Monthly Archives: March 2017

Vacation in St. Lucia

One of several amazing rainbows we sighted from Arc En Ciel in St. Lucia

Visitors to St. Lucia

I spent nine days in St. Lucia in March with family.

I have been to the Caribbean six times now.  After a visit, I like to describe the experience for those who have been before and for those contemplating a visit.

Being from New England, it is nice to get to a warm place during our cold months (November-April).

This trip was the perfect getaway because the day

Snowy Connecticut the day before we left for sunny St. Lucia

before we left Connecticut it snowed.  Wasn’t deep but a reminder of what we wanted to get away from.

St. Lucia is part of the British West Indies and was about a 5-hour direct flight (United) from Newark (NJ).

We landed in Hewanorra International Airport on the southern end of the 27-mile island.  It took us about an hour to get to the place we stayed at: Arc En Ciel.  The roadway was steep and narrow and more than a bit scary.

I had seen a video of Arc En Ciel and it was no understatement to say that it was beautiful.  Sometimes a place looks good in the advertisements and then disappoints when you actually get there.  Not this place.

Palm trees everywhere greeted us with temperatures in the 70s and low 80s.

The view was different from any other Caribbean place I had been to because we were not at sea level.  We had an “overlooking” view of the beach below.  No wonder the video of Arc En Ciel didn’t show water nearby.  Water was indeed nearby but it would necessitate walking a very steep road close to a quarter mile in length to get to Sugar Beach………..and then there’s the walk back!

Sugar Beach

I ended up getting to Sugar Beach only three times during our visit.  This was certainly not to be the usual beach-walking vacation we had experienced in Turks and Caicos, Barbados, and Anguilla.

But what Arc En Ciel lacked in beach access it made up for in on-site perfection.  A wonderful pool was in our midst with plenty of lounge chairs available.

The temperature at night surprised me some.  It was cooler, probably high 60s, than I figured and I was glad that I had a running suit with me.

The daytime temps were in the 80s which sure felt good to us New Englanders!  I am a fanatic about avoiding sunburns so I spent considerable time in shaded areas.

Porch reading

Arc En Ciel had amazing porches to soak in the warm air and the views from.  Plenty of reading got done there as well as sleeping.

The internet worked and there was TV.  My relationship with TV is not a good one so I was glad to avoid any use of it for the nine days.

The view was remarkable.  We were situated in between the Gros and Petit Pitons.  They loomed large on either side of us.  One of them apparently could be hiked but the thought of trying it never entered my mind.

Boats of all types sailed past checking out the Pitons.  One day a five-story tour boat was out there and you could see many flashes go off from cameras.  Then the boat turned around and the flashes came from the other side.

Some of the boats anchored off Sugar Beach for overnights.  I have a picture of a nicely lighted one.

We brought some food with us because the price of food in the Caribbean is very steep.

The meals were wonderful

All the meals at Arc En Ciel were prepared by staff.  In some of the meals they used the food we brought.

I had recently switched to a Nutritarian Diet and so I was avoiding meat, pasta, alcohol, bread, and dairy products.  I feared that there would be little that I could eat.  I would be proven wrong.  I dined on an amazing assortment of salads, vegetables, and fruit.  For those eating differently, there were plenty of meat meals and fancy desserts.

I walked down to Sugar Beach several times.  I wanted to get my feet in the Caribbean and I hoped to find a souvenir shop to get a St. Lucia shirt.  Accomplished both.  I did make sure that I was wearing my running suit to avoid sunburn.

While I was on the beach I watched folks getting instructions for scuba diving.  I also saw a boat on shore filled with local fruit that I assume was for sale.

The sunsets were awesome on a nightly basis.

Most surprising thing about our St. Lucia visit?  We saw almost none of the island.  The roads were very limited and to get to-and-from places would have taken hours.  Besides we were at this perfect place from which you didn’t really need to leave.

Breakfast spot with a rainbow in the background

Best part about St. Lucia, other than having extended time with family?  The rainbows.  Arc En Ciel means, “arch of color.”  Sometimes you think of rainy conditions as being a downer.  Not this place.  What rain meant was that there would be another rainbow.  And from the elevated spot we were at, we had marvelous views from the porch of each rainbow that came along.

