S/V Tiger Lilly

Rig heavy, reef early, and pray often; for God does not assure us an easy passage, but He does promise a safe anchorage...

02 January 2018 | Clan Jeti Anchorage, Georgetown, Penang Island, Malaysia
03 November 2016 | Singapore, Southeast Asia
02 October 2016 | Kumai River, Borneo
24 August 2016 | Rindja Island, Indonesia
22 July 2016 | Fannie Bay, Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia
14 June 2016 | Pancake Creek, Queensland, Australia
13 June 2016 | Pancake Creek, Queensland, Australia
11 June 2016 | Burnette Heads, Queensland, Australia
07 June 2016 | Mooloolaba, Queensland, Australia
11 May 2016 | Colmsie, Brisbane River, Queensland, Australia
23 December 2015 | Brisbane, Australia
13 August 2015 | Whangarei, New Zealand
07 August 2015 | Whangarei, New Zealand
23 July 2015 | Whangarei, New Zealand
12 April 2015 | Whangarei, New Zealand
11 February 2015 | Whangarei, New Zealand
25 January 2015 | Whangarei, New Zealand
24 September 2014 | BORA BORA, French Polynesia
23 September 2014 | Bora Bora


10 June 2012 | Union Island, The Grenadines
Tom & Lilly
We were at Salt Whistle Bay, Mayreau, Saint Vincent & The Grenadines (SVG) for the First Annual End-of-Season Pig Roast. We were eating, drinking and re-sailing the cruising season just past when we heard the disturbing news; A SGV Customs Officer had been drowned during the boarding of a suspected Venezuelan drug-boat off Union Island. The drug-runners resisted, resulting in a viscous melee, and gun-battle; three of the drug-runners were killed, one wounded, and the remainder of the vessel's nine-man crew were taken into custody. The dead Customs Officer, Othniel Whyte, was married, a father of four children, a grandfather, and had been an SVG Customs Officer for over 21 years. As cruisers we have regular contact with these officers, and we enjoy sailing the waters where the attack took place. All of this was very sobering news to the sailors at the Tobago Cays.

The following day we sailed down to Clifton, Union Island. Our cruising season was drawing to a close, and we were there to check-out of SVG on Monday morning. Sundays in most West Indian towns are usually quiet, however, 10 June in Clifton was eerily so. We asked a local fellow on the street what was up. He said most of the island's residents were down in Ashton for the funeral. We asked if the funeral was for the SVG Customs Officer and he said it was. Since we had come ashore to hike and explore we were certainly not dressed for a funeral. However, it was about to begin, and we decided to go and represent the cruising community - dressed just as we were. Usually our contact with Customs and Immigration Officers is restricted to standing before them at a high counter and filling out multiple copies of antiquated clearance forms, separated by sheets and sheets of messy old-fashioned carbon paper. Most of the cruising community hail from First World digitized countries, and to be perfectly honest, we tend to be a bit smug when dealing with Third World bureaucracies. But not today; today a man was in his coffin, and that man was dead because he did his duty and stood up against evil.

Make no mistake about it, the people who manufacture and distribute illegal drugs are evil, and those that use this poison are fools. As a retired Naval Officer, the current fad to romanticize the pirate/drug culture image goes right against my grain... (Lilly sez: Should we put the boy down as undecided?) The Windward Islands of the southeast Caribbean are often the first stop of the narco-terrorists operating out of South America as they head north to the United States. Officer Whyte was a casualty on the front line of the international War on Drugs; a protracted conflict which seems to have no end, and only a few victories. As cruisers, we are grateful that there are courageous people like Officer Whyte trying their best with limited material resources and scant public support, to make the world a safer and better place for us all. Lilly and I feel quite strongly about the many sacrifices law enforcement personnel make for us each day, and that is why we found ourselves hurrying across Union Island towards Ashton Village on that quiet Sunday morning. We would go to the funeral dressed in shorts and tee shirts, and the ubiquitous cruiser backpack; and we would stand and pray with Officer Whyte's family and friends. As we left Clifton a local man fell-in walking with us; he told us how to get to Ashton and where the church and cemetery were located.

We heard the procession well before we saw it. The first sounds which worked their way up the Trades to us was the deep thump of a base drum, juxtaposed by the staccato trumpets of a marching band. As we rounded a hill and came down into Ashton Village we could see hundreds of people in the road ahead. They surrounded the hearse, and their presence seemed to lift it, giving the scene a spiritual buoyancy as the procession left the church grounds. They were marching, dancing, and singing loudly: "When we all get to heaven, what a glorious day that will be. When we all see Jesus, we will sing and shout for victory." We had come for a funeral, and found ourselves in a joyous celebration of life; the life of a man well-loved. The Saint Vincent Police Marching Band preceded the hearse in their full regalia; sparkling crisp white uniforms, the flash of their horns reflecting the bright light of the tropical sun, and the beat of their triumphant music carrying the celebration forward. This was in-fact a celebration. We had come to support these good folks who had lost a loved one, yet it was they who lifted our hearts and reminded us of the Good Fight and a race well run. They sang this rejoin as they danced down the road: "Would you be free from the power of sin? Would you over evil a victory win? There is power, power, wonder working power, in the precious blood of the Lamb." Ours were the only white faces in a sea of black. The celebrants were decked out in their Sunday best, and we were in casual garb; but we were welcome and comfortable among fellow believers. Our spirits soured as we marched along with them - good had indeed triumphed over evil.

After nearly an hour of marching, singing, and dancing, the procession approached the cemetery located on a gently sloping hillside overlooking the azure Caribbean. A severe rain squall suddenly swept in from the east and raked the funeral party, but it certainly did not dampen the Islander's spirits. West Indian lore holds that rain is the teardrops of the dead, and this was easy to visualize as we looked across the emerald cemetery grounds, dotted with white marble monuments, and the fresh earth of an open and awaiting grave. Just then, as the rain poured down, several of the women left the road and headed for the grave. They danced on the grave-side newly piled soil, and enthusiastically claimed the ground for their God - and a final victory. This was faith: to stand up and shout when your heart is broke, when it would be so much easier to just lie down and cry; to dance and proclaim life and light when the deepest darkness presses in. These folks were clearly victors, not victims.

We had come ashore that morning in tropical sunlight, anticipating an enjoyable day of hiking, with perhaps an ice cream cone to top it off; but there we stood, in a steady rain, chilled and watching these good people celebrate life, and reminding us just who we really are - Children of God. Evil had indeed been defeated by light and life and faith. Thank you Union Islander's. "When we all get to heaven..."

(This blog was published in the August 2012 issue of Caribbean Compass Magazine)
Vessel Name: Tiger Lilly
Vessel Make/Model: 1977 CSY44 walkover hull #55
Hailing Port: Green Cove Springs
Crew: Lilly and Tom Service
Lilly is a retired business woman, and was previously a professional athlete. As one of America's first professional female triathletes, she was a pioneer in woman's sports. [...]
Our kids: From 1987 to 1991 Tom circumnavigated the world with his family. Daughters Dawn and Jennifer were ages 11 & 13 when they departed on a 4 year, 40 country / island group, Trade Wind voyage around the world, and 15 & 17 when they returned to St. Petersburg, FL. During his high school [...]
Tiger Lilly's Photos - Main
Approximately 100 Asian elephants live in and around the Trincomalee Landfill in northeast Sri Lanka. These huge creatures eat plastic strewn trash and garbage because they have been driven back from their natural habitat by the encroachment of farms.
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1 Photo | 8 Sub-Albums
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