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Date: 20 Dec 2011 00:37:10
Title: Tobago Cays

15:12.11, 12:38.98N 61:21.28W
 

We got plenty of fuel and water from Petite Martinique – glad the weather was calm, the swell alongside the little dock was pretty big, boat all over the place. 

 

For some reason unknown to us – PM is duty free (I guess because it is so small the Grenadan government can’t be bothered to get to fussed about it) so we had cheap fuel. . .  and also stocked up our booze lockers!

 

Then headed up to Tobago Cays which is a huge barrier reef and some little uninhabited islands to the east of Mayreau.  The whole area is a national park and this unfortunately means you aren’t allowed to dive without a local dive operator, but, it also means no fishing takes place and the cays are absolutely full of fish, to the snorkeling is good.

 

The entrance to the cays isn’t difficult it just looks a bit daunting at first, we sailed around the north point of Mayreau then down a safe channel into the cays themselves.  The whole area is surrounded by a horseshoe shaped barrier reef a couple of miles long.   We anchored in the northern half looking out across the sea to the east with waves breaking on the reef.   The water is bright blue with white sand below the boat.  Our first evening was lovely, with no lights around the stars were as bright as when you are out at sea sailing at night…. Then the wind came. . . . we couldn’t move the boat as we didn’t fancy trying to navigate about in the dark.  The anchor held fine but the boat bounced around in the swell that started to come over the reef.  Ended up sleeping in the stern cabin as sleeping in the front was impossible.

 

Next day we moved around into the lee of one of the islands and all was much more peaceful.  In the park they have marked out an area with buoys where you are not supposed to drive your tender.  This is called the ‘turtle watching area’   I thought this sounded crazy, turtles can go anywhere, they like eating sea grass, but they can go and eat sea grass wherever they want so I didn’t think I would acutally see any turtles..  Even so, I put on mask and swam from the boat to the designated turtle observation point.  I was amazed – saw 3 turtles in the space of about 10 mins.  One was huge, about 3 ft long with two remora accompanying it.   So it must be an especially nice sea grass here and the turtles aren’t too bothered about people snorkeling above them and they probably are happier without tenders zooming over the top of them every 2 minutes.

 

We only stayed one more night in Tobago cays as there is supposed to be quite a lot of wind coming in over the next couple of days and the cays aren’t brilliantly protected.  We may well go back as they’re not far away – it would be good to explore the islands some more and do some more snorkeling but we wanted to get to better shelter so we headed off this morning to Bequia (said ‘Bek-way’ )., which has much more shelter . . .
 
Nice little house on PM 'main' street
 
Had to take a picture of the perfect postcard palm trees - Saltwhistle Bay, Mayreau.  Too many charter yachts and t-shirt sellers for our liking though
 
Snorkelling pic in the Tobago Cays, clear water a couple of metres deep and lots of fish
 
View from the boat - Tobago Cays, little rocky islands close by and 'Jack's Island' on the left (looks like a thin strip) - perfect flat, palm tree ridden island where Jack got marooned in 'Pirates of the Caribbean' .  This island is called Petite Tabac and is outside of the main Horseshoe reef, it was the only island we couldn't really get to in the weather as you get some big waves. .  too big for the tender... once you go outside the barrier reef.  Bigger islands in the backtround are Union in the distant right and PM in the middle background.  It was a squally day when this pic was taken.
 

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