Caribbean Air Rally 2017

2017 Governor General’s Cup

Caribbean Air Rally

We owe this wonderful adventure to our dear hosts and partners

The Caribbean Air Rally is a unique way to explore the Caribbean Islands! The International Air Rally team works hand in hand with the governments of each visited island to prepare a menu of exciting activities bringing out the authenticity and the essence of the destinations as seen through the eyes of the local people.

Every year,  fun,  passionate and  like-minded people get together to share unique and binding experiences. The Itinerary is planned taking into consideration slowest aircraft. Alternate “overland route” are always suggested but not mandatory.

 

THE STORY

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Sunday, April 2nd (Fort Lauderdale, KFXE) :

Participants are welcomed at Sano Jet Center in Fort Lauderdale (KFXE). VIP service ! met at Customs by Sano handlers who took all our luggage in and out of Customs, and pulled the plane to next door Sano parking ! What a GREAT way to start!

Registration and 2 hour workshop: pre-departure Air Rally briefing on safety, navigation, air transport regulations, customs, international flight planning and eAPIS. The Caribbean Air Rally aims at: increasing awareness, familiarizing pilots with flying procedures while being exposed to continuously changing flying conditions and regulations.

 

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Monday, April 3 (Grand Turk, Turks & Caicos): Official start!

It’s a GO! We fly from Fort Lauderdale (KFXE) to Grand Turk. Grand Turk is the capital island of the Turks and Caicos where all the history and remainders of the past can be found. Cockburn Town is the only town, peaceful and charming with a selection of historical buildings.The Rally visits outside Cruiseship  dates, so the island is 100% ours to enjoy !

thanks to Deborah, CEO Provo Air Center, Avgas was delivered from Provo to accommodate the planes and avoid an extra stop. Only few stopped on route at Exuma Intl.

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Unwind, relax and get ready for the Air Rally Party at the Bohio Dive Resort:  live band, welcome cocktails, a delicious buffet and all of it at a scenic venue on the beach enjoying a spectacular sunset.  Turks & Caicos Government dignitaries were present. The recently, first lady elected Premier, the Hon. Sharlene Cartwright-Robinson honored us by her presence accompanied by the Hon. Ralph Higgs (Minister of Tourism) who has supported the Air Rally since 2010 !  We were all to a wonderful start ! THANK YOU !

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Tuesday, April 4 (Grand Turk, Turks & Caicos): 

Time to enjoy the island! Participants rented bikes or golf carts to tour the island and have lunch on the beach, others went snorkeling. Everyone has time to enjoy the day before attending the Pilot Meeting to prepare for the next flight ahead.

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6:30pm – Cocktail reception at the Waterloo Residence: Participants were received by his Excellency Governor General John Freeman who rang the bell of the Governor General’s Cup Caribbean Air Rally 8th edition!

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Wednesday, April 5th (Anguilla): 

Don’t get too settled ! another Caribbean adventure is ahead:  Anguilla is celebrating the 50th Anniversary of their independence! Around four thousand years ago,  the  Amerindian peoples first arrived from South America. The English took over the island then the French for a brief period and back to the England. By the 1800s Anguilla was thriving as a plantation economy like most of the Caribbean. By 1958, St. Kitts, Nevis, and Anguilla became part of the Federation of the West Indies. St. Kitts, Nevis, and Anguilla together were made an associated statehood — a decision that sparked the Anguilla Revolution. in May 30, 1967. Anguilla independence is celebrated annually as Anguilla Day. December 19, 1980, Anguilla became a separate Dependent Territory with some measure of autonomy in government.

Landing at Lloyd International Airport:   Lloyd’s Aviation took good care of us: Customs clearance was a breeze ! the Hon. Victor Franklin Banks (Anguilla’s Chief minister) and the Hon. Cardigan O’Connor (Minister of Tourism) expressed their interest in attracting private pilots to the island and hoped that many more will follow our steps  to enjoy, like us,  the beauty and tranquility of this island, and the convenience of its geographical location, just a hop to a multitude of other Caribbean wonders. Anguilla is only 30 minutes ferry ride from the noisy and crowded island of St-Marteen/St-Martin.  Anguilla provides a good relaxing lay back feeling, the best of the good life set to a slow and casual island tempo.

