Chatham Bay Union Island.
As we sailed out of Admiralty Bay, Bequia on
Tuesday, a very smart black yacht was tacking into the bay which we were
admiring. We then noticed the RCC burgee at the masthead and then realised it
was Ocean Grace. Quickly re-tracing our steps we hailed them - just
arrived from the Canaries after a brief stop in Barbados. We first met John and
his late wife Sue sailing in Ireland nearly 30 years ago. We arranged to
meet in the Tobago Cays later in the week.
The week has been glorious weather with lighter
winds and clear skies. The Tobago Cays are unigue in this area and the
snorkling and diving are spectacular. However equinoctial spring
tides with strong tidal streams do not favour the diving we did here last
year. We contented ourselves with snorkling on the reef and in an
eco-protected area where the turtle grass is growing well and there are lots of
turtles. We shared two suppers with the Quadrilles and a magnificent
lobster with John and his son Tristan on Ocean Grace.
Swimming with turtles in the Tobago
We are now in Chatham Bay which must be one of the
lovliest anchorages in the Caribbean with no development ashore and clear
turquoise blue water. It is an enormous bay and until this morning the 7
yachts here were widely spread. But a Swedish yacht has just come in
and anchored VERY close - not a popular move, so after some mild, possibly
too mild remonstration we moved. It is only in the most extreme
circumstances that we have moved when another boat has anchored too close but
this was one of them!
An aerial picture
of Chatham Bay (thanks to Chris Doyle's Cruising
Guide) An evening stroll on the beach.
'Him up there' is up to his tricks again and
a 998mb Low is moving east off the US Coast and predicted to deepen
30mb in 24 hours closely followed by a High, both of which will then become
stationary. The resultant hurricane force winds and 40 foot seas in the
area are forecast to send down 17-20 foot north-westerly swells into the
Caribbean next week just when we were planning to be diving in a bay exposed to
the swell. In practice most of the anchorages in the area are exposed to this
swell and if it arrives as predicted it will make them VERY uncomfortable and
stir up the water and spoil the diving visibility. The swells
are likely to be the worst winter swells here for 3 years and will
affect the whole area from the Virgin Islands to Trinidad. It has even been
suggested that they will get through the Bocas into the Gulf of
So sadly diving is out for the moment and we plan
to make an earlier move to Grenada where there are plenty of anchorages
protected from the north-west. However these swells seem to have a habit
of never arriving as forecast so we wait with interest.