Tag Archives: Statia

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.

 

Shirley Heights, Antigua

ST. KITTS & NEVIS, and ANTIGUA – by Theresa

ST. KITTS & NEVIS

Quill volcano, Statia

Quill volcano, Statia

After departing St. Bart, we cruised past the Quill volcano on St. Eustatius and on to Majors Bay in St. Kitts. As the only boat in the harbor, we dropped our anchor in 10 feet of crystal clear water and enjoyed the view of Nuestra Señora del las Nieves (Our Lady of Snow), in Nevis, while enjoying our evening sun downers on our bow. Majors Bay is located just west of the narrows between St. Kitts & Nevis, and is a good place to stage before heading to Antigua. Another sunrise departure and we were on our way!

ANTIGUA

The day we cruised to Antigua was perhaps one of the calmest days in the Caribbean Sea that we have encountered to date with zero to one (0-1) foot seas. The clouds reflecting in the mirror-like water, as the Pilot’s Discretion cruised along slicing the sea like a hot knife through warm butter, was yet another one of those surreal moments that will remain forever etched in our minds.

NELSON’S DOCKYARD

After the calm day at sea, we cruised into English Harbor and tied up at the historic Nelson’s Dockyard Marina. The marina is  situated in the heart of a restored 18th century naval base and is named after Admiral Horatio Nelson who gained notoriety in the battle of Trafalgar. While the old naval vessels are long gone, replaced with private yachts, one cannot help but sense the immense history of this working maritime monument while strolling around the grounds.

The old Officer's Quarters now houses the marina office & other yacht service providers

The old Officer’s Quarters now houses the marina office & other yacht service providers

Ryan & Ronan pushing the replica capstans (used to careen British naval vessels), Nelson's Dockyard, Antigua

Ryan & Ronan pushing the replica capstans (used to careen British naval vessels), Nelson’s Dockyard, Antigua

FORT BERKELEY

The historical Fort Berkeley is just a short stroll from the restored naval base and is well worth the hike.

Patton taking in the view from his jet pack perch at Fort Berkely, Antigua

Patton taking in the view from his jet pack perch at Fort Berkely, Antigua

CLASSIC YACHT REGATTA

We had the good fortune to have arrived at Nelson’s Dockyard just in time for the 2016 Classic Yacht Regatta. At the conclusion of the regatta, the classic yacht parade sailed right past our boat giving us front row seat viewing to the spectacular vessels from a different era.

Classic Yacht Parade, Antigua

Classic Yacht Parade, Antigua

ANTIGUA SAIL WEEK

The Classic Yacht Regatta was followed by Antigua Sail Week with week long festivities that rivalled the Classic Yacht Regatta.

SHIRLEY HEIGHTS

We had been told that no trip to Antigua would be complete without a journey to Shirley Heights. Cruisers and locals gather there every Sunday night to enjoy the the spectacular sunset views, complete with BBQ, and steel drum reggae and calypso. The night that we were there was no exception. Mother nature painted the sky in vibrant colors as we watched the sun set over the horizon with the Pilot’s Discretion in the harbor below.

Shirley Heights, Antigua

Shirley Heights, Sunday night BBQ, with steel band reggae & calypso, Antigua

Shirley Heights, Antigua

Shirley Heights, Antigua

Our next adventures will have us continuing to cruise south, including stops in Guadeloupe, Dominica, Martinique and St. Lucia. We will continue to post as both internet and time allow. In the meantime, wishing a very happy Mother’s Day to the most wonderful and inspirational woman I know, my Mom! We are looking forward to seeing you very soon.

 

Cane Garden Bay, British Virgin Islands

Mad Dash for the British Virgin Islands, 9 Countries in 6 Days – by Randy

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 – by Randy

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.