Monthly Archives: January 2017

MOVIE TRAILER – by Ronan(10) and Ryan (11)

Ronan (10) and Ryan (11) made a “movie trailer” for our Caribbean cruising adventures. We added it to our “VIDEOS” page at: https://pilotsdiscretion.com/videos/. We are also sharing it here, below. I think we found our new videographers! They had a lot of fun making it. We hope you enjoy watching it! Click on the below image to play.

We have also created a dedicated YouTube channel  where we have compiled the videos from our blog, and uploaded additional videos from our journey.  To view the videos click on the link below (or copy and paste into browser):

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC94z5hCIrRiEvY8MTJegTbA.

Season 3: Plan B, Every Cruiser Needs One! – by Randy

As I am writing this, it is late January and we are secured in our slip in the Rodney Bay Marina in St. Lucia, West Indies. We have thoroughly enjoyed our stay in St. Lucia, and we had thought we would be headed northbound by now, working our way back towards Florida. Unfortunately, the only member of the Pilots’ Discretion crew to get back to Florida was her Captain, and that was to see his favorite orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Daniel P. Moynihan.

Dr. Daniel P. Moynihan, Orthopedic Surgeon

Dr. Daniel P. Moynihan

My left shoulder had been bothering me since we were in Grenada but I considered it mainly a nuisance and intended to have it addressed when we got the boat back to Florida. This month, I went back to Florida to attend to some of our business issues and thought I would stop by Dr. Moynihan’s office to make sure he concurred with my assessment that I could defer action on my shoulder until the conclusion of our Caribbean trip. Initially, he was quite encouraging, telling me that he had seen the pictures on our blog of our Caribbean adventures and was fairly comfortable telling me that if the shoulder were seriously injured, I would not likely have been so enthusiastic with my outdoor activities.

He did however tell me that the only way to know for certain would be to do an MRI. Two days later, MRI in hand, the good Dr. gave me the news that the MRI looked very good except for that troublesome torn rotator cuff in my left shoulder. He outlined the specific issues as he highlighted the relevant areas of the MRI. Unfortunately, his conclusion was that any significant deferral of the surgery could make a full recovery more difficult. The good news is that Dr. Moynihan is a can do type of guy and a good problem solver. He told me he was confident that he could do the surgery on a Friday and have me back in St. Lucia the following Tuesday to begin my rehab assignment in the tropics.

Anyone that has gone through a rotator cuff repair can tell you that it is approximately as much fun as two root canals followed by a nice nap in a bed of fire ants.

That said, it sucks for me that I will be forced to do my approximately 3 month rehab in the shadow of St. Lucia’s fabled Pitons, being cooled by the  trade winds of the Caribbean.

Cruising Past the Pitons, St. Lucia

Cruising Past the Pitons, St. Lucia

The practical implications of all of this gets us to the Plan B mentioned in the title of this post. Given that the surgery is now scheduled for early February and accounting for  the length of the required rehabilitation program, we will be unable to safely move the Pilots’ Discretion before the beginning of the 2017 Caribbean hurricane season. Plan B has now come sufficiently into view for us to conclude that we will likely be enjoying the St. Lucian beauty and hospitality until the end of next summer. We will of course keep you apprised via our blog as we suffer through the execution of our Plan B.

Ronan, Theresa, Ryan and Patton, Fort Rodney, Pigeon Island, St. Lucia

Hiking to Fort Rodney, Pigeon Island National Park, St. Lucia – by Ryan

After viewing Pigeon Island from the sea, by both boat and kayak, and by land from our marina, last week we decided to take a hike over there to check it out.

Ronan and Ryan, Fort Rodney, St. Lucia

Ronan and Ryan, Fort Rodney, St. Lucia

Theresa, Fort Rodney, St. Lucia

Theresa, Fort Rodney, St. Lucia

Taking a left out of the marina gate, it is approximately a 40-minute hike to the island. We had so much fun over there that when our Uncle Jim came to visit, we took him to the fort to explore too.

Ronan, James and Ryan departing Rodney Bay Marina, St. Lucia

Ronan, Uncle  Jim, and Ryan departing Rodney Bay Marina, St. Lucia

Pigeon island is actually connected to mainland St. Lucia (i.e. it’s more like a peninsula). Wondering why they call it an island, I looked it up and learned that “once isolated from mainland, St. Lucia, in the Caribbean Sea, the island was artificially joined to the western coast of the mainland in 1972 by a man-made causeway built from dirt excavated to form the Rodney Bay Marina. “Pigeon Island (Saint Lucia).” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 07 Jan. 2017.

Pigeon Island land bridge (red roof tops are Sandals Resort), St. Lucia

Pigeon Island land bridge (red roof tops are Sandals Resort), St. Lucia

After arriving at the Pigeon Island National Park, we paid the admission fee and started up the first hill to Fort Rodney.