St. Lucia is not a place that allows itself to get easily explored.  Rugged terrain prevents it.  This makes St. Lucia a perfect fit for the stay-at-home tourist.  Once we figured that out we did indeed stay-at-home at wonderful Arc En Ciel and enjoyed every minute of it.

(The pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Arc En Ciel bench

Lighted boat off Sugar Beach

St. Lucia sunset

Arc En Ciel entrance

Arc En Ciel sunset



View of Arc En Ciel

St. Lucia flora

Deck pose

Palm tree reflection

Short walk to the pool

Caribbean water

One of the two pitons

View of the beach below

Nice dining spot


Double rainbow

Along the Caribbean at Sugar Beach

Diving lessons

Foliage at Arc En Ciel

Reading/Visiting on the porch

Fruit boat on Sugar Beach






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Central Catholic holds off Everett 68-65 to reach D1 North finals

Ghared Boyce, defended by Kevin Constant, has a possible game-tying shot in the air as the buzzer sounds.

Bret Edwards found two openings to the basket late in the game.

(North Andover MA) Ghared Boyce put up his second 3-pointer in the final thirty seconds but this one didn’t go and #3 Central Catholic had a gutsy 68-65 win over #2 Everett on Wednesday night.

The victory sends Central (20-5) to the Division 1 North finals on Saturday against Cambridge at North Andover High School (6PM).  The Raiders lost, 70-61, to Cambridge in February.

Tonight’s game was exciting and enthusiastically watched.  Fifteen lead changes will do that to you!

Bret Edwards turned out to be the hero for Central because he cashed two layups in the last 1:18 of the contest.

Bret’s first layup was answered by a second-chance triple by Ghared Boyce that put the Tide (19-3) within one (66-65).  Bret’s second layup, with eleven seconds left, gave the Raiders a 3-point cushion. When Ghared’s last-second, triple try went wide the team from Lawrence had win #20 and at least one more game to play.

Theo Zidor gets the bad news (5 fouls) with three minutes left.

The reigning Super Bowl champs played much of the second half without 6’6” inside player Theo Zidor because of foul trouble.

Junior Ghared Boyce led all scorers with twenty-one points.  Ghared already has 1000 points.  The 6’ guard had a quiet first half (five points) but was the go-to guy for Everett down the stretch.

Colin Bradanese paced Central with twenty points.  Teammate Dom Keegan drained five triples for fifteen points.  CC had eight from long range.

Jordan McAfee carried Everett in the first half with seventeen points.

Sam Lara had a quiet six points for CC after netting twenty-five in the quarter-finals against Andover.

The Raiders won despite missing nine free throws (14/23).

Everett has now last five straight years in the D1 North semi-finals.

Everett box

Central Catholic box

(All pictures above and below will enlarge significantly if you click on them.)

Bret Edwards afterwards

Kevin Constant (#11) soars toward the hoop

Colin Bradanese (20 points) gets a layup

Junior Isaiah Likely

Theo Zidor and Sam Lara

Donnell Skeen defended by Bret Edwards

Jordan McAfee, Sam Lara, and Ghared Boyce eye a rebound

Theo Zidor (10 points) gets two

Ghared Boyce (21 points) sees double coverage.


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Woburn dominates Central Catholic 65-44 to gain D1 North finals

Mya Blazejowski finds an opening

Marissa Gattuso (16 points) sets up a teammate for a layup

(Haverhill MA) Woburn had the lead early, won every quarter, dominating Central Catholic, 65-44, in the Division 1 North semifinals at Whittier Tech on Monday night.

This game had the flow of a car needing servicing as both teams pressured the other and whistles blew endlessly stopping play.  There were fifty fouls called and twenty-eight of them went against the Raiders.

The Tanners (20-3) will return to Whittier on Saturday for a chance at a second straight D1 North title.

