Category Archives: St. Lucia

Dwight, Theresa & Mary, diving in St. Lucia

SUMMER IN ST. LUCIA – PART 2 (by Theresa)

AQUATICS CENTER

Rodney Heights Aquatic Center

Rodney Heights Aquatic Center

With school out for the summer, we enrolled the boys in a summer swimming camp at the Rodney Heights Aquatic Center, located just outside Rodney Bay Marina. The Aquatics Center has an Olympic-short (25 m) sized pool, a karate studio, a gym, a soccer field and weekly field trips to various fun places on the island, including horse back riding and Splash Island Water Park! The boys are looking forward to the end of August, when there will be an island wide swim meet with competitors from all over the island.

Rodney Heights Aquatic Center, St. Lucia

Rodney Heights Aquatic Center, St. Lucia

OPEN WATER DIVER SCUBA CERTIFICATION

While the boys were in camp, I decided to finally take the plunge and get my Open Water Diver Scuba certification. Fortunately, Dive St. Lucia, one of the nicest dive facilities that we have seen throughout the Caribbean, is located right next door to the marina. My instructor for the course was “Mary,” and my dive buddy was “Dwight.” Coincidentally, Dwight is also one of the Captains of the Dive St. Lucia dive boats, who, like me, decided he wanted to see what life was like under the boat.

Dwight, Theresa & Mary, diving in St. Lucia

Dwight, Theresa & Mary, diving in St. Lucia

After completing the preliminary online testing, and confined water diving exercises in the pool, we set out to complete the open water diving portion of the course.

"OK" signal, Mary, Theresa & Dwight, diving in St. Lucia (2017)

“OK” signal, Mary, Theresa & Dwight, diving in St. Lucia (2017)

The first day we completed two tank dives and multiple underwater exercises.

Theresa & dive buddy, Dwight, diving in St. Lucia (2017)

Theresa & dive buddy, Dwight, diving in St. Lucia (2017)

Theresa, diving in St. Lucia (2017)

Theresa, diving in St. Lucia (2017)

Theresa, diving in St. Lucia (2017)

Theresa, diving in St. Lucia (2017)

Our second day open water diving was extra special since Ryan, who already has his open water diver certification, came along with his Go Pro to dive with us.

Theresa & Ryan, pre-dive, St. Lucia (2017)

Theresa & Ryan, pre-dive, St. Lucia (2017)

Ryan, pre-dive, St. Lucia (2017)

Ryan, pre-dive, St. Lucia (2017)

Mary, Dwight & Theresa preparing to dive, St. Lucia

Mary, Dwight & Theresa preparing to dive, St. Lucia

Ryan diving in St. Lucia (2017)

Ryan diving in St. Lucia (2017)

Ryan, diving in St. Lucia (2017)

Ryan, diving in St. Lucia (2017)

Dwight, Theresa & Ryan, diving in St. Lucia (2017)

Dwight, Theresa & Ryan, diving in St. Lucia (2017)

Ryan & Theresa, diving in St. Lucia (2017)

Ryan & Theresa, diving in St. Lucia (2017)

SEGWAY

Since Ronan was still not cleared to go scuba diving (due to his recent tonsillectomy), he and Randy opted for a land based Segway adventure. Since Ronan had been sewaying on the island before (See, This is How we Roll, February 24, 2017), he had fun showing Randy around the trails.

Randy & Ronan, segway in St. Lucia (2017)

Randy & Ronan, segway in St. Lucia (2017)

Nigel, Randy & Ronan, segway in St. Lucia (2017)

Nigel, Randy & Ronan, segway in St. Lucia (2017)

Ronan, segway break, St. Lucia (2017)

Ronan, segway break, St. Lucia (2017)

Ronan, segway break at beach side cafe, St. Lucia (2017)

Ronan, segway break at beach side cafe, St. Lucia (2017)

As the day came to a close, both sea and land adventures intersected on the bay!

Randy & Ronan Segway in St. Lucia (2017)

Randy & Ronan Segway in St. Lucia (2017)

As the end of the summer and hurricane season approaches, we are continuing to monitor the Caribbean storm systems, all while enjoying all that the beautiful island of St. Lucia has to offer.

Lone horse & the sea on the northeast coast of St. Lucia hike

FLORIDA and ST. LUCIA, SUMMER 2017


FLORIDA

We have been remiss in posting updates lately, mostly because we have been busy travelling (land based), preparing the boat for hurricane season, and tackling various boat projects; all the while Randy finished up his post-op rotator cuff surgery rehabilitation. When the Captain’s sling finally came off, we all flew back home to Florida and had a spectacular visit with the boys’ grandparents.

Ryan, Jim (GrandpaSir), Lorraine (Nana) and Ronan

Ryan, Jim (GrandpaSir), Lorraine (Nana) and Ronan

The boys enjoyed going to the driving range with their “Grandpa-Sir,” the movies with their Nana, and over all being spoiled by both their grandparents.  As always, we all had a TERRIFIC time!!!

