We have travelled south over the past few days, having great weather and enjoying the stunning turquoise waters in the Tobago Cays along the way.
Leaving Marin at sunset gave us a gentle sail past St Lucia and St Vincent but in the lee of the islands the wind dropped considerably and we had to motor on a couple of occasions. The rest of the time it was perfect, with not too much swell on the side of the boat. The stars were just amazing – so many and so bright!
We took 2 hour watches through the night but didn’t sleep very much, which is OK when it is just 1 night. Not much shipping and nothing much to do with the sails, so it was a simple passage.
The windiest stretch was sailing into Bequia, as usual, with 18 knots of wind giving us a fast few miles into the bay. Our friends and their family, on ‘Blue Moon’, were waiting for us and Wendy swam over to say hello, not realising 2 huge rays were swimming around our boat as well! We all had drinks onboard later on, once we had had a shower! We didn’t check in but kept the Q flag up instead, which is perfectly acceptable.
It was a peaceful night and we both slept well, being tired out. The next morning we headed off at around 0730, sailed past a ship on the reef and had another great sail to the Tobago Cays. We entered by the northern channel and carefully motored between the reefs. It was busy in the cut between 2 of the small islands but the water is unbelievably clear and we are looking forward to going back there on our trip north. The boat boys were polite and not pushy at all but I guess they do a roaring trade during the season.
After lunch we navigated the reefs out of the southern approach and sailed to the windward side of Union Island and on to Carriacou, anchoring in Hillsborough, just south of the town quay to check in the following morning. Tying up at the pier is not the easiest as there is only 1 set of concrete steps and several local boats were moored up there. We had to pull our dinghy along the pier and tie it to some railings instead but then on return we had to pull it around a couple of newly arrived dinghies.
We have been there a couple of times so know the clearance procedure. First the police station for Immigration and completion of a 1 page form, then the Customs window in the port by the pier and finally the Port Authority window opposite. The fee for a month is 75 EC$ which is about 18 GBP. After that we got some fresh milk and frozen smoked marlin from Patty’s Deli ☺
The anchor was well dug in and held us in some gusts but there were few boats in the bay, so plenty of room. Next morning we motored and sailed around the headland to Tyrrel Bay, one of our favourite places. It was quite quiet, with lots of sandy spots visible for perfect holding. We anchored next to our friends, Peter and Sylvie on ‘Jambalaya’ and swam over to say ‘Hi’. The water is much warmer here, some 150 miles south of Martinique.
Nothing much has changed in Tyrrel Bay. All the bars, restaurants and shops we are familiar with are still going strong and the Slipway is gaining a great reputation with cruisers for the delicious food and friendly atmosphere.
One near disaster luckily missed us whilst sailing out of Hillsborough. We saw a white plastic bag in the water, just to our starboard beam but having passed it, a snorkeler popped his head up astern of us and started waving and cursing. He must have been deep down and was completely invisible to us before that but he was very fortunate we didn’t have our propeller engaged and hadn’t hit him. Unbelievable that anyone would snorkel hundreds of metres from shore, in the main channel, without anything more than a plastic bag floating in the water nearby as a warning. We just thought it was rubbish! If we had been motoring and hit him, the consequences don’t bear thinking about and we hope he has learnt a lesson today as he certainly shook us up.