many of the European candelabra style streetlights just outside the marina were damaged. LED floodlights atop the poles provided adequate interim lighting.

LED floodlight - temporary light fixture fix, Marigot Bay, St. Martin (March 2018)

LED floodlight – temporary light fixture fix, Marigot Bay, St. Martin (March 2018)

LED floodlight - temporary light fixture fix, Marigot Bay, St. Martin (March 2018)

LED floodlight – temporary light fixture fix, Marigot Bay, St. Martin (March 2018)

After clearing in, we strolled around the area. The Saint Martin Yacht Club, just outside and to the left of the marina, was open. While it suffered some damage to its glass balcony, it is a great waterfront spot for a waterside sundowner or a meal.

Marigot Bay Yacht Club, St. Martin (March 2018)

Marigot Bay Yacht Club, St. Martin (March 2018)

While walking along the waterfront, we saw more than the usual amount of Iguanas. Perhaps there homes, too, were disrupted by the storms.

Iguana, Fort Louis Marina, St. Martin (March 2018)

Iguana, Fort Louis Marina, St. Martin (March 2018)

Iguanas, Marigot Bay, St. Martin (March 2018)

Iguanas, Marigot Bay, St. Martin (March 2018)

A short walk outside, and to the right, of the marina, we found the West Indies Shopping Mall open for business.

West Indies Shopping Mall, Marigot Bay, St. Martin (March 2018)

West Indies Shopping Mall, Marigot Bay, St. Martin (March 2018)

Down by the ferry docks, people were taking pictures in front of the infamaous “I love SXM” sign. The ferries to Anguilla and St. Bart were running on schedule and most of the restaurants in the square by the ferry docs were open.

Ryan, Marigot Bay, St. Martin (March 2018)

Ryan, Marigot Bay, St. Martin (March 2018)

On previous visits, we had hiked to Fort Louis, at the top of the mountain just outside the marina. See St. Martin (2015) and St. Martin (2016)

Fort Louis, St. Martin

Fort Louis, St. Martin

The fort always provided stunning views of the marina and Marigot Bay below. The views were still stunning, however, the cautionary tape at the eroded precipice was yet another sign of the damage Irma left behind.

Fort Louis, Marigot Bay, St. Martin (March 2018)

Fort Louis, Marigot Bay, St. Martin (March 2018)

Looking out from the fort, we saw many blue tarps providing shelter to those structures still without roofs.

Marigot, St. Martin (March 2018)

Marigot, St. Martin (March 2018)

Marigot, St. Martin (March 2018)

Marigot, St. Martin (March 2018)

The most stunning view was that of Marigot bay. The lack of vessels in the bay below was a stark juxtaposition to our previous visits to Marigot Bay and a strong signal that the level of marine tourism in St. Martin has declined precipitously.

Marigot Bay, St. Martin (March 2015)

Marigot Bay, St. Martin (March 2015)

Marigot Bay, St. Martin (March 2018)

Marigot Bay, St. Martin (March 2018)

Marigot Bay and Simpson’s Lagoon, St. Martin, (March 2015)

Marigot Bay and Simpson’s Lagoon, St. Martin, (March 2015)

Marigot Bay and Simpson’s Lagoon, St. Martin, (March 2018)

Marigot Bay and Simpson’s Lagoon, St. Martin, (March 2018)

We did not travel outside of Marigot Bay, as we have on previous visits [see St. Martin (2015) and St. Martin (2016)], so we cannot report on how the rest of the island is faring. What we can say is, what we saw in Marigot Bay was the strength and resolve of the people to rebuild their beautiful island. Everyone we met was warm, friendly and inviting. In sum, St. Martin is still a beautiful cruising destination.

Our next port of call, The British Virgin Islands (BVIs), also took a direct hit from Hurricane Irma. More on what we encountered in the BVIs in our next post.

ST. EUSTATIUS (a.k.a. STATIA) – DUTCH CARIBBEAN – by Theresa

St. Eustatius (Statia), a Dutch Caribbean island in the  East Indies, is not a popular tourist destination, however, it is every bit as beautiful as her Caribbean tourist-destination counterparts. In fact, the lack of tourist(s)/tourism adds to the island’s overall charm.

Quill Volcano & Oranje Bay, St. Eustatius (Dutch Caribbean)

Quill Volcano & Oranje Bay, St. Eustatius (Dutch Caribbean)

Since we began cruising, in 2014, we have not missed an opportunity to stop in Oranje Bay in Statia. See Statia (2015/05/14). When we first pulled into port, in 2015, the boys had been learning about volcanoes in science. Picking up a mooring ball at the base of the Quill Volcano brought their lessons blazing to life!