Ronan and Ryan, FL 2017

Ronan and Ryan, FL 2017

While in Florida, our youngest crew member, Ronan, had to have his tonsils and adenoids removed. The procedure went smoothly, and he enjoyed all of the recovery ice cream that followed! Regrettably, that means no scuba diving for him for at least the next several months. Once he was cleared to fly, we all returned to the Pilots’ Discretion back in St. Lucia.

We were thrilled, upon our return, to find our dear friends on M/V Seamantha were still tied up in Rodney Bay Marina. That meant lots of shared adventures ahead.

HIKING DONKEY BEACH ON THE NORTHEAST COAST OF ST. LUCIA (9.37 miles)

Our former Grenada hash (hiking) pals on M/V Seamantha suggested a “short” hike to Donkey Beach on the Northeast coast of St. Lucia. From Rodney Bay Marina (on the west coast of St. Lucia) we hiked across to the eastern side of the island and then headed up the northern coastline.

Ronan, hiking the mortheast coast of St. Lucia

Ronan, hiking the northeast coast of St. Lucia

Our hike led us to several peninsulas and across open fields filled with free roaming and grazing horses.

Lone horse & the sea on the northeast coast of St. Lucia hike

Lone horse & the sea on the northeast coast of St. Lucia hike

Horses on the northeast coast of St. Lucia hike

Horses on the northeast coast of St. Lucia hike

Our hiking buddies logged our hike, and other hikes on St. Lucia, on Wikiloc at: https://www.wikiloc.com/wikiloc/view.do?id=18443065

DIVING THE PITONS AND TURTLE REEF ON THE WEST COAST OF ST. LUCIA

After recovering from the arduous hike, we decided to set out with Dive Saint Lucia to explore the famous St. Lucian Pitons from below the sea. The Pitons dive is nick-named the “Superman dive” because of the strong current that runs along the base of the Pitons.

Theresa, Ronan, Ryan & Randy, dive boat, St. Lucia

Theresa, Ronan, Ryan & Randy, dive boat, St. Lucia

The second dive of the day was at “Turtle Cay,” appropriately named for the numerous sea turtles that inhabit the reef.

Sea snake, Turtle Reef, St. Lucia

Sea snake, Turtle Reef, St. Lucia

M/V Seamantha eventually set off to Martinique. Randy volunteered to tag along as crew (and  for a mini-vacation) in Le Marin. Details on that adventure to follow.

Patton

A life well lived, Patton Mowrey February 25, 2002-April 24, 2017

Patton and his ball

Patton and his ball

It has been our policy to use our blog to share with all of you just how wondrous our family’s Caribbean cruising experience has been. Indeed, we think it has been a transformative experience for all of us. That said, magical trip or not, we have not been insulated from the ups and downs that life has for cruisers and our land based friends alike. Sadly, this post is not one that is likely to bring a smile to your face. We have kept this brief simply because the grief we are all feeling is something that has left us all without adequate words.

Monday, April 24, 2017, will be entered into the Pilots’ Discretion logbook as the saddest day of our Caribbean experience. We had to have our crew member, and all around best buddy Patton, euthanized at the veterinary clinic on St. Lucia. The specific illness that took our pal from us was a very aggressive metastatic series of mast cell tumors. The truth is that after 15 plus years of a wonderful life, Patton’s little body had worn out.

Our entire family was with Patton to the end. Ryan and Ronan waited in the clinic waiting room as the Dr. called Theresa, Patton, and I into the exam room. After the Dr. explained the specifics of the procedure, it was time to do what we dreaded but understood was in Patton’s best interest. Theresa and I held him in our arms as the last of his life ebbed away. Gladly, I can report that he did not suffer in those final moments. After he had passed, the entire crew of the Pilots’ Discretion took one last dinghy ride with our buddy so that Patton the “boat dog” could have a proper burial at sea. His final resting place is several miles offshore the island of St. Lucia.

We miss Patton terribly but we will never forget him.

Patton enjoying the sunset from The Bight, Norman Island, B.V.I.

Patton enjoying the sunset from The Bight, Norman Island, B.V.I.

 

Patton, Loblolly Beach, Anegada, BVI

Happy 15th Birthday Patton! (by Randy)

imageYesterday was a pretty important day aboard the Pilots’ Discretion. Patton, our intrepid, world traveling Cocker Spaniel turned fifteen (15) years old. Way back when we initially left the comfort zone of our home marina in Tarpon Springs, Florida (2 and 1/2 years ago) we had some concerns with how well our then 12 year old buddy would adapt to a life at sea. Our concerns were completely unfounded. Patton is the first one up every morning and the last one to turn in each night after surveying the boat to assure himself that the entire crew is accounted for.Patton Kindle

Patton crew

Patton crew

He loves excursions in the dinghy and he has his favorite spot picked out under the Captain’s helm chair for long passages.