Patton and James, hiking to Fort Rodney, St. Lucia

Patton and Uncle Jim, hiking to Fort Rodney, St. Lucia

Fort Rodney is named after a renowned British Admiral. Admiral Rodney is most famous for defeating the French at the Battle of the Saintes in 1782. The French originally settled St. Lucia but they fought the British for it three years after signing their peace treaty with the Caribs in 1660. Control of the island switched back and forth 14 times, seven times to the French and seven times to the British. The British won control the fourteenth time and they had control of the island until St. Lucia gained their independence on February 22, 1979.

We first arrived at a platform overlooking Rodney Bay (also named after the Admiral). The views were spectacular!

Theresa, Ryan, Ronan, James and Patton, Fort Rodney, St. Lucia

Theresa, Ryan, Ronan, Uncle Jim, and Patton, Fort Rodney, St. Lucia

On a clear day looking north you can see the island of Martinique, approximately nineteen (19) nautical miles across the Martinique/St. Lucia channel.

Looking north from Fort Rodney, Pigeon Island, St. Lucia (Martinique on the horizon)

Looking north from Fort Rodney, Pigeon Island, St. Lucia (Martinique on the horizon)

When it was initially built in 1778, one of Fort Rodney’s purposes was to spy on French ships up in Martinique. The lower fort had a couple cannons and more great views. We even got to climb down a ladder into the gun powder room.

There was a sign explaining the system they used to bring cannons off of Admiral Rodney’s ships up to the fort. Using a pulley system, they hoisted the cannons off the deck to the top of the mast and then over to the fort.

Patton and James, hiking Fort Rodney, St. Lucia

Patton and Uncle Jim, hiking Fort Rodney, St. Lucia

We went back down half way and then scaled the next hill. The trail up to Signal Peak was a little steeper than up to Fort Rodney. The signaling peak was used by the United States during WWII as a naval communications signal station until 1947. Flags were hoisted up a large pole to send signals to vessels at sea.

The views at the signaling station were just as good if not better than the views from the lower fort.  

U.S. Signal Station (1941), Fort Rodney, St. Lucia

U.S. Signal Station (1941-1947), Fort Rodney, St. Lucia

 

 

 

Ronan, James and Ryan (Martinique on the horizon), Fort Rodney, St. Lucia

Ronan, James and Ryan (Martinique on the horizon), Fort Rodney, St. Lucia

 

The hike down from the upper peak would be difficult for people afraid of heights. On our way down we saw a strategic fort on the side of the hill for armed soldiers to fire down on the enemy while being protected by the stone wall.

Ryan, James and Ronan, Pigeon Island, St. Lucia

Ryan, Uncle Jim and Ronan, Pigeon Island, St. Lucia

We really enjoyed hiking around Fort Rodney, Pigeon Island with our Uncle Jim. I would definitely recommend this hike to anyone on St. Lucia. If you are staying at a nearby marina or anchorage, and you do not like hiking, there is a dinghy dock right on Pigeon Island.

VIDEO

Click image below for additional pictures and video of Fort Rodney, Pigeon Island, St. Lucia hiking adventure.

 

Theresa on the zip line, Rain Forest Adventures, St. Lucia

Ringing in the New Year with Rain Forest Zip Lining Adventures in St. Lucia – by Theresa

For Christmas, Ryan and Ronan found in their stockings, certificates for a day of Rain Forest Adventures in St. Lucia, including an aerial tram, hiking, and adrenaline driven zip lining, high atop the rain forest canopy. Rainforest Adventures aims to promote environmental consciousness and conservation awareness while striving to provide world-class eco tourism. (See http://www.rainforestadventure.com/st-lucia/). Putting aside my general distaste for heights, I strapped on the required safety helmet and gear and set off into the rain forest with the boys.

Ryan on the zip line, Rain Forest Adventures, St. Lucia

Ryan on the zip line, Rain Forest Adventures, St. Lucia

Ronan on the zip line, Rain Forest Adventures, St. Lucia

Ronan on the zip line, Rain Forest Adventures, St. Lucia

After a few practice runs on the training low/short zip lines, we graduated to the aerial tram. The aerial tram took us from the forest floor, through the understory, and over the rain forest canopy. Our knowledgeable guide provided an encyclopedia of rain forest facts along the way. The panoramic views were nothing short of majestic.

Rain Forest Adventures tram, St. Lucia

Rain Forest Adventures aerial tram, St. Lucia

Aerial Tram, Rain Forest Adventures, St. Lucia

Aerial Tram, Rain Forest Adventures, St. Lucia

At the top, we hiked through the rain forest viewing and learning about the many different plant and animal species.

Hiking through the rain forest, St. Lucia

Hiking through the rain forest, St. Lucia

We then spent the next couple of hours zip-lining from one tree top platform to another.

Tree top platform, Rain Forest Adventures, St. Lucia

Tree top platform, Rain Forest Adventures, St. Lucia

Ryan, Theresa and Ronan, Rain Forest Adventures, St. Lucia

Ryan, Theresa and Ronan, Rain Forest Adventures, St. Lucia

VIDEOS

The system of automatic brakes, double cables, triple redundancy clasps and chest harnesses made us feel secure while whizzing through the tropical paradise.

Click image below for GoPro videos of zip lining adventures.

Wishing everyone peace, prosperity and many adventures in the new year!