Ryan & Ronan hoisting courtesey Statia flag (March 2015)

Ryan & Ronan hoisting courtesey Statia flag (March 2015)

Hiking to the top of the Quill Volcano in 2015 was an amazing experience and not one any of us will soon forget. Statia (2015/05/14). Each time we have pulled into Oranje Bay since then, with the Quill Volcano ominously towering over the Bay, I have marveled at the island’s natural beauty. This time (2018), I couldn’t help but notice the towering figures of the boys in front of the volcano. I guess the sea air has been good for these growing young men these past three years!

Ryan & Ronan hoisting courtesey Statia flag (March 2018)

Ryan & Ronan hoisting courtesey Statia flag (March 2018)

Among the things we love about Statia are her historical ties to the United States. On November 16, 1776, the guns of Statia’s Fort Oranje were ordered to return the salute of the U.S. Brig Andrea Doria, thereby becoming the first salute by a foreign power to recognize the sovereignty of the United States of America during the Revolutionary War.

First Salute Plaque

First Salute Plaque

Statia Day Plaque

Statia Day Plaque

Fort Oranje is just a short walk up the hill and is rewarded with sweeping views of the Oranje Bay.

Oranje Bay, St. Eustatius (Dutch Caribbean), Piltos' Discretion in the center of the bay below (2018)

Oranje Bay, St. Eustatius (Dutch Caribbean), Pilots’ Discretion in the center of the bay below (2018)

Cannon, Fort Oranje, St. Eustatius (Dutch Caribbean), Pilots' Discretion on the left in the bay below

Cannon, Fort Oranje, St. Eustatius (Dutch Caribbean), Pilots’ Discretion on the left in the bay below

Over 242 years later, the fort still stands strong.

Ryan & Ronan running around Fort Oranje, St. Eustatius (Dutch Caribbean) (2018)

Ryan & Ronan running around Fort Oranje, St. Eustatius (Dutch Caribbean) (2018)

Walkway, Fort Oranje, St. Eustatius (Dutch Caribbean)

Walkway, Fort Oranje, St. Eustatius (Dutch Caribbean)

Sundial, Fort Oranje, St. Eustatius (Dutch Caribbean)

Sundial, Fort Oranje, St. Eustatius (Dutch Caribbean)

Some of the more recent (roof) additions to fort did not fare as well after hurricane Irma.

Missing roof on building in Fort Oranje, St. Eustatius (Dutch Caribbean)

Missing roof on building in Fort Oranje, St. Eustatius (Dutch Caribbean)

Other parts of the island also seemed to have been adversely impacted by Irma and Maria.

Missing roof, Waterfront restaurant, Fort Oranje, St. Eustatius (Dutch Caribbean)

Missing roof, Waterfront restaurant, Fort Oranje, St. Eustatius (Dutch Caribbean)

Grounded sailboat, St. Eustatius (2018), Piltots' Discretion anchored in the background

Grounded sailboat, St. Eustatius (2018), Pilots’ Discretion anchored in the background.

We were glad to see one of our favorite restauarant/hotels, The Old Gin House, was still standing.

Old Gin House Hotel & Restaurant, St. Eustatius (2018)

Old Gin House Hotel & Restaurant, St. Eustatius (2018)

Old Gin House Hotel & Restaurant, St. Eustatius (2018)

Old Gin House Hotel & Restaurant, St. Eustatius (2018)

A rare 0-1′ weather window had us continuing our journey north to St. Martin.

Passing Saba, 0-1 foot seas

Passing Saba, 0-1 foot seas

Ryan & Randy at the helm - Statia to St. Martin (2018)

Ryan & Randy at the helm – Statia to St. Martin (2018)

St. Martin took a direct hit from hurricane Irma. More on what we found there in our next post.

Season 4: Post Irma – Cruising Martinique, Dominica & Guadeloupe – by Theresa

February, 2018, we readied the Pilots’ Discretion for sea, which included, among other things, the boys assisting Gaza (a dear friend and our ‘go to guy’ in St. Lucia  for a wide array of boat projects) polishing the Eisenglass. They did such an amazing  job, when they were done, the Eisenglass looked brand new! Additionally, we finished upgrading our inverter/battery chargers, serviced our main engines and genset and made one final run to Mega Massey to provision the boat.Ronan, Gaza & Ryan - Eisenglass done!Ronan, Gaza & Ryan – Eisenglass done!

