Category Archives: St Vincent and the Grenedines

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.

Thatched hut on sand bar entering cut between Petit St. Vincent & Petite Martinique

PETIT ST. VINCENT & PETITE MARTINIQUE – by Theresa

Petit St. Vincent

Petit St. Vincent

Petit St. Vincent

Our next Grenadines island destination, after departing the Tobago Cays, was the exclusive private island resort Petit St. Vincent (PSV). Petit St. Vincent is the southern most island in the Grenadines and is home to Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Diving Caribbean. We dropped the anchor in the bay between Petit St. Vincent (the Grenadines) and Petite Martinique (Grenada) and dinghied ashore with our friends John and Paulette off M/V Seamantha for a “toes in the sand” lunch.

Lunch at Petit St. Vincent Resort

Lunch at Petit St. Vincent Resort

Thatched hut on sand bar entering cut between Petit St. Vincent & Petite Martinique

Thatched hut on sand bar entering cut between Petit St. Vincent & Petite Martinique

M/V Seamantha anchored off Petit St. Vincent

M/V Seamantha anchored off Petit St. Vincent

The 115 acre island, and the surrounding waters were beautiful and we are already planning our return visit to go diving!

Petite Martinique

Petite Martinique

Petite Martinique

Petite Martinique is a bit of a misnomer, in that it is not part of Martinique, rather, it is the northern most island of Grenada. Anchoring in the bay between these two islands (PSV and Petite Martinique) grants quick dinghy access to both islands. After lunch on PSV, we decided to walk off the calories by hiking Petite Martinique. While we have seen A LOT of goats throughout the Caribbean, we were a little surprised to see so many goats roaming freely throughout the island (they are often fenced off or tied up).

Goats in Petite Martinique

Goats in Petite Martinique

Like many of the islands, Petite Martinique seemed to be all uphill, but after reaching highest peak the views presented were well worth the climb!

Paulette, Ryan, John & Ronan, view from atop Petite Martinique, Grenada (looking towards Petit St. Vincent)

Paulette, Ryan, John & Ronan, view from atop Petite Martinique, Grenada (looking towards Petit St. Vincent)

View from atop Petite Martinique, Grenada (looking towards Petite St. Vincent (spot Pilots' Discretion)

View from atop Petite Martinique, Grenada (looking towards Petite St. Vincent — spot Pilots’ Discretion!)

We hiked Petite Martinique on a Sunday and learned that all the shops are closed until 5pm. Fortunately for us, one of the local shopkeepers spotted us in our quest for water and juice and opened up his shop.

Then, in a Jimmy Buffet Caribbean moment, Ronan literally blew out his flip flop! The good news is Paulette has an Eagle Scout friend (Ed) that gave her some advice on what to carry in her hiking pack. Duct tape wrapped around two popsicle sticks and a Swiss army knife and within a few minutes, Ronan was up and running again!

With good weather on the immediate horizon, we next cruised over to Union Island where we cleared out of St. Vincent before setting our course south towards our home for the hurricane season, Grenada.

PD1 heading ashore, Baradol Island, Tobago Cays

TOBAGO CAYS – by Theresa

Tobago Cays

Tobago Cays

At long last, we arrived in the beautiful Tobago Cays in the Grenadines, West Indies! Just a short cruise (2 nautical miles) from Mayreau, the Tobago Cays Marine Park consists of five (5) uninhabited islands (Baradal, Petit Rameau, Petit Bateau, Petit Tabac and Jamesby) surrounded by a horseshoe reef. Our first night in the park we picked up a mooring ball directly in front of the turtle sanctuary just off Baradal.

Baradol Island, Tobago Cays

Baradal Island, Tobago Cays

Ronan giving the 'OK' on the mooring ball, Baradol Island, Tobago Cays

Ronan giving the ‘OK’ on the mooring ball, Baradal Island, Tobago Cays

After receiving the all clear on the mooring, we snorkeled ashore, through, and around, the turtle sanctuary where green and hawksbill turtles feed off the sea grass.

Green Turtle, Baradol Island, Tobago Cays

Green Turtle, Baradal Island, Tobago Cays

We saw hundreds of starfish, so many, that they appeared to form underwater constellations.