The combination of missed shots and turnovers (21) prevented the Raiders (16-7) from putting consecutive points together.  Their largest point-run was five.  Nicole Elbeery (10 points) did that run by herself and with it the senior brought CC within a point of the lead, 11-10 early in the second quarter.

#3 Woburn had runs of five points or better six times during the game.

Senior Marissa Gattuso (16 points) and Kelsey Qualey (14 points) paced the Tanners.

Woburn coach Steve Sullivan (144-31) used plenty of substitutes and those fresh legs kept the team from Lawrence from mounting any late-game heroics.

Nicole Elbeery (10 points) finds an opening

#7 Central Catholic trailed by eleven (53-42) with 5 ½ minutes remaining but Woburn used the finals minutes to outscore the team from the Merrimack Valley Conference, 12-2, and cruise to the win.  A big shot in that surge was a three by Mya Blazejowski (from Ashlyn Pacheco) from in front of the Tanners’ bench and student section.

A key in this game was the defense Cassie Palmisano played on CC’s top scorer, Nicole Elbeery, limiting the senior’s touches.  Nicole had 22 points in the Raiders’ quarterfinals win over Peabody.

Marissa Gattuso led all scorers in points but her value to Woburn goes far beyond the points.  The Merrimack-bound senior is a magnificent dribbler and passer.  Defensively, Marissa has a knack of jumping passing lanes for steals.  Her all-around abilities make her special.  This is the third time I have seen her play.

One thing I’m sure CC coach Casey Grange would have liked to fix was his team’s defense against Woburn’s inbounds plays that led to three layups.

The Tanners made 20-of-26 free throws.  Kelsey Qualey was 7-for-9.

Plenty of contact throughout the game.  Central Catholic was tough on the boards and five of their baskets came on second-chance opportunities.

Woburn had three 3’s in the first quarter (Mya Blazejowski, Ashlyn Pacheco, Andrea Schiavone).

The game’s high scorers – Kaylee Thomas (12 points) and Marissa Gattuso (16 points)

Kaylee Thomas led CC in scoring with twelve points.

Woburn knocked Central Catholic out of the playoffs last year in the First Round at Woburn High School.  The Tanners went on to the state semifinals before losing to eventual state champs Bishop Feehan.

Central Catholic box

Woburn box

(All pictures above and below will enlarge considerably.)

Mya Blazejowski gets a block against the Raiders

Marissa Gattuso heads up court

Kaylee Thomas tries a layup in traffic

Nicole Wiggins

Ashlyn Pacheco

Staring down a defender

Andrea Schiavone

Marissa Gattuso gets off a shot

Kelsey Qualey was 7-for-9 from the line

Marissa Gattuso

Katie Kirsch goes for a block

Cassie Palmisano guards Nicole Elbeery

Mya Blazejowski lifts for a triple

Marissa Gattuso and Kaitlyn Quinn

Marina Rufo



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Newburyport big in closing minutes to get D3 North quarterfinals win over Triton 59-57

Brendan Powers' go-ahead basket with 1:04 left on a pass from Robbie Shay (on the right)

Brendan Powers’ go-ahead basket with 1:04 left on a pass from Robbie Shay (on the right)

Dylan Shute takes the last shot of the game.

Dylan Shute sets to take the last shot of the game.

(Newburyport MA) This one went right down to the last possession.

#2 Newburyport survived #7 Triton’s last-second shot attempt and won a D3 North quarterfinals game, 59-57, before a standing-room crowd that got their money’s worth on Saturday afternoon.

Triton (15-8) trailed by as many as eleven (34-23) early in the second half but rallied in the final quarter to lead by five (49-44), and later six (55-49), with 2 ½ minutes left in the game.

Newburyport (19-3) had two wins over Triton this season and turned things up at both ends to keep their season going.

Casey McLaren - 21 points for Newburyport

Casey McLaren – 21 points for Newburyport

Casey McLaren (21 points) put up a personal run of points (two layups and a triple) to give the home team the lead, 56-55, while Triton missed a pair of shots and had a 10-second call go against them.