Randy & Gaza finishing up the Eisenglass, St. Lucia (2018)

Randy & Gaza finishing up the Eisenglass, St. Lucia (2018)

A few days prior to departing St. Lucia, Ronan and I encountered a famous St. Lucian Soca/Gospel singer, Denver Pierre,  filming a music video at Rodney Bay Marina, where our boat was. He asked Ronan to be in the video. In the final video Ronan is shown 19 seconds in & again at 1:58.

It is a positive message themed song and video and it also shows a lot of nice video footage out and about in St. Lucia.

February 25, 2018

The day we departed St. Lucia was bitter sweet for us. In addition to the melancholy feelings associated with leaving an island where we had spent a significant amount of time and made many friends, it also marked the day that Patton would have turned 16. After setting out to sea, we had a moment of silent memorial and paid tribute to the greatest boat dog there ever was.

MARTINIQUE

Our first stop on our northern course was in Fort de France, Martinique. We had been there several times in prior cruising seasons, and had written about our experiences after those visits. See Dominica, Martinique & St. Lucia (2015/06/04). Martinique was fortunate to have escaped the brundt of the wrath of Irma and Maria. While we did see some minor damage (missing roofs on some structures in the fort), overall, the small metropolitan city seemed as beautiful as ever.

Fort de France, Martinique

Fort de France, Martinique

We were pleased to see that the renovations on the central cathedral, which was covered in scaffolding during our last visit, were completed. The results were magnificent.

Fort de France, waterfront cathedral, Martinique

Fort de France, waterfront cathedral, Martinique

With cruise ship season in full swing, it was no surprise that, the day we pulled in to port, there was a cruise ship picking up passengers and getting underway herself.

Cruise ship in Fort de France, Martininque

Cruise ship in Fort de France, Martininque

DOMINICA

Our next port of call on our northward bound journey was Dominica.

Ronan, Ryan & Randy at the helm

Ronan, Ryan & Randy at the helm

Unlike Martinique, Dominica was hit hard this past hurricane season.  When we arrived, six month’s after the hurricanes, the damage to the landscape and structures was still readily apparent.

Damaged roofs in Dominica, (Feb. 2018)

Damaged roofs in Dominica, (Feb. 2018)

Equally apparent was the strength and resolve of the people to carry on and move forward. Tourism and agriculture are the two main resources in Dominica. While the island continues to work towards recovering the agricultural resources, tourism was abundant. In Portsmouth harbor, the Portsmouth Association of Yacht Services (PAYS) was up and running, guiding boats to mooring balls and offering other yacht services.

PAYS member guiding sailboat to mooring, Portsmouth, Dominica (2018)

PAYS member guiding sailboat to mooring, Portsmouth, Dominica (2018)

PAYS member offering services (tours, food, beverages, trash removal) to cruiser, Portsmouth, Dominica

PAYS member offering services (tours, food, beverages, trash removal) to cruiser, Portsmouth, Dominica

The mooring balls and lines all looked new and the harbor was as full as we have ever seen it. The VHF was full of chatter from yachtsmen arranging river and rainforest tours. Once again, with cruise ship season in full swing, we saw a sailing cruise ship in the harbor ferrying passengers to and from the island. She was a beautiful sight to see, sails up, departing at sunset, just off our stern.

Sailing Cruise Ship, Star Clipper getting uderway, Portsmouth, Dominica (2018)

Sailing Cruise Ship, Star Clipper getting underway, Portsmouth, Dominica (2018)

Sailing Cruise Ship, Star Clipper getting uderway, Portsmouth, Dominica (2018)

Sailing Cruise Ship, Star Clipper getting uderway, Portsmouth, Dominica (2018)

GUADELOUPE

We refueled in Rivière Sens, at the southern end of Guadeloupe, before continuing north to Deshaies.

Ryan supervising fueling up in Riviera Sans, Guadeloupe (2018)

Ryan supervising fueling up in Riviere Sens, Guadeloupe (2018)

Theresa & Ryan running the boat to Deshaeis, Guadeloupe (2018)

Theresa & Ryan running the boat to Deshaies, Guadeloupe (2018)

We pulled into Deshaies to the sight of yet another sailing cruise ship.

Club Med 2 Sailing Cruise Ship, Deshaies, Guadeloupe (2018)

Club Med 2 Sailing Cruise Ship, Deshaies, Guadeloupe (2018)

Ronan & Ryan playing chess on the bridge, Sailing Cruise Ship Club Med 2 off our stern, Deshaies, Guadeloupe (2018)

Ronan & Ryan playing chess on the bridge, Sailing Cruise Ship Club Med 2 off our stern, Deshaies, Guadeloupe (2018)

Deshaies seemed to have fewer mooring balls available than we had seen on previous visits, so we dropped our anchor and settled in for yet another fabulous Caribbean sunset.