A warm and welcoming island destination with beautiful white beaches and breathtaking turquoise seas, Anguilla is casual and easy, with a unique blend of high style and low-key elegance.

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the lovely  Paradise Cove Resort is our home for 2 days, and HOME it surely feels! The resort is ours to enjoy. beautiful garden, immense pool and a great Bar. Welcome cocktail was nothing less than an open bar! HAPPY HOUR!  Then,  hop on the bus on route for a night out to Sandy Ground.

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Thursday, April 6th (Anguilla):

Lets get serious now.. The day starts with a Pilot Briefing to prepare for the next day flight. Flight plans delivered to tower day prior  to make sure we were covered for the next day departure: this was the responsibility of the organizers.

After the briefing, the  group was transported to  Rendez-Vous Bay to enjoy water sports : SeaDoo Aqua Ranger and SeaDoo Snorkeling and a great lobster lunch at Sunshine Bar!

Not everybody… Some got a helicopter ride for lunch on a ‘sand bar’ called : Sandy Island!

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In the evening, a reception dinner was arranged by the pool exclusively for the  Caribbean Air Rally participants. Show time ! improvisation of  in flight emergency: Pilot experiencing a heart attack ! (watch video !)

Watch HERE!

Crash sketch

Friday, April 7th (Bequia, Grenadines):

”Just as we thought this could not get any better…! Here comes ”Bequia (pronounced bekway)  a green and hilly island of the Grenadines, nine miles south of St Vincent.

The flight from Anguilla to Bequia was beautiful. Everyone was very anxious to discover this island  we had so much bragged about on the program and also to meet the people who made this destination possible and to who we owe a memorable experience: Kara Randall, a wonderful lady was there on the tarmac, running from one plane to the other attending to the crews, so concerned that everything would turn out perfect !

we couldn’t leave the tarmac, we enjoyed the sight of the planes landing one after another, two of them doing a formation pass over the airport before landing:

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Steve Boone and Richard Schmidt Beech Baron pilots and Flight formation specialists

Participants were asked to bring school supplies for the students of  Paget Farm Government School. There was an abundant amount of   study books, pens, exercise books, calculators, etc..  While going through customs, we could hear the singing on the other side of the glass doors! Jane Providence, school Principal and her husband had prepared the kids to sing  a beautiful welcome song !

The song was called ‘Welcome’… written by Barry school principal’s husband and talented song writer and interpreter.

Kara Randall and Captain Ron Montano brought the Air Rally to the Island ! It was the largest group of aircraft ever to land on this island !  Sir James Mitchell, former SVG Minister was proud to see his airport enjoyed by so many private International pilots  from every part of the USA, Canada, from Europe as well !

THANK YOU KARA AND RON for making this possible

We embarked in the back of an open truck with benches… typical Bequia Taxi and we enjoyed the ride through the steep hills along the island roughed coast cheering at everyone we happen to pass on the way to the beautiful Bequia Beach Resort.

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Saturday, April 8th (Bequia, Grenadines):

Today we got to snorkel at the Tobago Cays and swim with the turtles!! The boat ride was 1 hour and 30 minutes but definitely worth it! After all the snorkeling, we had lunch at Mayreau Beach.

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Sunday, April 9th (Bequia, Grenadines):

The third day  everyone got the chance to visit the island, relax or go on an expedition. Port Elizabeth is Bequia’s capital, with colorful wooden buildings and a  scenic waterside path, the Belmont Walkway were a string of bars and restaurants. NO  all-inclusive hotels in Bequia ! everyone visiting  Bequia has to engage  in local life. Princess Margaret Beach is absolutely beautiful and we practically had it to ourselves though it was peak season there.

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Monday, April 10th (Sint Eustatius):

Caribbean Air Rally is off to Sint Eustatius!

Students from local school (about 40 students) invaded the tarmac eager to see the planes.

