Category Archives: Grenada

Ryan, Paulette, John, Randy, Theresa & Ronan in St. Lucia (Jan. 2018)

As the famous New York Yankee catcher, Yoggi Berra used to say, “When you come to a fork in the road, take it” – by Randy

As we have communicated to you before, the cruising community is different than that which our land based neighbors are accustomed to. We are, by definition, a group of transients with different itineraries, capabilities and goals. We have been cruising in the Caribbean for over 3 years now and we have crossed and recrossed paths with dozens of cruising families that we have enjoyed sharing our cruising dream with. Having passing acquaintances with other families is just part of the lifestyle. That said, we have developed some unique and close bonds with a select few. One of the special cruising families that we have shared a particularly close friendship with is John and Paulette Lee of M/V Seamantha, a Kadey Krogen 58′ trawler.

Paulette & John on the bridge of M/V Seamantha

Paulette & John on the bridge of M/V Seamantha

Tobago Cays (June 2016)

Petite St. Vincent  (June 2016)

Patton

Patton

We first met John and Paulette in the British Virgin Islands 3 years ago during our initial trip south through the Caribbean. When we arrived to spend our first hurricane season in Grenada, we ended up with a slip right next to Seamantha in the Port Louis Marina. John and Paulette spoiled our Cocker Spaniel, “Patton” with fresh bowls of his favorite vegetable, cauliflower, on the aft deck of Seamantha. They have watched our boys, Ryan and Ronan grow from little boys into capable young men. Throughout our trip, we have shared countless wonderful experiences with our cruising buddies. As the saying goes, friends are the family that you get to choose and John and Paulette have certainly become a big part of our family.

M/V Seamantha arriving in Admiralty Bay, Bequia

M/V Seamantha arriving in Admiralty Bay, Bequia

After watching the devastation and subsequent recovery of the Caribbean after one of the worst hurricane seasons on record, we have decided it is the appropriate time to turn the Pilots’ Discretion north and head back towards the United States. We are actually looking forward to retracing our route through the Caribbean and points north. It will be an opportunity to revisit some of our favorite spots. With our decision to turn north we have arrived at another one of those intersections in the life of a cruiser. Our friends on M/V Seamantha are departing St. Lucia this week to head south and so it is that we have arrived at Yoggi’s infamous fork in the road. Pilots’ Discretion and Seamantha will be taking divergent paths which in many ways is sad. We will not be saying goodbye, but rather, we will say “until we see you again.” So, as you depart Seamantha, we wish you fair winds and following seas.

Ryan, Paulette, John, Randy, Theresa & Ronan in St. Lucia (Jan. 2018)

Ryan, Paulette, John, Randy, Theresa & Ronan in St. Lucia (Jan. 2018)

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.

Ryan at the under water sculpture park, Molinere Bay, Grenada

Diving in Grenada – by Ryan

Ryan getting ready to dive

Ryan getting ready to dive

During our stay on Grenada we have made the decision to practice what we learned earlier while in St. Lucia where Randy and I became  PADI certified by training at Dive St. Lucia. (See Learning to Scuba Dive in St. Lucia (by Ryan), June 5, 2016.) Randy, our boat neighbors, Capt. John, Mrs. Paulette, M/V Seamantha, Capt. Ed, and Mrs. Cheryl, S/V Slowdown, and I hopped on a bus one morning and went down to the Radisson Hotel on Grand Anse Beach. We used the Eco Dive shop which is conveniently located at the rear of the hotel’s grounds on the beach. We all picked out the appropriate equipment that fit us, and then hopped onto the boat which was waiting moored right off the beach.

Randy and Ryan ready to dive Grenada!

Randy and Ryan ready to dive Grenada!

We sped north on the speed boat up to Flamingo Bay. When we got there,  we put our gear on, did the final check, and jumped in the water.

We saw many underwater attractions at this amazing dive sit including eels, lobster, coral, and a huge, very intimidating barracuda!

