Tag Archives: Port Louis Marina

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.

 

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.

 

Course track

SUMMER IN GRENADA, SEASON 2 – by Theresa

Leaving the Tobago Cays astern, cruising just outside of the exclusionary zone for the underwater volcano, Kick ’em Jenny, we spotted Grenada, our summer home port for our second hurricane season, immediately on the horizon.  We cruised down the leeward side of the island, past the small fishing village of Gouyave, and into our summer home port in St. Georges harbor.

 

Pilots' Discretion cruising in to St. Georges, Grenada

Pilots’ Discretion cruising into St. Georges harbor, Grenada

After clearing immigration and customs, we hoisted  the courtesy flag of our host nation.

While we endured typical Grenada passing showers on the day we arrived, we had many sunny days ahead of us. With school out for the summer, the boys immediately set out looking for some summer fun and adventures. Since this is our second summer in Grenada (see A Day in the Life of Grenada, 2015/08/02), we were already familiar with the lay of the land. We did not miss a beat getting back into the swing of the weekly, often wet and muddy, but always scenic and fun hikes (a.k.a. “hashes”).

Ronan rope action, hiking in Grenada

Ronan rope action, hiking in Grenada

Ryan crossing the stream hiking in Grenada (no use even trying to keep those shoes dry!)

Ryan crossing the stream hiking in Grenada (no use even trying to keep those shoes dry!)

Ronan and Ryan hiking in Grenada ... just a little muddy

Ronan and Ryan hiking in Grenada … just a little muddy. The shredded paper marks the trail.

Ronan taking in the view on the hash in Grenada

Ronan taking in the view on the hash in Grenada

There are a lot of other ‘kid boats’ riding out the hurricane season in Grenada, so much so, the boat kids have their own morning net on the VHF radio to communicate and organize events. The ‘Kids Organized Society’ (KOS, pronounced K-os, or chaos) meets weekly at Secret Harbor for a variety of fun activities.

In the spirit of the 2016 Olympic games, the kids came together on Calabash Beach, Prickly Bay, for a mini-Olympics. There were relay races, three-legged races, swimming competitions and the ever popular tug-of war!

Calabash Beach Mini-Olympics

Ready, set, go!

Ronan and Ryan on the GYC dock

Ronan and Ryan on the GYC dock

The boys spent most of the summer at the Grenada Yacht Club sailing camp. Since this was their second summer attending the camp, they were afforded greater responsibility for rigging and de-rigging the boats. They also helped teach the new, younger sailors the points of sail and how to read the wind and water. (See last years’ post on Camp Grenada, 2015/08/07)

Grenada Yacht Club, St. Georges, Grenada

Grenada Yacht Club, St. Georges, Grenada

Sailing in St. Georges, Grenada

Sailing in St. Georges, Grenada

Ronan sailing

Ronan sailing

Ryan derigging the mosquito

Ryan derigging the mosquito

Working together to put the sails away

Working together to put the sails away

Another fun adventure we enjoyed this summer was a river tubing birthday party!

The summer has not been all fun and games. We have accomplished a great many ‘boat projects’ this summer, with more on the horizon. Next week we are having the boat hauled out of the water so that we can have her bottom painted along with some additional projects that are best achieved with the boat on the hard. We will ride out the boat haul at one of our favorite places in Grenada, Mount Cinnamon Resort. More to follow on that in our next post …