Patton driving the dinghy in the BVIs

Patton driving the dinghy in the BVIs

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

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

The story would not be complete without acknowledging there have been some concessions made due to the decision to cruise with Patton. We do not patronize places along the way that are not dog friendly. We have on rare occasions had more difficulty clearing immigration as a result of declaring Patton as part of our crew but all in all, he has been a very positive addition to our crew and we would not consider having it any other way.

Cable Car, Loma Isabel de Torres, Dominican Reupblic

Cable Car, Loma Isabel de Torres, Dominican Republic

 

For those of you following our blog who are not dog people, I am sure you just scratch your head when you see me acting like a very proud papa when talking about Patton. To the dog people following us, I know that I need to say no more.

Happy birthday Patton, the crew of the Pilots’ Discretion loves you❤️

Patton enjoying the sunset from The Bight, Norman Island, B.V.I.

Patton enjoying the sunset from The Bight, Norman Island, B.V.I.

 

Ronan, Theresa, Roland, and Ryan, Segway in St. Lucia

This is How We Roll – Lucian Style! (by Ryan)

Capt. Randy on the bow, Rodney Bay, St. Lucia

Capt. Randy, arm in a sling,  on the bow, Rodney Bay, St. Lucia

Two weeks post-rotator cuff surgery and the Captain seems to be recovering nicely. Tethered to an ice machine, watching the sun set over Rodney Bay in St. Lucia, is not a terrible way to navigate the post-op rehabilitation process. The hardest part has been keeping the arm immobilized. Anyone with a boat knows that there is always some project that needs to be attended to. Luckily, we have a capable crew willing to take care of, or assist with those never-ending projects. Mom, Ronan and I are becoming ever more familiar with the engine room and various boat systems!

SEGWAY

Roland and Ryan, Segway training in St. Lucia

Roland and Ryan, Segway training in St. Lucia

In the meantime, with the Captain resting and recovering on the boat, Mom, Ronan, and I decided to take a field trip to explore more of the beauty that St. Lucia has to offer. Friends of ours, Rita and Ralph off S/V Calypso, suggested a Segway Tour that sets out from Rodney Bay (http://lucianstyle.com/featured-tours). Just a short walk from the marina, we mounted the Segways and received initial maneuverability instructions. Having never ridden a Segway before, the motion control was initially unfamiliar. After a few minutes of practice, circling around the practice track, we all seemed to get the hang of it and set off!

Roland, Ronan and Ryan, Segway in St. Lucia

Roland, Ronan and Ryan, Segway in St. Lucia

We rode along the well-maintained nature trails on Mount Pimard until we arrived at our first stop where our guide, Roland, let us smell the spice of Bay leaf off of a local tree. He also put flowers in all the ladies’ helmets. Next, we stopped at Pebble’s Point looking across Rodney Bay. Roland explained some of the island’s history while his assistant took our Segways out of beginner’s mode and switched them into advanced mode.

Rodney Bay, St. Lucia

Rita, Ryan, Roland, Ronan and Ralph, Rodney Bay, St. Lucia

In advance mode, at a top speed of 14 mph, we kept gliding along the trails (built by the U.S. military during WWII) and stopped to check out a WWII bunker 30 feet underground.

We then proceeded to fly on a straight away dirt trail at about a 40o angle as fast as the Segways could go! We got to an opening with spectacular views!

 

Rita, Ralph, Ryan, Ronan, Theresa and Roland, Segway in St. Lucia

Rita, Ralph, Ryan, Ronan, Theresa and Roland, Segway in St. Lucia

Ronan, Ryan, Theresa, Ralph and Rita, Segway in St. Lucia

Ronan, Ryan, Theresa, Ralph and Rita, Segway in St. Lucia

Ronan and Ryan, St. Lucia

Ronan and Ryan, St. Lucia

Although not mentioned in the Segway tour brochure, we took a small hike up to a pond. We fed bread to the fish and then came back for Roland’s surprise! Just in case anyone reading this decides to do the tour I will not tell you the surprise. You will just have to find out for yourself! Hint: it came out of a WWII bunker and it was not dust. After that we flew back down the hill and visited yet another spectacular view point. It overlooked Rodney bay and you could see Pigeon island in the background.

It was literally all downhill (the trails) after that. We next visited the South end of Reduit Beach and got sodas at a beach front restaurant.

In the end, we did a victory lap and then returned to the track. We all got official Gliders Licenses for mastering the skill of gliding on a Segway X2. With the license if (probably when) you decide to do this 5-star tour again they put you in advanced mode from the beginning. By far this is the best tour I have taken in the Caribbean! We are hoping to do this tour again, but with the Captain when his arm is better, so he can enjoy this excellent tour as well!

VIDEOS

Click image below for GoPro video of our Segway adventures.

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.

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.