Welcome committee: lovely ladies dressed in beautiful costumes greeted the pilots with a welcome drink.

 

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Dinner took place at the Oceanview Restaurant located across the street from a fort overlooking the sea on a mountain: Fort Oranje. Island dignitaries were present and we had a Karaoke Party!

  Tuesday, April 11th (Sint Eustatius):

St Eustatius is a ‘special municipality’ of the Netherlands since 2010, formerly a colony of the Netherlands Antilles since 1636. No mass tourism here its the charm of Sint Eustatius. Visiting the island on a scooter? YES PLEASE! Sint Eustatius is unlike any other island in the Caribbean and has a very special vibe to it. The island is  peaceful  with  untouched landscape all around. St Eustatius has an interesting history:  it was once the most important port to European powers and the first country to officially recognize the newly formed United States of America as an independent country, in an act that is known as the ‘first salute’.

Divers got a really good opportunity to discover some of the most pristine waters in the Caribbean and some unique habitats including walls, historical wrecks, patch reefs, macro dive sites, lava flows, boulder slides, and rock outcroppings.

Participants reunited for a BBQ  at the Statia Eco Lodge, a natural paradise located at the foot of the volcano set in a tropical garden with a panoramic view of the Caribbean sea.

Wednesday, April 12th (St Croix):

The adventure continues, this time, back to US territory : St Croix (Virgin Islands)! to experience the unique culture of the largest USVirgin Island, through its arts, crafts, music and beautiful beaches. We love Christiansted, St. Croix’s with its largest town  Historic churches, charming courtyards, the many shops, boutiques, galleries, cafes and restaurants, located in front of our hotel.

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Hotel on The Cay was again our home for two days. Set on Protestant Cay, designated as one of two protected critical habitats  for the endangered St. Croix Ground Lizard, recognized as one of the rarest lizards in the world. The island is a bird sanctuary: blue heron, brown pelicans, rare white-crowned pigeon,Egrets, have taken up residency among the palms and mahogany trees. What to say about the beautiful white sand beach! Well this is where we will spend two days !

just a 5 minute boat ride from the busy Christianstead, great restaurants, cafes..

 

Again the complex was ours to enjoy a spectacular Welcome reception ! the Moko Jumbies, the music ! the food !   fire eater and glass walker ! We had sooo much fun dancing on the terrace, under a FULL moon. It was Magic ! We danced until late ! The next day,, was another day to relax, some  chartered a boat, others rented a car to visit the island… all and all everyone had a great time !

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Friday, April 14th (Providenciales, Turks & Caicos):

The adventure is coming to an end and Providenciales was the place to celebrate the finals. Another beautiful flight !  the weather contributed to the success of this Air Rally in the Caribbean,  every day ! was a beautiful sunny day !

Provo Air Center provided an amazing VIP service ! walked into the building found some delicious canapes, drinks, and never had to fill out any forms..now did this happen ??? Thank you Debbyat Provo Air Center ! jump on a limo, to the Ports of Call Resort where the celebration of the finals were to take place !

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Saturday, April 15th (Providenciales, Tuks & Caicos):

The ”Pilots of the Caribbean” changed into ”PIRATES of the Caribbean” ! RAWR!  Sapodilla Bay is where we met our pirate boat ! and  Captain Bill ALL ABOARD ! setting ‘sail’ to the pirate cove, see turtles, starfish, and all kinds of other sea creatures! but the most amazing ones…the PIRATES !

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The Governor General Cup’s Finals:

All participants returned to Ports of Call Resort to prepare for the Caribbean Air Rally finals. One last questionnaire was submitted and had to be completed under supervision from the organizing committee.

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In 3rd position : Team Kennett from BC, Canada!

 

In 2nd position: Team McClory / Grier

In 1st position, Winners of the 2017 Governor General’s Cup Caribbean Air Rally:

Team Fortier / Davignon !!

 

 

A cocktail celebration followed and that was it ! THE END OF another wonderful edition, see you next year ! April 3- 12.. stay tune, we will be posting soon on this website, or better register for the Newsletter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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