Category Archives: St. Eustatius (a.k.a. Statia)

HURRICANE MARIA (SEPTEMBER 2017)

Hurricane season has arrived in full force. As cruisers, we spend an inordinate amount of time monitoring weather systems. The latest shows Hurricane Maria intensified into a catastrophic Category 5 storm Monday, with maximum sustained winds of 160 mph (260 kph), as it surged toward islands in the eastern Caribbean.

Projected track for Hurricane Maria, September 18, 2017

Projected track for Hurricane Maria, September 18, 2017

Hurricane warnings have been posted for the U.S. and British Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Guadeloupe, Dominica, St. Kitts, Nevis and Montserrat.

A tropical storm warning was issued for Antigua and Barbuda, Saba, St. Eustatius, St. Maarten, St. Lucia (where Pilots’ Discretion is currently located), Martinique and Anguilla. Many of these islands are still recovering from direct hits from hurricane Irma. (See http://www.msn.com/en-us/weather/topstories/cat-5-hurricane-maria-threatens-storm-battered-caribbean/ar-AAs6sKy?ocid=spartandhp.) We are continuing to keep all those affected in our thoughts and prayers. We will post additional updates after this storm passes.

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.

Pet Import Requirements in the Caribbean

Patton driving the dinghy

Patton driving the dinghy

We have been receiving a lot of inquiries through our site recently about the customs and immigration issues associated with bringing our Cocker Spaniel “Patton” along with us as we have cruised throughout the Caribbean. As such, we have updated Patton’s page to include a compilation of helpful contact details and information for various island nations that we have visited in the Caribbean over the last year and a half (2014 – 2016). For those interested in cruising the Caribbean with their four legged friends check out Patton’s page under the “About Us – Patton – Customs and Immigration” on the header above or visit:  https://pilotsdiscretion.com/about/patton/customs-and-immigration-issues-specific-to-bringing-patton-along/ or send us a reply message below.

Cane Garden Bay, British Virgin Islands

Mad Dash for the British Virgin Islands, 9 Countries in 6 Days. 

Underway

Underway

We had a great time in St. Lucia, we got a lot accomplished and look forward to returning in the future. Unfortunately, the various delays that we encountered in St. Lucia, waiting on parts and technicians left us with our scheduling backs against the wall. We had plans for meeting our good friends Mike Cleary, Bridget Finnegan, and Mike’s daughter Madison in the BVIs. They had a Sunsail sailboat chartered in Tortola beginning on February 19, so when we literally dropped the solar panel technician on the fuel dock in St. Lucia on the morning of February 13th, we knew we had some serious real estate to cover to be 350 miles north in just six days. During our dash north we cruised through the territorial waters of St. Lucia, Martinique, Dominica, Montserrat, Guadeloupe, St. Kitts, Nevis, Statia, St. Marteen and finally the British Virgin Islands. Wow, I am tired just writing about it.

Most of the trip was run in seas of 4-6 ft, with a few periods of 8-9 ft, and even a day with the Caribbean Sea as smooth as a small mountain lake. Our speed averaged 8-10 knots but when we had the opportunity, we ran as high as 25 knots to keep the scenery moving. We have visited all of the countries we just mentioned during our trip south last year so although we are disappointed that we had to hustle through these countries to meet our friends, it was worth it to get to be in the BVI with friends that are virtually like family to us.

Norman Island (The Bight) and North Gorda Soud

Bridget, Madison & Mike, Bubbly Pool, Jost Van Dyke, BVI

Bridget, Madison & Mike, Bubbly Pool, Jost Van Dyke, BVI

Once in the BVI we began our trip by heading off to the Bight on Norman island. A mandatory stop at the infamous Willie T floating bar and grill was followed by a trip to Gorda Sound, Virgin Gorda, and Jost Van Dyke.

We followed that up with a two day trip to Anegada, then over to Marina Cay and The Baths.

Anegada

Marina Cay

The Baths

After that whirlwind, we capped the Cleary clan’s trip to the BVI by meeting our cruising friends Jeff and Izzy Rogers for an evening of good food, conversation and music in one of our favorite spots in the BVI, Cane Garden Bay.

Cane Garden Bay, British Virgin Islands

Cane Garden Bay, British Virgin Islands

Our friends have gone home and it is time for our adventure to continue. It occurs to me that this nomad lifestyle works well for our family. I have an idea, I think we should keep this trip going. We will discuss it at dinner tonight and I will get back to you. For now, keep following our progress as our  life adventure continues …

Statia courtesy flag

St. Bart, Statia and now the push for Grenada

Anse de Columbier Bay, St. Bart

Anse de Columbier Bay, St. Bart

After enjoying our visit to St. Martin, we have moved along to explore some of the other Leeward Islands. Our first stop was beautiful St. Barthelemy (a.k.a. St. Bart). Long known as an exotic island playground for the rich and famous, we found it to also have a unique and welcoming small island feel. Our first night, we anchored in the harbor in front of Gustavia, St. Bart’s main town. Clearing immigration was a snap, done entirely online. Once cleared in, we explored the town and found a charming, sparkling clean town with dozens of restaurants and a row of high end designer stores that rival those found in Manhatten.  Although the town is charming,  we found the harbor in front of it to be very rolly with large swells coming in off the Caribbean Sea.  As a result, we elected to move the Pilots’ Discretion a few miles to the north to Anse de Colombier. Anse de Columbier is a sheltered bay

Anse de Columbier, St. Bart

Anse de Columbier, St. Bart

that at one time was owned by the Rockefeller family. The Rockefeller’s former home still sits atop the hill overlooking the bay. Although the Rockefeller home has in recent years fallen into a state of disrepair, they were kind enough to leave behind a beautiful stone dock that Patton found more than adequate for his nightly dinghy trips ashore.

After several days in St. Bart, we pressed on to St. Eustatius (a.k.a. Statia), a small volcanic island with a significant historical past. Long an important shipping port for the Dutch Caribbean, Statia is also famous for being the first foreign government to officially recognize the legitimacy of the fledgling democracy of the United States in 1776.

Quill volcano, St Eustatius

Quill volcano, St Eustatius

In addition to it’s historical significance, Statia is a beautiful island made up of five, now dormant volcanoes, the largest of which is the Quill volcano. It is truly incredible that the boys  were literally reading about the origins of volcanoes in their homeschool curriculum one day and hiking up the Quill to take a photos of the volcano’s crater the next.

We have thoroughly enjoyed our stay in historic Statia but the weather window clock is ticking and necessarily we must begin our final push towards Greanada tomorrow morning. We will be transitting waters offshore of St. Kitts, Nevis and Montserrat enroute to Guadeloupe. From Guadeloupe we will proceed to the French island of Martinique and finally the Grenadines before arriving at our hurricane season home marina in Grenada.