View from the galley, Deshaies, Guadeloupe (2018)

View from the galley, Deshaies, Guadeloupe (2018)

Sunset, Deshaies, Guadeloupe (2018)

Sunset, Deshaies, Guadeloupe (2018)

In Deshaies, boats come by to “take your morning order,” and the next morning, we had fresh baguettes delivered right to our boat.

Ryan picking up baguettes delivery to the boat, Deshaies, Guadeloupe (2018)

Ryan picking up baguettes delivery to the boat, Deshaies, Guadeloupe (2018)

In sum, it seems this past year’s hurricanes have not dampened the cruise ship / cruisers / tourism enthusiasm in the Easterrn Caribbean. In fact, we spoke to many who said they were purposesfully visiting hurricane hit island nations because tourism dollars are needed to assist in the speedier recovery of the islands. We will not sugar coat it, there have been significant physical and economic consequences for the Eastern Caribbean islands but for the most part these islands and their people have proven resilient and will thrive again.

In our next series of posts we will be reporting on what we found on some of the islands that had a more direct encounter with Irma or Maria or both.

Ryan, Brandon Crawford and Ronan (Jan. 2018)

BRANDON CRAWFORD BASEBALL CAMP, SCOTTSDALE, AZ – by Ronan

BCraw35 Baseball Camp

BCraw35 Baseball Camp

For Christmas, one of the presents our mom and dad got Ryan and me was two days at “Brandon Crawford Baseball Camp!” We could not believe it! Brandon Crawford is a major league baseball player who plays short stop for the San Francisco Giants. The camp started on January 27th, so Ryan and I had a month to practice our game. Before we knew it, we were flying from St. Lucia, (the West Indies) in the Caribbean, to Phoenix, Arizona, for the baseball camp. The camp was held in Scottsdale, Arizona because that is where the Giants do their spring training. We had an overnight layover in Miami, so it took us two (2) days to get to Arizona from the Caribbean.Ryan & Ronan outside Scottsdale Stadium (Jan. 2018)Ryan & Ronan outside Scottsdale Stadium (Jan. 2018)

DAY 1

On the first day of baseball camp, we woke up early, had breakfast, and drove to Scottsdale. When we got to Scottsdale stadium, we signed in and went to the field, while the parents and family went to the observation deck (Mom, Dad, and Aunt Patti).

Pre-camp gathering

Pre-camp gathering

When we gathered on the field at the start of the day, we were very excited to see San Francisco Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford, as well as San Francisco Giants Coach Chad Chopp! Coach Chopp is the Giants left-handed batting practice pitcher and a video replay analyst. There were also many other coaches and assistants.San Fracisco Giants' shortstop Brandon Crawford and Coach Chad Chopp (Jan. 2018)San Francisco Giants’ shortstop Brandon Crawford and Coach Chad Chopp  (Jan. 2018)

The first thing we did was play two ball. Two ball is a game where you throw two baseballs to someone from one hand, and if they do not catch both of them, they get a point. You have to try to get as little points as possible. Next, we did warm ups. First, we ran from one side of the field to the other, and then they organized us in lines to throw and catch to one another.

Line throw catch warm up

Line throw catch warm up

Then, one by one all the kids ran forward doing lunge stretches with their legs. Next, all the kids in the camp made one enormous circle. The coaches had us hold a different position with our arms for ten seconds at a time. Warm up circleWarm up circle

The coaches then organized us into small groups by age. There were many different stations that practiced different exercises with different coaches. It was amazingly well run! They had a set time of when to rotate to a different station. There was an outfield station, a Wiffle Ball station, a base running station, an off a tee batting station, an underhand pitching batting station, an overhand pitching batting station, a pitching station, an in-fielding station, and a bunting station.

Out Fielding station

Out Fielding station

In the out-fielding station, they taught us how to catch balls properly. We also learned about “drop steps.” A drop step is when you take a step back to your right or your left depending on where the ball is coming from. This allows you to easily run backwards or forward for the ball.

Ronan at bat at the Wiffle ball station

Ronan at bat at the Wiffle ball station

At the Wiffle Ball station, we practiced hitting Wiffle Balls with a small bat, and then hitting them with the bat we brought.Ronan getting batting tips from Brandon Crawford (Jan. 2018)Ronan getting batting tips from Brandon Crawford (Jan. 2018)

In the batting cages, everyone hit baseballs off of tees for practice. After batting off of tees, we hit balls that were thrown underhand by a coach. Next, we hit balls that were thrown overhand by a coach.

