Tobago Cays and Chatham Bay, 06/03/2014. 12.36.28N

David Batten
Sat 8 Mar 2014 21:49
Tuesday, 04/03/2014.  After a very bumpy night with loud slapping and banging of waves on the stern, we decide to try the other side of the Islands, nearer the reef itself and motor round the Northern end of Petit Rameau.  The channel is quite narrow and with 15 to 17 knots of true wind and plenty of white horses everywhere as well as the breakers, it was a jolly little trip.  The sea was a bit more consistent the other side and we dropped anchor in the “deep” area between Petit Bateau and the reef, with all the other yachts.  We were a little disappointed with the snorkelling off Baradel in the Turtle area, seeing only one Turtle and a very impressive Flying Gunard fish.  (Skipper’s wife was re-assured to see live conches in this area, as the the number of shells around make one feel there can’t be any left.)  However, on the dinghy ride back to the boat, we saw about 5 turtles, including 2 that surfaced quite close to us.   We did have very good snorkelling off Petit Bateau in the afternoon, seeing 2 lovely Spotted Eagle Rays and very good coral.  The coral everywhere so far has been disappointing, too many yachts and or global warming?
Part of the Reef that forms Tobago Cays, Palm Island in the background   Petit Bateau from the Windward side, with yachts anchored behind in the cut
View of the anchorage off the reef with Palm Island in the Background and the bay on the windward side of Petit Bateau, with Yachts anchored in the “cut” behind the Island
Wednesday 05/03/2014.  It is still blowing a consistent force 5 and rougher than yesterday, so we decide to move on, after watching The Truants indulging in some retail therapy courtesy of “Mr Quality".
Retail Therapy, Tobago Cays Style, SY Truant
Retail therapy,Caribbean style?  The Truants supporting local business.
We departed the Cays after breakfast, following one monohull and several catamarans through the South exit.  Downwind and with the reefs showing clearly, it was an easy exit followed by a fast sail, genoa only, to Chatham Bay.  How nice was Chatham Bay, with its good shelter and calm waters, even if there were gusts at times from the steep hill surrounding the anchorage.  We snorkelled in the calm, if somewhat murky waters and enjoyed an evening drink in the Palm Tree shack with the crew from Truant, plus David and Sylvie and their guests and Alex, Michelle, Noah and Fern from Jade, who were with us on the ARC.
Going Ashore for drinks, Chatham Bay      Drinks Party, Yachting Style, Palm Leaf Bar, Chatham Bay
Going ashore for an evening drink and the party gathering at the Palm Tree Bar/Restaurant at Chatham Bay.  No drink and drive laws for dinghies!
Thursday 06/03/2014.  After a peaceful night, the wind has got up so a good day for stretching our legs on Union Island.  We walked up the hill behind the Palm Tree and looked out to sea over Bloody Beach with Mayreau in the background.  We met one of the local men herding his cattle and learnt about his life and high incidence of prostate cancer amongst the men here.
Looking towards the Bay from the Palm Leaf   Company while walking from Chatham Bay
View of the Bay from the track behind the Palm Leaf and the Skipper joins some of the herd being driven to their daily watering.
View into Bloody Bay, Union Island, with Mayreau in the Background    Granada Fly Catcher, Union Island
View of Bloody Bay with Mayreau in the background and the Granada Flycatcher we watched by the side of the track.
After walking back to the Southern end of the beach, we enjoyed curried conch and kingfish for lunch at Aqua (guess who didn’t have curry!) before collecting the dinghy from the Northern end and swimming back to the boat.  The Skipper always tows the dinghy on these occasions and it provides a great protection against being hit by an outboard.
Lunch stop at Aqua    The view of the Bay from Aqua
Aqua restaurant/bar on the beach, our lunchtime stop and the view of the anchorage from Aqua.
After a lovely day, we have Alex, Michelle, Noah and Fern on board for tea (or hot chocolate for Noah and Fern) and discuss cruising plans.  Has the wind dropped at last?