Cushion Starfish, just off Baradol Island, Tobago Cays

Cushion Starfish, just off Baradal Island, Tobago Cays

Cushion Starfish, just off Baradol Island, Tobago Cays

Cushion Starfish, just off Baradal Island, Tobago Cays

Needless to say, the snorkeling was amazing!

Southern Stingray & Trunkfish just off Baradol Island, Tobago Cays

Southern Stingray & Trunkfish just off Baradal Island, Tobago Cays

Palometa & Conch just off Baradol Island, Tobago Cays

Palometa & Conch just off Baradal Island, Tobago Cays

Once ashore, we explored the uninhabited island where tortoises, iguanas and birds roam freely.

Our second night in the Marine Park, we picked up a mooring ball in the cut between Petit Rameau and Petit Bateau. We had considered snorkeling ashore, however, we saw multiple sharks and rays swimming just off the boat so we instead opted to take the dinghy ashore. Petit Rameau was inhabited by mostly goats. Petit Bateau has a nice trail that runs around the island and provides nice views of the surrounding islands.

Hiking Petit Bateau, looking towards Baradol Island

Hiking Petit Bateau, looking towards Baradal & Jamesby

We have been to multiple marine parks while cruising the Caribbean and have enjoyed the pristine beauty of them all. The Tobago Cays Marine Park was no exception and we highly recommend stopping here for anyone cruising on or around these waters. We would have stayed in the park longer, however, there was some weather moving in and so we opted to leave and continue our journey south towards Grenada. Our next stop, Petit St. Vincent and Petite Martinique . . .

Mayreau looking towards the Tobago Cays

MAYREAU – by Theresa

After departing Bequia, we continued our journey south to our next Grenadines island destination, Mayreau. From Bequia, the run to Mayreau is only 23 nautical miles. Our passage was smooth with 3-6 ft. seas.  When we arrived in Salt Whistle Bay, we picked up one of the newly installed Marine Park’s mooring balls.  After diving the mooring ball, the boys went kayaking and then swam ashore. There were several other “kid boats” in the bay, so there was plenty of “boat kid” activities over the next couple of days, including one boat kid birthday party on the beach.

Boat kid (Cole's) birthday party, Salt Whistle Bay, Mayreau

Boat kid birthday party, Salt Whistle Bay, Mayreau

At 1.5 square miles, Mayreau is a much smaller island than Bequia. You can walk from one side of the island to the other in approximately fifteen (15) minutes. The hike is uphill in both directions, but well worth it in terms of both scenery and exercise. Behind the church at the top of the hill there is an excellent vantage point for looking out towards the Tobago Cays, Canouan, and Union Island.

Mayreau looking towards the Tobago Cays

Mayreau looking towards the Tobago Cays

We continued down the only paved road on the island to Saline Bay, which is where cruise ships drop off their passengers during the busy cruise ship season. Since we were there in the “off” season, we had the entire beach and bay to ourselves.

Saline Bay, Mayreau

Saline Bay, Mayreau (with Union Island in the background)

Saline Bay, Mayreau

Saline Bay, Mayreau

There is a large Salt Pond located directly behind Saline Bay. Its pretty pink hues made up for the attendant sulfurous odor!

Saline Bay, & Salt Ponds, Mayreau

Saline Bay, & Salt Ponds, Mayreau

Salt Ponds, Mayreau

Salt Ponds, Mayreau

Salt Ponds, Mayreau

Salt Ponds, Mayreau

After exploring the island we settled back onto the boat to enjoy the sunset from the bow.

Theresa & Randy enjoying sundowners and the sunset on the bow, Salt Whistle Bay, Mayreau

Theresa & Randy enjoying sundowners and the sunset on the bow, Salt Whistle Bay, Mayreau

After enjoying all that Mayreau  had to offer for a few days, we set off for our next Grenadine’s island destination, the Tobago Cays (pictures to follow in our next post).

Touring Bequia's beautiful bays - Industry Bay

BEQUIA – by Theresa

Ryan and Randy getting ready to dive the mooring ball in Bequia

Ryan and Randy getting ready to dive the mooring ball in Bequia

It has been a while since our last post about Learning to Scuba in St. Lucia, by Ryan, June 05, 2016. Opportunely, we have put those newly acquired scuba skills to good use diving mooring balls and the bottom of our boat! After departing St. Lucia, we set a course south for St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Having spent time on the main island of St. Vincent on previous visits (St. Vincent and the Grenadines, January 05, 2016) we decided to explore some of the smaller islands in the Grenadines. Our first stop was Bequia, a beautiful small island with pristine palm tree lined beaches and well protected deep water bays. We had heard that some of the mooring balls in Bequia might not be well maintained so when we arrived in Admiralty Bay our newly certified scuba gurus immediately went to work making sure our vessel was secure.