Coral at Flamingo Bay, Grenada

Coral at Flamingo Bay, Grenada

Lion fish, Flamingo Bay, Grenada

Lion fish, Flamingo Bay, Grenada

On our first dive we also saw a lionfish. Lionfish are not indigenous to the waters of Grenada or the Caribbean. They are an unnatural invasive species that have no natural predators in the Caribbean. Many dive centers encourage divers throughout the Caribbean to go on lionfish hunts to reduce their population and help protect the reefs. If you encounter a lionfish you must be careful though, because the venom in their spines, while not lethal, will cause immense pain!

After 35 minutes we surfaced and rejoined the dive boat. Randy and I got out of the water before everyone else because they were diving deeper than 40 feet which is my limit. After everyone was securely on the boat, we started heading south towards the Underwater Statue Park.

We all switched tanks from our empty tanks to our full tanks. Once we got to the Underwater Statue Park we put our gear on for the second time and then hopped into the water.

We saw all of the statues that we have seen while snorkeling on previous visits and then some. It was very cool to see it from the different perspective of a scuba diver.

(Ryan) Typing at the desk, Underwater Sculpture Park, Molinere Bay, Grenada

(Ryan) Typing at the desk, Underwater Sculpture Park, Molinere Bay, Grenada

Ryan amidst the Underwater Sculpture Park, Molinere Bay, Grenada

Ryan amidst the Underwater Sculpture Park, Molinere Bay, Grenada

Underwater Sculpture Park, Molinere Bay, Grenada

Underwater Sculpture Park, Molinere Bay, Grenada

On our second dive at the Underwater Statue Park we also saw very many fish and coral amongst the statues.

 

School of fish, Underwater Sculpture Park, Grenada

School of fish, Underwater Sculpture Park, Grenada

 

Eco Dive crew taking us back ashore after two great dives, Grenada

Eco Dive crew taking us back ashore after two great dives, Grenada

We stayed under for 25 minutes and then surfaced again. Like last time, the boat was there in no time. We then proceeded to fly back to the dive shop on the dive boat (the Nutmeg Princess). We turned in all of the equipment and then had lunch next door. It was lots of fun and a wonderful experience for everyone! Becoming a certified open water diver has been a wonderful experience for me and provided me the foundation for a lifetime of learning.

Randy & Ryan, another great dive! (Grenada)

Randy & Ryan, another great dive! (Grenada)

Hurricane Matthew heading towards Haiti

Phew, that was close! – by Randy

When we last posted, Tropical Storm Matthew was just northeast of Grenada, headed west. Thankfully, Grenada did not experience a direct hit. Matthew skirted just north of Grenada as a Tropical Storm with maximum winds of 60 knots before exploding into a category 4/5 major hurricane on the Saffir/Simpson scale (so far maximum sustained winds have reached 165 knots with gusts to 195 knots). Our preparations were more than adequate for the weather we experienced from the outer bands of the Tropical Storm and we are now breathing a sigh of relief as we watch what has become a massive storm march relentlessly toward Haiti, Jamaica, Cuba and other points north that are not yet clearly defined. Our good wishes and prayers are with our many friends both aboard boats and ashore that are potentially still in the crosshairs of Matthew.

Category 4 Hurricane Matthew

Category 4 Hurricane Matthew

Pilots Discretion being hauled at Spice Isle Marine, Grenada

Pilots Discretion being hauled at Spice Isle Marine, Grenada

We did not want to move on without sharing our experience addressing what should have been routine maintenance for the Pilots’ Discretion. We generally haul our boat out of the water every other year to refresh the bottom paint on the hull. Due to the fact that Pilots’ Discretion lives in a salt water environment, she over time will build up a layer of marine growth on her hull that left unaddressed, results in excessive parasite drag, which in turn reduces her range and increases our fuel bill (ouch). The way that we minimize this is a combination of elbow grease, in the form of a diver cleaning the growth off the bottom (now you guys know why we

Micron 66 and Propspeed

Micron 66 and Propspeed

decided to teach Ryan to dive!) and the application of very expensive, yet effective anti fouling paint to the hull. The only way to accomplish the painting portion of this strategy is to haul the boat, which brings us to the entertaining part of the story that begins at Spice Island Marine boat yard.