At the base running station, the coaches taught that you should tag the inside corner of first base  when you are going to keep running for second and same with all the other bases.

While at the pitching station, the coaches taught us how to deliver the ball properly. At the bunting station, we were taught how to hold the bat while attempting to bunt. While at the in-fielding station, we practiced fielding ground balls at short stop and throwing them to the first baseman.

Infield station - Ryan and Brandon Crawford at short stop & Ronan at 3rd base

Infield station – Ryan and Brandon Crawford at short stop & Ronan at 3rd base

At the end of the first day of camp, they handed out prizes to the kids who did especially well.

End of Day 1 gathering

End of Day 1 gathering

The coaches also talked about the importance of appreciation of team, family and teachers. Our “homework” assignment was to do a “random act of kindness.”

Aunt Patti, Ronan, Randy & Ryan (Jan. 2018)

Aunt Patti, Ronan, Randy & Ryan (Jan. 2018)

After camp, when we got back to the hotel, Ryan, Mom, and I decided to hike Mt. Tempe which was right outside our hotel.

Mount Tempe, AZ (elevation 1495')

Mount Tempe, AZ (elevation 1495′)

Along the trail, we saw lots of cactuses and other hikers. When we got to the top, we stopped and enjoyed the magnificent view.

Going up and down Mt. Tempe only took about an hour. Next, we went to the hot tub on the roof of the hotel. We had an amazing day!

DAY 2

On the second day of camp, we woke up bright and early to get ready. Just like the day before, we drove to Scottsdale stadium in Scottsdale with our mom, dad and Aunt Patti. We started the day off with more of the game, two ball. Then we did warm ups and went to our assigned stations. However, on the second day they did the stations a little differently than before. The coaches handed out prizes, such as bubble gum and sunflower seeds, to kids that did well. While in the batting cages, I was very excited when I got a tip from Brandon Crawford himself! He told both Ryan and me that we should swivel our back leg while batting for more power. If I had to choose, I think I learned the most at the pitching station on the second day. One of the coaches showed me that I should make a “W” shape with my arms while delivering the pitch. This helped improve my pitching accuracy tremendously! At the end of the day, the coaches handed out prizes again.

End of Day 2 pep talk and Q&A session

End of Day 2 pep talk and Q&A session

I was very happy when I got picked for a prize by the pitching coach. My prize was a Gaylord Perry mini-statue. Gaylord Perry was one of the pitchers on the Giants who has been elected to the baseball Hall of Fame. After I got my prize, Brandon Crawford walked over to Ryan and I and asked us our names.

End of Day 2 pep talk, Q&A and prizes

End of Day 2 pep talk, Q&A and prizes

Then he chose my brother Ryan to get a prize too! Ryan got a Bruce Bochy gnome. Bruce Bochy is the Giants manager. The gnome looks hilarious! After giving out prizes, everyone formed a line to get an item of their choice signed by Brandon Crawford, along with a picture with him. Ryan and I had baseballs signed, and took pictures with him!

Ronan shaking hands with Brandon Crawford (Jan. 2018)

Ronan shaking hands with Brandon Crawford (Jan. 2018)

Ronan with his signed ball from Brandon Crawford (Jan. 2018)

Ronan with his signed ball from Brandon Crawford (Jan. 2018)Ryan with his baseball signed by Brandon Crawford (Jan. 2018)

Ryan with his baseball signed by Brandon Crawford (Jan. 2018)

Ryan, Brandon Crawford and Ronan (Jan. 2018)

Ryan, Brandon Crawford and Ronan (Jan. 2018)

Following the autographs and pictures, we returned to the hotel. The whole camp was an experience of a lifetime! My brother and I now have signed balls from three (3) SF Giant players, Willie Mays, Buster Posey and Brandon Crawford! (See Willie Mays, one of a kind (2015/11/17) and A Giant Among Giants, Christmas Arrives Early in Grenada (2015/12/20).

To top it off, all of the proceeds from the camp were donated to the Buster and Kristen Posey Fund. Buster Posey is a teammate of Brandon Crawford’s and is the catcher for the San Francisco Giants. The Buster and Kristen Posey Fund is a charity that provides grants to research hospitals and organizations that support children diagnosed with pediatric cancer. To check out, or donate to the Buster and Kristen Posey Fund, click here. For information on future Brandon Crawford Baseball camps, click here.