Triton’s Jack McCarthy (24 points) was sent to the line with 1:22 left and fearlessly canned both attempts to put Triton back on top by a point, 57-56.

Anybody’s game for sure.

During Newburyport’s next possession, Robbie Shay made the pass of the game, from right to left, getting teammate Brendan Powers a layup with a minute left.

That last minute that followed could well be a haunting memory for the Vikings.  Triton had three chances for answering points.

Twice the Vikings turned the ball over on bad passes before Casey McLaren made one-of-two free throws giving Newburyport a 2-point advantage.

In Triton’s final possession, with seconds left, Dylan Shute who was probably the 4th option for the shot, was forced into taking it and missed as the game ended.

Casey McLaren forces Will Parsons to pass on the last possession

Casey McLaren forces Will Parsons to pass on the last possession

Credit the Clippers’ defense on that final possession.  Anyone paying attention had to assume a game-on-the-line shot for Triton would come from Will Parsons (24 points) or Jack McCarthy (22 points).  The NHS defense prevented it.

First Robbie Shay closed any lane Jack McCarthy, who had eight inside baskets, could take to the hoop.  Then Casey McLaren got up close enough to Will Parsons so that the talented junior couldn’t launch a long one (he had already made five 3’s).

Because of the NHS defense, and short clock (eight seconds), Jack and Will ended up passing instead of shooting.  Dylan Shute was forced into the last shot (runner on the baseline), with Cam MacRae defending, which rolled off the rim.

The celebrating then began for the Clippers.  They move on to the semi-finals against #6 Bedford during this coming week.

Triton absorbed the loss but certainly played very well in such a tense event.

The game certainly started badly for the Vikings when their “spark” Liam Spillane picked up two fouls in the first minute and had a lengthy sit on the bench.

Jack McCarthy (22 points) scored eight inside baskets

Jack McCarthy (22 points) scored eight inside baskets

Jack McCarthy and Will Parsons had awesome games and proved more than capable of carrying the scoring load.

The Clippers had eight different players put up points.  In a 2-point win every basket was crucial.

Big afternoon for sophomore Casey McLaren.  He clearly has both-ends-of-the-court skills.  Casey made shots inside and out and was a tireless defender. He was the prime defender on Will Parsons and kept him scoreless over the last 5 ½ minutes.

I kept waiting for junior Colin Brennan to catch fire for Triton.  In the games I’ve seen, there have been times when the sharp-shooter has nailed consecutive 3-pointers.  Not today.

Sophomore Jack Tummino handled the ball nicely for Triton off the Vikings bench.

This game had its share of scoring streaks.

Newburyport put nine straight together to go from a 13-9 deficit to an 18-13 lead with 6 ½ minutes left in the second half.

Triton's Liam Spillane takes an early seat

Triton’s Liam Spillane takes an early seat

Later Newburyport put eight straight together to increase a 26-23 lead to 34-23 early in the second half.

The Vikings ran eleven unanswered points together turning a 44-38 deficit to a 49-44 advantage with 5:25 left in the game.

Newburyport followed with a run of five and Triton answered with a run of six: 55-49 with 2 ½ minutes left in the last quarter.

Casey McLaren followed with his killer collection of seven in a row in the next minute to give the Clippers the lead.

As I said earlier, there was plenty for both teams/fans to get excited about.

The Newburyport/Triton staffs was on hand to make sure things went well and things did go well.

Triton box

Newburyport box

(All pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Casey McLaren at the line, in front of the Newburyport student section, with 11.4 seconds left

Casey McLaren at the line, in front of the Newburyport student section, with 11.7 seconds left

Robbie Shay guards Will Parsons

Robbie Shay guards Will Parsons

Colin Brennan

Colin Brennan

Loose ball

Loose ball

Casey McLaren and Will Parsons battle

Casey McLaren and Will Parsons battle

Brendan Powers in for two

Brendan Powers in for two

Will Parsons draws a charge on Cam MacRae

Will Parsons draws a charge on Cam MacRae

Robbie Shay in the lane

Robbie Shay in the lane

Nick Rogers on the move

Nick Rogers on the move

Brendan Powers tries to turn the corner on Jack McCarthy

Brendan Powers tries to turn the corner on Jack McCarthy







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Second half surge gets tourney win for Amesbury 48-34 over North Reading

Abbie Sartori (17 points) fires from the corner

Abbie Sartori (17 points) fires from the corner

Maddie Napoli (13 ponts) floats in the lane

Maddie Napoli (13 ponts) floats in the lane

(Amesbury MA) Amesbury was in trouble.