Spice Island Marine is one of two major boat yards in Grenada equipped to handle boats of our size and larger. Since renewing the bottom paint is essentially a calendar driven event, we have been planning for this since last summer. We actually made our reservation for haul out months before we arrived in Grenada. The regularly scheduled haul out maintenance generally takes 3-4 days so to be safe we made a plan for 5 days.  The week before we were scheduled for haul out, I made an appointment with the management at Spice Island Marine to go over the specific details of our maintenance to do list as well as to confirm what would be expected from both boat yard staff and Pilots’ Discretion crew upon our arrival at the Travel Lift that would remove Pilots’ Discretion from the water in Prickly Bay, Grenada.

To make sure that we were in position at the appointed hour (originally 9 a.m.), we took Pilots’ Discretion on a short 7 nautical mile cruise from Port Louis Marina southeast to Prickly Bay the night before. We moved our boat in company with our friends on M/V Seamantha, a Krogen 58 who were scheduled to be hauled just before us at 8 a.m. the next morning. We settled in for a nice evening sunset in Prickly Bay, looking forward to our scheduled morning haul out.

Our first indication that things were not going according to schedule came when we got a call on the radio from Seamantha around 8 a.m. telling us that they were going to be delayed being hauled out by about an hour due to boat yard scheduling issues. They told us that a boat had shown up, unscheduled just as the sun set and had positioned himself in the slip where the Travel Lift works to remove boats from the water. The unscheduled arrival announced that since he was a “regular” that he did not need an appointment and Seamantha would just have to wait (along with everyone scheduled after her). After much chatter back and forth on the radio, the boat yard told us that we would be rescheduled to be hauled at 11 a.m. and they would give us a 15 minute heads up to position ourselves off the slip for haul out. Having heard nothing from the boatyard by 11:50 a.m., I called them to inquire about our status. They politely said, “we are sorry, we meant to call you, you can come on in now.” OK, all’s well that ends well.

We undid our mooring lines and idled the 1/4 mile to the haul out slip. As soon as we positioned our boat in the slip, the yard foreman came out and inquired what we were doing in the slip as he was scheduled to launch a boat at 1 p.m. and we would have to wait. I politely explained to him that he must be confused since we in fact were scheduled to be hauled out at 9 a.m. and since it was now after 12 noon, we were going to do our best to help him get back on schedule. I also explained to him that the Pilots’ Discretion would only be leaving the slip one way and that was by Travel Lift to be placed on her maintenance stands. Now you see, we are getting off to a bad start with a guy who would soon be my new best  pal.

After a whole bunch of grousing, my new pal correctly came to the conclusion that it would be in our mutual best interest if he spoke less and hauled more. Pilots’ Discretion was safely secured in her maintenance blocks just after 3 p.m. Did I mention to you that the yard closes at 4 p.m. and it was becoming apparent that the yard crew begins to prepare for that event about 3 p.m. Day 1 in the yard slips by with little work to show for it. On day 2, we were unable to be at the boat yard in the morning as “Patton,” our 14-year-old Cocker Spaniel, had a series of appointments at the St. George’s University veterinary clinic. Fortunately, the crew from Seamantha stood in for us at the boat yard to see that work began on Pilots’ Discretion. When we arrived at the yard mid afternoon, the preparation and painting process was well underway.

Sanding and painting the bottom

Sanding and painting the bottom

Day 3 began with the arrival of additional outside contractors that we needed to address some minor electrical issues (we were adding a replacement underwater light for our transom as well as changing our bow thruster from its original design 3 bladed propeller to a new, more efficient 6 bladed design). Zinc plates were replaced and the anchor chain painted and marked. At the end of the day, it appeared doubtful that we would complete the project in the planned 4 days. Did I mention that we were hauled on a Tuesday, now we are coming up on the weekend.

Propspeed looks good, but the new LED underwater light casing still needs anti-fouling paint

Propspeed looks good, but the new LED underwater light casing still needs anti-fouling paint

 

Bottom paint nearly done, now to get under those chock blocks!

