Sunday, October 15, 2017

The Beautiful Tobago Cays

The Tobago Cays were less than ten miles from Chatham Bay, Union Island, so we raised anchor in the morning and sailed around the west side of Mayreau to the cays. The Tobago Cays are a group of small uninhabited islands on the leeward side of the Horseshoe Reef. The reef protects the cays (keys) from the ocean and makes for a lovely anchorage most of the time. There are many reefs for snorkeling or diving, which also make entering the anchorages somewhat tricky. It is a little easier for catamarans with shallower drafts.

This is a national marine park and they are working hard to protect it. There was a fee for the boat and each passenger per day, but well worth it to be on a mooring buoy and help save the area. We were located next to the turtle watching area off Baradel so it was a short swim against a strong current. I struggled which told me I am really out of shape and need aerobic exercise! I should have used my fins instead of my water shoes then maybe I could have made. Dennis took me to the far side in the dinghy.

There were maybe a dozen turtles there – certainly not like so many other places where we have been. The area is surrounded by a buoy line to keep dinghies and boats out of the area. Although, the turtles don’t seem to know where the line is as we saw them swimming outside of the area and slowed the dinghy down so as not to hurt one. I was able to shoot a video as I swam alongside one.
Unfortunately, when trying to get in the dinghy to leave, a wave lifted up the dinghy and dumped me into the water. That was not a problem, but the fact that my right leg was still in the boat and caught  under the seat was a problem. My first real injury in the water: a sprained knee! Delta. Alpha. Mike. November. That took me out of snorkeling the next day when the others went to the outer reef where they saw healthy coral and many species of fish. That was good news.

The anchorage is beautiful, but packed with a hundred boats – many big catamarans that run right up in front where it is shallow. The boat boys move in quickly to sell you tee shirts, banana bread, ice and try to sign you up for their concession at the nightly barbeque. Their line is “all of your friends are coming.” Yes, they were, but they were all at different tables because each boat boy has his own business. Mr. Best Price got us first and we thought we were going with another WARC boat, but they had signed on with another vendor, so we were not with them after all. Beware if you are trying to eat there with friends as one boat should make the reservation for the whole party.
The barbeque is a major business and a fun social evening. The food was fine, but not like at Seakie and Vanessa’s. There were a number of different cooks preparing food for their specific vendor. Everyone seems to serve the same thing: your choice of lobster, fish or chicken with rice, fried plantains and potatoes. It is quite a business model - and a tourist hustle! At Vanessa’s, we also had a nice green salad. Having had lobster three nights in a row, it was time to cook dinner on the boat!

We would be moving on to Bequia (pronounced Bek-way) for a couple of nights as it was nearing the time to be in Marigot Bay, St. Lucia. We would clear out of St. Vincent and The Grenadines in Bequia and head to the Pitons of St. Lucia for one night before entering the Marigot Bay harbor. We had reserved a slip at The Marina at Marigot Bay. The fleet would be gathering there and prepare for the final event as a fleet. (OPPS! Here come the tears again.)

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