Tied with North Reading (27-27) 2 ½ minutes into the second half, and having top scorer Flannery O’Connor and starter Julia LaMontagne benched with foul trouble, the #1 seeded Indians appeared headed for a short post-season.

But Amesbury recovered and put together an impressive 19-1 segment over the next 10+ minutes of playing time and went from there to win, 48-34, on Thursday night in the quarterfinals of the Division 3 North tournament.

The Indians (20-1) will play the winner of tomorrow night’s matchup between Green Academy and St. Mary’s.

#8 seed North Reading got off to a rough start as senior Maddie Napoli (13 points) hit two three’s in the first 4 ½ minutes and the Indians led, 13-1.

Kat Hassapis (16 points) finds space in the lane

Kat Hassapis (16 points) finds space in the lane

But the Hornets came all the way back riding the terrific play of senior Kat Hassapis.  Kat’s three, halfway through the 2nd period, put the visitors in front, 18-17.

The Indians finished the half on a 7-2 run, helped by two technical foul shots, to lead at intermission, 27-22.

As I referenced before, Amesbury got into foul trouble early in the second half.  Losing Flannery O’Connor was serious since the sophomore had twenty-three points in the last NR/AHS meeting and only had four points so far in this one.

After the Hornets (11-12) knotted things at 27, the Indians took the game over for the next 10+ minutes of playing time.  Ali Napoli and Chelsea Lynch replaced their foul-prone teammates and before long Amesbury was going one way and North Reading was going the other.

In the 19-1 breakaway time, senior Abbie Sartori hit three jump shots and one triple while freshman Ali Napoli made a neat move in the lane to get a layup and assisted on three of the AHS baskets.

On the NR side, scoring was a big-time struggle.  The Hornets missed five-of-six free throws and had seven turnovers.

Mia DeNofrio

Mia DeNofrio

When North Reading finally made a field goal (Mia DeNorfio) with two minutes left, the visitors were down, 46-28, and the game had gotten away from them.

Mikayla Porcaro had a 3-pointer and a successful jump shot during Amesbury’s winning run.

Abbie Sartori led all scorers with seventeen points.

NR used a box-and-one to try to keep Flannery O’Connor from getting the ball.  Worked quite well although Flannery found some room inside late in the game.

The Indians defeated North Reading, 72-57, on January 6th.  The Hornets made eight three’s in the first half of that game.  Amesbury’s 1-3-1 zone defense worked well this time around, however, by limiting NR to only three long ones in this tourney win.

North Reading was called for a technical foul after a player entered the game and their name was not in the official scorebook.

Good crowd on hand.

Box for North Reading

Box for Amesbury

(All pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Lauren Sullivan blocks from behind

Lauren Sullivan blocks from behind

Flannery O'Connor draws a crowd

Flannery O’Connor draws a crowd

Loose ball

Loose ball

Kat Hassapis defended by the Napoli sisters

Kat Hassapis defended by the Napoli sisters

Noel Riley

Noel Riley

Amesbury cheerleaders show how it's done

Amesbury cheerleaders show how it’s done

Mikayla Porcaro and Victoria Grasso

Mikayla Porcaro and Victoria Grasso

Flannery O'Connor with Abbie Sartori

Flannery O’Connor with Abbie Sartori

Maddie Napoli

Maddie Napoli

Abbie Sartori

Abbie Sartori

Kat Hassapis and Ali Napoli (Two pretty good goalies in another season)

Kat Hassapis and Ali Napoli (Two pretty good goalies in another season)

Casey McAuliffe (#10) had two three's

Casey McAuliffe (#10) had two three’s




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