Bottom paint nearly done, now to get under those chock blocks!

Friday was spent adding the second coat of 3 planned coats of bottom paint. Given that each coat of paint must be allowed to adequately dry prior to the next coat being applied it was becoming impossible to launch before the weekend. What the heck, it is only money and the view from our temporary home at Mt. Cinnamon resort was spectacular! We will be in the water Monday for sure.

After a weekend of rest, everyone arrived back at the boatyard refreshed and ready to accomplish great things. My new best pal proudly walked me around Pilots’ Discretion to show me what a fine job they had done.

When I mentioned to him that the dinghy lift had been stripped to bare metal but had not been repainted he feigned surprise and said ” you wanted us to paint that too?” “Yes we did,” and did I mention that in addition to not painting things that did need painted, they did manage to paint a lot of places that were not supposed to be painted. After another trip to the front office and much grousing, it was determined that we were actually the customer and if we did not think the job was complete, the job was not complete. In the end, we got all of our issues addressed adequately.

It was not easy and the process ended up taking 8 days instead of the usual 4 but Pilots’ Discretion is back in the water. Next stop, additional electrical system modifications and a complete overhaul of the boat’s sanitation system. Did I mention that maintaining Pilots’ Discretion at times feels like a full-time job?

Invest 97L becomes named Tropical Storm Matthew – by Theresa

Update: Earlier today, Invest 97L became named Tropical Storm Matthew. Winds are currently at 60 mph and it is heading west at 21 mph.

Invest 97L becomes named Tropical Storm Matthew

Invest 97L becomes named Tropical Storm Matthew

Tropical Storm Matthew headed our way (our position is indicated by the blue dot on the map above)

Tropical Storm Matthew headed our way (our position is indicated by the blue dot on the map above)

It is eerily quiet out side at the moment, perhaps the calm before the storm. We are all hunkered down and waiting for the arrival of Matthew.  The storm is still 120 miles out, but history has shown that tropical storms are notoriously unpredictable. Some of our dock mates have dismissed the likelihood of any significant impact here as Mathew has taken a slightly more northern track. We do not intend to let our guard down until he is well past Grenada. We have some very good friends whose 55′ Californian Motor Yacht was cut in two by a monohull sailboat that had not prepared for an approaching storm in Florida, broke loose from her mooring and rammed “Wings” at a 90 degree angle, damaging her beyond repair. Our policy has been and will remain, prepare for the worst and hope for the best. Fortunately the boats directly to our port and starboard share our view and seem well prepared.

Invest 97L track

We were going to write about our experience at the boat yard but the very real likelihood of an encounter with a tropical weather system has changed all of that! – by Randy

We shared our great experience at Mount Cinammon Resort while our boat was being hauled in our last post. Our plan was to utilize this post to share our experiences with the boat yard. Sometimes the best laid plans have to be altered due to some unforeseen event. What will likely become Huricane Matthew in the next week is just such an unexpected surprise for folks in the Southern Caribbean.

Tropical Storm Matthew approaching the eastern Caribbean

Tropical Storm Matthew approaching the eastern Caribbean

This time of year, the West Coast of Africa spits off massive amounts tropical energy known as waves and a lot of these waves develop into tropical storms. Due to a number of meteorological reasons, most of the systems that turn into tropical storms make a more northward turn towards the Greater Antilles chain of islands, leaving folks like those of us in Grenada in the clear. Not so this time! The best forecast models available are showing that what the National Hurricane Center is now calling Invest 97L will likely develop into Hurricane Matthew. They are predicting a track that will place it just slightly north of Grenada when he passes.

Invest 97L approaching the Lesser Antilles

Invest 97L approaching the Lesser Antilles. We are right in the predicted cross hairs

The hurricane experts are estimating that Matthew will not gain hurricane strength until after he is northwest of the Spice Island. That is good news for us but it is by no means a certainty so all of the prudent mariners in our neighborhood are kicking their hurricane preparations into high gear. A number of Mega Yachts, including Steve Jobs’s 257′ “Venus,” have arrived today with an unscheduled stop at the Port Louis Marina seeking the security of the most stoutly constructed docks within several hundred miles.

