Monthly Archives: December 2015

Season Two: Caribbean Cruising, Underway Again – by Randy

Finally! Boat stuff complete, good byes said (or as we like to say, “until we see you again”), we are underway for “Season 2” of our cruising adventure.

AIS screenshot showing Pilot's Discretion departing Grenada

AIS screenshot showing Pilot’s Discretion departing Grenada


We got underway from Port Luis Marina about 10 am this past Thursday. It was a picture perfect morning when we pulled out of St. Georges Harbor past the mega yacht docks and headed north, first destination Tyrell Bay, Carriacou.





We have added a few new toys since we were last underway including a set of wireless headsets that allow the crew to communicate directly with the Captain at the helm. We have found the improved crew communication to be quite helpful while we are departing or arriving at a slip or anchoring in a harbor.

Sena SPH10 Bluetooth wireless headset

Sena SPH10 Bluetooth wireless headset

That may seem like a small item to those that do not cruise, but to those of us that have spent any significant time with our better halves aboard a boat, headsets represent an exponential improvement. The headsets eliminate all of the wild gesticulating and colorful language that can sometimes be on display as multiple, inconsistent and hurried commands are issued by the various Admirals as the boat drifts doggedly toward what can only end in an expensive repair at a boat yard.

The first leg of our trip was a short 32 nautical mile run, just enough to see that all of the various boat systems are functioning and also give the crew a chance to renew their sea legs. We cruised up the west coast of Grenada, slid by “Kick-em-Jenny”, just outside the volcanic exclusion zone and entered Tyrell Bay just under four hours after our departure from our summer home of Grenada.

Day 1 behind us, the Pilots’ Discretion safely at anchor in 18′ of water in Tyrell Bay, we loaded up the dinghy and headed to shore for a pizza dinner on the beach at the Lazy Turtle restaurant. After dinner we were all off to bed early so that we could get an early start on our more challenging run to the southern end of St. Vincent.


Lazy Turtle, Tyrell Bay, Carriacou

Lazy Turtle, Tyrell Bay, Carriacou

This time of year in the Caribbean is known for a period of more intense trade winds, appropriately named the “Christmas Winds”. This year the winds have developed almost exactly in time for our Grenada departure. Typical trade winds blow out of the east at 10-15 knots for days on end. This time of year, it is not uncommon to see those trades pick up to the range of 20-25 knots with occasional gusts to 30+ knots. After a few days of that type of wind, the seas can begin to build to a consistent 6-8′ with some days looking at 10′ or greater seas. Those type of weather conditions can take a lot of the fun out of a days cruise as everything and everyone on board is tossed about for hours on end. Although we do not like to venture out in seas predicted to be larger than 6′, the Pilots’ Discretion handles them well.

imageDay 2 saw us travel north just off the western shore of Union Island, Mayreau, Canouan, Mustique and Bequia before taking up a heading to place us just off Young Island and the South coast of St. Vincent. We travelled just over 50 miles on a very brisk day with sporty conditions at sea. I am happy to report that the entire crew performed flawlessly and no one was spotted hanging over the rail as a result of the rough conditions. We are now moored securely at the Blue Lagoon Marina in St Vincent. The weather forecast is calling for very strong trades through the New Year so we will necessarily modify our plan and remain in St. Vincent until we are once again presented with a suitable weather window to move onto St. Lucia. Christmas on St. Vincent was not on our agenda but we will take advantage of this unexpected opportunity and share our Caribbean Christmas with the locals.

A Giant Among Giants, Christmas Arrives Early in Grenada! – by Ronan

My brother and I are both huge San Francisco Giants fans. Earlier this summer, our boat neighbor in Grenada, Mrs. Izzy, on Motor Vessel Izzy R, saw us wearing our San Francisco Giants hats and shirts. She told us that her brother’s wife was related to Buster Posey, the Giants MVP catcher. 

Later in the summer, Mrs. Izzy mentioned that her brother and his wife were coming to visit. Ryan and I did some detective work and asked her how many brothers she had. When she said, “only one,” then we knew Buster Posey’s relative was coming to visit!

