St. Vincent and the Grenadines

July 21

We sail to the Tobago Cays and discover why these unpopulated islands are full of people.
Map of July 21th's travels

After breakfast in Tyrrel Bay (Carriacou), we sailed north to Mayreau. Jeremy says he often catches wahoo or tuna on the first leg there, and mackerel and barracuda on the second leg. But, once again he forgot to take the snorkel gear out of the pail, so we got nothing (1).

I spent a good part of the trip up front hoping to get splashed by the waves. When we got a small bit of rain, I quickly went under the overhang in the back. Now why does the rain make me run for cover, while getting wet from the waves is considered to be a good thing?

A sailboat passes us on the way to Tobago Cays

We ate lunch at Saline Bay, on the leeward coast of Mayreau island. Saline Bay is a beautiful little bay. Too bad they built the power plant on the hill overlooking the bay. You would think they could have put it somewhere else. We could see starfish scattered on the bottom where we were anchored; although we never climbed into the water while we were stopped at Mayreau.

Lunch was leftovers. Joel and I were going to eat the roti for breakfast, but Jeremy said we could eat it for lunch instead. In addition, we had our one slice (my slice) of leftover pizza. Joel quickly grabbed my piece, but I glared at him so he took one bite and handed the rest to me. Yum, cold pizza. The roti was good too. Jeremy, of course, put too much hot sauce on his leftover pizza and started tearing up again. I wisely stayed away from that bottle of hot sauce, and stuck with a milder variety.

After lunch we sailed over to the Cays. No one here calls them the Tobago Cays, just the Cays. The Tobago Cays are a group of five unpopulated islands, just west of Mayreau, surrounded by spectacular reef in shallow water. The Cays are very popular because they feature some of the best snorkeling in the Grenadines, as well as some of the nicest beaches. Plus, you can only get there by boat so there are no resorts with their throngs of people to clog up the beaches.

Brain coral

But if you thought that the Cays would be peaceful and deserted, you would be wrong. Because the beaches and the snorkeling are so good, every boat in the area heads for the Tobago Cays. It is the destination for day trips from all the resorts in the Grenadines. And the goal of many sailing trips from the island of Martinique (north of St. Vincent) and others.

We sailed in between the westernmost two islands of the Cays, Petit Bayeau and Petit Rameau. For both islands, there were a couple of sailboats parked off the beach and boaters on shore. Then we swung around behind Petit Bayeau, between it and Barbadal (yet another of the islands in the Cays). As we turned the corner, we saw a flotilla of sailboats (and some power boats) covering the calm waters of the Cays almost as far as the eye could see (2). It took Jeremy some time to find a mooring spot that he liked because there were so many boats around. But we finally moored southwest of Barbadal, just inside Horseshoe Reef, the main reef in the Tobago Cays.

The Cays were lovely. We, of course, jumped in soon after we moored to snorkel around on the leeward side of Horseshoe Reef. There were lots of coral heads sticking up out of the pristine white sand. The snorkeling was easy. The sand was only six to eight feet deep and the coral was higher so you just poked your head over and could see everything easily. My favorite part were the little crabs. They had long dark legs and the joints were orange. They sat there with their front legs pulling things into their mouths; but for the life of me I couldn't see what they were eating. These crabs were very skittish and would zip back into the cracks if they saw you. In addition, there was the cutest little hermit crab, just wandering about the coral.

Coming up on the beach at Baradal, Tobago Cays
Sunset over Baradal, Tobago Cays

Dinner was tuna pot pie. Jeremy gave us each a huge plate of it. I looked at it and asked Joel if he wanted to split one, but no he dove in. It was quite tasty with the last of the tuna Jeremy had caught a couple of days ago.

For unpopulated islands, there were quite a few people around. Besides the sailboats, there was also a floating raft made of dingies tied together -- some type of gathering. Then there was the windsurfer, who darted in and out among the sailboats to our west in the fading light of evening. Much of the activity centered around the beaches. Boaters would take their dingies over to the various strips of sand on each of the islands and hang out (I guess).

We never bothered to visit any of the beaches at our first stop in the Cays. Tomorrow, however, when we moved onto the island of Petit Tobac, we would swim ashore. But you will have to keep reading to get those details.

Footnote 1: Fishing seems to be full of superstitions; it reminds me a lot of gambling (and it is kind of is). When Jeremy is feeling lucky, he will put on his fishing belt, so that he is ready just in case he has to work to land a fish. Then there is the pail. When not used for fishing, the pail holds Jeremy's snorkeling gear (which you can see here, behind Daphne). But when Jeremy catches a fish, the pail is used to hold the fish while Jeremy removes the hook. Unfortunately, on our trip from Carriacou to Mayreau, Jeremy forgot to remove the snorkeling gear from the pail. The pail was not ready, and the fish could somehow tell this.

Footnote 2: OK, I may have exaggerated slightly. But when looking at the pictures, I judge that there may have been somewhere between 30 and 60 boats visiting the Cays.

 Back to July 20   Go to July 22 
Introduction | July 14th (travel day) | July 15th (Falls of Baleine) | July 16th (Petit Byahaut) | July 17th (La Soufriere hike)
July 18th (sail to Bequia) | July 19th (Union Island) | July 20th (Sandy Island) | July 21th (Tobago Cays) | July 22th (Petit Tobac)
July 23th (arrive at PSV) | July 24th (West Side Beach) | July 25th (Atlantic Beach) | July 26th (Mopion) | July 27th (travel day)
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