Technical Services Available in Grenada – by Randy

For cruisers working their way south through the Caribbean chain, Grenada is a logical place to stop to address whatever maintenance issues that may have presented themselves to you along the way. First and foremost, Grenada is physically located south of the hurricane belt at a latitude most insurance companies consider “safe” during the Atlantic hurricane season (safe is a relative term and although hurricanes tend to turn north prior to reaching Grenada, there have been exceptions with devastating consequences). A prudent mariner must maintain a weather eye and always have a contingency plan just in case mother-nature decides to operate outside of the statistical norms. Our insurance company mandated that we would remain south of 12 degrees, 30 minutes latitude from June 1, through Nov 1, making our decision to seek out yacht maintenance in Grenada a simple one. There are multiple boat yards capable of hauling everything from small mono hull sailboats, wide beam multi hull cats to mega yachts. In addition we found  skilled technicians, well versed in modern marine systems, including sailmakers, upholsterers, marine electronics experts and expert woodworking craftsmen that are capable of handling anything from a minor nick in the woodwork of a salon to complete yacht refurbishment. We did have some unfortunate experiences with some of the tradesmen and since it is not our desire to make it more difficult for motivated workers to earn a living we will not call them out publically. Suffice it to say, if we had a less than satisfactory experience with a vendor you will not see them listed here. We hope that the folks that let us down have learned from the experience and will raise their game. If we have listed someone on this blog, you can rest assured that they met or exceeded our expectations.

For a reliable maritime day laborer, there are many to choose from around the Port Louis Marina but we cannot recommend any of them more highly than Patrick King. Patrick has always been  professional, hard working, courteous and trustworthy. Everyone in our family has come to consider Patrick not just an employee but also a friend. Should you need to get in touch with Patrick he can be reached at (473) 416-9622 or (473) 538-6536. If you have a requirement for a diesel mechanic or electrician, or have any refrigeration issues, the guys that work for Palm Tree Marine are top notch. Palm Tree Marine’s number is (473) 407- 2783. Steffan Meyerer and his crew at Driftwood Fine Yacht Woodworking (473) 459-9859 did an outstanding job installing custom cabinetry in the main salon of the Pilot’s Discretion as well as redesigning our galley to provide room for our new Fisher Paykel dishwasher. While it is not inexpensive to properly maintain a 50′ motor yacht each of the people we mentioned above came in at or below their initial estimates for the work we requested of them, often times after circumstances required us to modify the initial plan of attack with a more complicated work around. All in all, we have found Grenada to be one of the best places in the Caribbean to address the myriad issues that come up while actively cruising aboard our floating home.

Carenage waterfront, St. Geoarges, Grenada

A DAY IN THE LIFE IN GRENADA – by Randy

We have been exploring Grenada for a little over two months now and still there remains much more to be seen both on land and at sea. Fortunately, Port Louis Marina, in St.  Georges, is centrally located giving us easy land or dinghy-dock water access to the waterfront shops and restaurants in both St. Georges and Carenage.

PORT LOUIS MARINA

Port Louis Marina (PLM) is a resort destination unto itself and we have been enjoying all of the amenities, including the spa,  pool, grounds, restaurants, waterfront park and beach (click on any photo for slide show).

 GRAND ANSE

The pristine Grand Anse Beach is only a short distance from the marina by land or sea. The boys have been enjoying snorkeling with their friends just off the beach, as well as “sea-bobbing” (we had to look that up before agreeing to allow them to go do it), and getting pulled on a tube behind the dinghy.

 HIKING THE MOUNTAINS AND RAINFORESTS

Popular among cruisers, locals, and students from the on-island American University School of Medical and Veterinary Science, are the weekly organized hiking trips, known as hashes, which are scheduled at various locations around the island. Each week, bus loads of enthusiastic cruisers, locals and students arrive eager to get some exercise, explore local terrain, and partake in the after hike revelry.

We have been hiking in the mountains and rain forests where we have seen banana tree plantations, monkeys, tropical flower groves, and amazing vistas (click on any photo for slide show).

With equally compelling scenery, other hikes have taken us through the countryside and along the coast line(s) of Grenada.

Patrick teaching R&R how to wax the boat

Patrick teaching R&R how to wax the boat

 

With all of the above said, it is not all fun and games in Grenada. At the end of the day, the boat requires daily maintenance and upkeep, not the least of which is keeping her clean and waxed. Fortunately for us, a very friendly and competent local gentlemen named “Patrick” has been assisting us in with these ongoing laborious efforts. He has taken the boys on in apprenticeship teaching them how to keep the boat “ship-shape!” Additionally, we have utilized our time in Grenada to take advantage of the well developed yacht support infrastructure to complete some upgrades to the Pilots’ Discretion to make her more long term cruiser friendly.

 

Rainbow over Port Louis Marina

Rainbow over Port Louis Marina