When Mrs. Izzy’s brother and his wife arrived, we put on our San Francisco Giants hats and Buster Posey shirts. We wore a path in the dock walking past the boat and around the marina looking for them. After a couple of days, we finally met Mrs. Cathy (Buster Posey’s relative) and her husband, Dick. When they saw our Buster Posey shirts Mrs. Cathy took our picture along Posey shirts in Grenadawith her husband. She said they were going to have Thanksgiving dinner with Buster and would show him the picture. We had a homeschool assignment that day to write a friendly letter, so we wrote letters to Buster Posey telling him we are big fans. We asked Mrs. Cathy if she would deliver our letters to Buster Posey and she said, “Yes!” We were very excited!

Shortly after Thanksgiving, we received an email from Mrs. Cathy asking for our address. She said Buster Posey wanted to send us some things! About a week later, we received a package. We were surprised to find two signed balls and our letters with notes from Buster Posey on them.

Autographed balls

Autographed balls

He also signed the pictures that Mrs. Cathy had taken of us and Dick.

Another really cool thing in the package was a picture of him holding our pictures! In my opinion, Buster is very kind to have spent his time sending us these special items. I will always be a huge fan of Buster Posey and the Giants. As a Giants fan, this is the coolest early Christmas present ever!

This is total BS! (Boat stuff) – by Randy

Those of you that have been regular followers of our blog may recall that we have an insurance requirement that keeps us south of 12 degrees, 30 minutes latitude during the Atlantic hurricane season (1 June – 1 November). With that constraint in mind, we have been operating under the assumption that we would be leaving Grenada to head north sometime around the 1st of November. We did have a last minute need to return to Florida so that our youngest son, Ronan could get what turned out to be routine oral surgery and as a result our departure was delayed for about a week. With Ronan’s successful procedure behind us, the crew of the Pilots’ Discretion has been tugging at the dock lines for weeks as we have watched minor routine maintenance issues, proceeding on ‘island time,’ adding a few days here, a week there to our anticipated departure date. Given that my entire professional career revolved around standards for an on time departure measured in minutes rather than days or weeks, you can imagine that my normally jovial, easy going manner is being severely tested as our crew calmly listens to the seemingly never ending “explanations” for the next delay.

Caribbean mapOur latest delay is the result of a corrupted data card (the source for the navigational information that is sent to our multiple chart plotters around the boat). When we discovered the failed data card we called the local marine electronics dealer to inquire as to the availability of a replacement card. “Easy, no problem at all mon, we have them in stock, come on down,” was the reply from the happy go lucky, local merchant. This is not going to be an issue at all, I thought. Wrong! Navionics MSDAfter taking a bus to the other side of the island, waiting in line for 45 minutes for a clerk, it was finally my turn. He happily gave me the data card that he had and I unhappily noticed that it was a CF card and not the required MSD card. He was not clear on what the difference was but after I explained that his card format was incompatible with our electronics he looked at me and told me ” this might be a problem mon.” We have tracked down the required part, it is safely in a warehouse in Trinidad, an island 80 nautical miles to our south. All systems are fully engaged at full speed to get the required part to our boat in Grenada. Meanwhile, our crew is content to continue to enjoy our unexpected additional time in our summer home. I am reminded that we truly are on “island time mon.” It is our goal to get north to Marigot Bay, St. Lucia for Christmas. We will keep you all posted on our progress via this blog. In the meantime, the crew of the Pilots’ Discretion wishes you all a Merry Christmas!




Randy & Patton in front of Tthe Indians, B.V.I.

Patton’s healthcare while in Grenada – by Theresa

A not small part of our trip planning has revolved around making sure that our soon to be 14 year old Cocker Spaniel “Patton” has had access to appropriate healthcare during our cruise. We are happy to report that Grenada has a college of veterinary medicine at St. George’s University that is the equal of any that you would find in the United States. The school’s faculty and students that we interacted with were all extremely kind and caring in all of their interactions with Patton and they readily addressed the health issues that Patton has been facing as he approaches his 14th birthday. In addition, they have been very accommodating as we have worked our way through the paperwork jungle that is a part of bringing our four legged family member along on our journey through multiple countries with varying and inconsistent requirements for entry. If you are fortunate enough to be able to bring a four legged companion along on your Caribbean adventure, you can find comfort knowing that your furry pal will receive top level care at the St. George’s University small animal clinic. They can be reached at (473) 435-2900. Tell them “Patton” sent you.