Ronan & Ryan in front of Venus, Port Louis Marina, Grenada

Ronan & Ryan in front of Venus, Port Louis Marina, Grenada

For our part, we have taken our antennas down, added additional mooring lines and fenders, taken our dinghy out of the water and secured it to our tender lift with multiple stainless steel straps.

Preparing for the storm

Preparing for the storm

Once we accomplished all of that, we had drills to make sure the entire crew knows the routine to get off the boat safely should the need arise when the weather system arrives. As this is being written at 3:45pm, the weather has begun a subtle change. It has been unusually hot and still today with very light breezes. Just in the last hour or so the breezes have begun to stiffen, making it extra challenging for all of the last minute arrivals as they are trying to maneuver into the remaining open slips to ride out the storm.

Port Louis Marina staff wrestling with arriving sailboat as the winds pick up

Port Louis Marina staff wrestling with arriving sailboat as the winds pick up

We will post a follow up to our story as conditions and opportunity allows.

 

MountCinnamon BeachClub, Grenada

MOUNT CINNAMON RESORT – by Theresa

A couple of weeks ago we had our boat hauled out of the water for general, annual maintenance. During the time the work was being performed on Pilots’ Discretion we opted to treat ourselves to a stay at the luxurious Mount Cinnamon Resort and Spa. From the moment we arrived, we were made to feel like family returning home. Jesma, at the front desk, greeted us with an infectious smile and escorted us, via golf cart, to our two (2) story, two (2) bedroom, two (2) bathroom,  and two (2) balconied villa.

Mount Cinnamon Resort villa, Saint Georges, Grenada

Mount Cinnamon Resort luxury villa, Saint George’s, Grenada

Upon entering, one’s eyes could not help but be drawn to the spectacular panoramic view of the turquoise blue waters of St. George Harbor, and the white sand, palm tree-lined crescent Grand Anse Beach stretched out down below.

Upper balcony view, Mount Cinnamon Resort villa, Saint Georges, Grenada

Upper balcony view, Mount Cinnamon Resort villa, Saint George’s, Grenada

While the boys were ecstatic with the spaciousness of the villa, they were elated, equally so, by the deliciousness of the welcome pastries (delivered, much to their delight, every subsequent evening)!

As spacious as the villa was on the inside, the impeccably manicured grounds outside seemed also, to go on forever. While golf carts were available to take you anywhere on the property, we relished strolling through the tropical gardens taking in the vibrant colors and exotic scents.

Impeccably manicured grounds

Impeccably manicured grounds

Even our car park had a great view!

Even our car park had a great view!

The array of available activities likewise seemed never-ending! Ryan and Ronan enjoyed sharpening their shuffle board and croquet skills, and even challenged Mom to a lawn chess match.

R&R Shuffleboard

R&R Shuffleboard

Ronan playing croquet, Mount Cinnamon Resort, St. Georges, Grenada

Ronan playing croquet, Mount Cinnamon Resort, St. George’s, Grenada

Ryan playing croquet, Mount Cinnamon Resort, St. Georges, Grenada

Ryan playing croquet, Mount Cinnamon Resort, St. George’s, Grenada

Your move Mom

1. e4 – Your move Mom

There was ping-pong and beach volleyball, both in the shade of the palm trees.

Ping pong in the shade on the beach, Mount Cinnamon Resort, St. Georges, Grenada

Ping pong in the shade on the beach, Mount Cinnamon Resort, St. George’s, Grenada

And, as if living on a boat didn’t give the boys enough time on the water, we could hardly keep them away from the all included water activities.