Ryan stepping in to dive the boat with Randy, Bequia

Ryan stepping in to dive the boat with Randy, Bequia

On a friend’s recommendation, we secured a mooring ball just off the Frangipanni restaurant dock. After diving the mooring ball 40 feet below, the men confirmed that our vessel was firmly secured. Since they were in the water and all suited up, appropriate boat cleaning tools were dispensed and they got busy diving and cleaning the bottom of the boat!

Once we felt comfortable that the boat was secured, we scheduled an island tour with “Gideon” on his open air safari bus (784-458-3760 or gideontaxi@vincysurf.com). While the island of Bequia is only 7 square miles, and can be toured in a couple of hours, there are plenty of magnificent sites to see. Gideon is very knowledgeable about the island’s history, present affairs, and future works in progress.

Ryan on Gideon's open air bus tour, Bequia

Ryan on Gideon’s open air safari bus tour, Bequia

Touring Bequia's beautiful bays - Industry Bay

Touring Bequia’s beautiful bays – Industry Bay

Randy and Patton on Gideon's open air bus tour, Bequia

Randy and Patton on Gideon’s open air safari bus tour, Bequia

Touring Bequia with Gideon, Fort Alexander

Touring Bequia with Gideon, Fort Alexander

Looking north over Admiralty Bay, Bequia, north (Spot Pilots' Discretion)

Looking north over Admiralty Bay, Bequia, (Spot Pilots’ Discretion)

OLD HEGG TURTLE SANCTUARY

One of our favorite stops was at the Old Hegg Turtle Sanctuary where they are raising and then releasing endangered Hawksbill Sea Turtles. We got to observe, learn about, feed, and hold the turtles.

The sanctuary is also home to older, as well as other species of turtles, including Green Turtles.

Ronan and Ryan learning about the endangered Hawksbill turtle at the turtle sanctuary in Bequia

Ronan and Ryan learning about the endangered Hawksbill turtle at the turtle sanctuary in Bequia

 

Ronan touching a Hawksbill Turtle shell, Turtle Sanctuary, Bequia

Ronan touching a Hawksbill Turtle shell, Turtle Sanctuary, Bequia

Ryan admiring a 17 year old Hawksbill Turtle at the Old Hegg Turtle Sanctuary, Bequia

Ryan admiring a 17 year old Hawksbill Turtle at the Old Hegg Turtle Sanctuary, Bequia

Ryan feeling a Hawksbill Turtle shell at the Old Hegg Turtle Sanctuary, Bequia

Ryan feeling a Hawksbill Turtle shell at the Old Hegg Turtle Sanctuary, Bequia

Theresa holding a Hawksbill turtle at the turtle sanctuary in Bequia

Theresa holding a young Hawksbill turtle at the turtle sanctuary in Bequia

HawksbillTurtle, Turtle Sanctuary, Bequia

Hawksbill Turtle, Turtle Sanctuary, Bequia

Patton also enjoyed visiting the turtle sanctuary!

After the turtle sanctuary Gideon drove us to Mt. Pleasant, the highest point on the island, where we looked out upon the neighboring islands that we would soon be visiting.

The vibrant colors of the flora we passed along the way was as spectacular as the views of the sea.

As we descended from Mt. Pleasant, we saw friends of ours, M/V Seamantha, entering Admiralty Bay. When we got back to our boat we took our dinghy over for a quick hello.

M/V Seamantha arriving in Admiralty Bay, Bequia

M/V Seamantha arriving in Admiralty Bay, Bequia

In addition to beautiful land and seascapes, Bequia has great hiking and snorkeling. We spent the next couple of days catching up with our friends in Bequia and enjoying both!

Ryan and Ronan hiking along the waterfront in Bequia

Ryan and Ronan hiking along the waterfront in Bequia

Popcorn aboard M/V Seamantha

Popcorn aboard M/V Seamantha

Our next stop after Bequia was Mayreau. To be continued in another post . . .

Pet Import Requirements in the Caribbean – by Theresa

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.