Tag 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)

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.

 

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)

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.