Ryan tackles the stand up paddle board, Mount Cinnamon, Grand Anse Beach, Grenada

Ryan tackles the stand up paddle board, Mount Cinnamon Resort, Grand Anse Beach, Grenada

Ronan paddles out to join his brother, Mount Cinnamon, Grand Anse Beach, Grenada

Ronan paddles out to join his brother, Mount Cinnamon Resort, Grand Anse Beach, Grenada

Ronan catching a wave on his stand up paddle board, Grand Anse Beach, Grenada

Ronan catching a wave on his stand up paddle board, Grand Anse Beach, Grenada

The boys put their sailing lessons to use taking the Hobie Cats out in the ever blowing trade winds. Randy also went out sailing with them, while Patton and I enjoyed some quiet time on the beach (yes, Mount Cinnamon is dog friendly!!!)

 

 

Patton relaxing on the beach, Mount Cinnamon Resort, St. George's, Grenada

Patton relaxing on the beach, Mount Cinnamon Resort, St. George’s, Grenada

With all the activities, the boys worked up quite the appetites. The two on premises restaurants served up amazing cuisine.

Lunch at Savvy, Mount Cinnamon Resort, St. George's, Grenada

Lunch at Savvy, Mount Cinnamon Resort, St. George’s, Grenada

General Manager Mark Kitchen introducing the Mount Cinnamon management team

General Manager Mark Kitchen introducing the Mount Cinnamon management team

On Wednesdays, General Manager Mark Kitchen hosts a poolside meet and greet cocktail hour to introduce the  Mount Cinnamon Resort management team and staff. It is readily apparent that this team is a cohesive unit working hard to ensure their guests have a great experience while at Mount Cinnamon, which we surely did.

On Friday evenings, Savvy hosts a beach bonfire dinner under the stars. Feet in the sand, we listened to Caribbean calypso and steel pan drums. Graham crackers, marshmallows and Grenadian chocolate are provided to all for delicious, mouth-watering s’mores.

Friday night, blazing beachside bonfire, Mount Cinnamon Resort, Grand Anse Beach, St. George's, Grenada

Friday night, blazing beach side bonfire, Mount Cinnamon Resort, Grand Anse Beach, St. George’s, Grenada

Savvy is also available for special “private” dining occasions. Our stay at Mount Cinnamon coincided with Randy’s and my anniversary. Chef Kareem, and the team at Mount Cinnamon did an outstanding job making our anniversary a romantic and special day to be remembered!

The Mount Cinnamon Resort team preparing the flower pedal walkway to the anniversary dinner at Savvy, private beachside-waterfront-sunset, dinner for two, St. George's, Grenada

The Mount Cinnamon Resort team preparing the flower pedal walkway to the anniversary dinner at Savvy, private beach side-waterfront-sunset, dinner for two, St. George’s, Grenada

Putting the finishing touches on the flower pedal heart for the private beachside-waterfront-sunset, dinner for two, Mount Cinnamon Resort, St. George's, Grenada

Putting the finishing touches on the flower pedal heart for the private beachside-waterfront-sunset, dinner for two, Mount Cinnamon Resort, St. George’s, Grenada

Happy Anniversary

Happy Anniversary

 

Private beachside, waterfront, sunset, anniversary dinner for two, Mount Cinnamon Resort, St. George's, Grenada

Private beachside, waterfront, sunset, anniversary dinner for two, Mount Cinnamon Resort, St. George’s, Grenada

Anniversary dinner at Savvy, private beachside-waterfront-sunset, dinner for two, Mount Cinnamon Resort, St. George's, Grenada

Anniversary dinner at Savvy, private beachside-waterfront-sunset, dinner for two, Mount Cinnamon Resort, St. George’s, Grenada

Anniversary dinner at Savvy, private beachside-waterfront-sunset, dinner for two, Mount Cinnamon Resort, St. George's, Grenada

Anniversary dinner at Savvy, private beachside-waterfront-sunset, dinner for two, Mount Cinnamon Resort, St. George’s, Grenada

Eight days after she was hauled, the Pilots’ Discretion was safely back in the water, maintenance items complete and our brief landside stay at Mount Cinnamon Resort was over. We truly cannot say enough good things about Mount Cinnamon Resort. Whether you are taking a break from life aboard your boat or you need some really special accommodations for visiting guests, Mount Cinnamon gets our highest recommendation.