On Coral Reefs, Turtles and… Bookshops?!

Prickly Bay at the South end of Grenada to the Grenadines doesn’t look far on the chart – but unusually for the Caribbean  it’s a beat ; a boisterous one at that , and it took all day. But it was certainly  worth it.  Once you are amongst the little islands there is a marvellous anchorage every 5 miles , and in the centre of them all  there is the jewel in the crown which is Tobago Cays. Imagine the most vibrant turquoise in the world , surround it with patches of deep ultramarine with brilliant white rollers crashing on orange brown reefs and  the palest sandy beaches  ,  then add in lush vegetation and perfect palm trees  dotted along the splash zone . Mix it with an open ocean anchorage kept flat by the surrounding coral reef and 3 little islands and you will begin to get the picture.  Of course we don’t have it to ourselves as everyone sailing through the area knows that this is a place not to miss but   there is room for us all , and as you have to get here by boat , the overcrowding is just the correct side of bearable.

We are anchored in a little channel  between two of the Islands with sandy beaches and palm trees on either side . To seaward is the main anchorage behind the reef with another  sandy area where you can guarantee to swim with turtles. Along the fringing reef  , little buoys have been laid where you can tie your dinghy whilst you snorkel  over what to my  rather  inexperienced eyes seems a healthy reef  with great corals and fish.

We had a bad experience with “boat boys” in St Lucia , and frankly would  advise anyone to admire the Pitons whilst passing and leave the bay of Soufriere  and its dishonest and aggressive inhabitants  well alone until  market forces  bring about a change in attitude. The guys here seem much nicer . For a start they work hard and have covered the 5 or 10 miles out to the anchorage by 7 am  and probably don’t leave until 8 pm .  On balance they  add to the charm of the place and it is nice to be able to  buy bread and ice and fish at reasonable prices – all of which will enable us to stay here a few days  more to enjoy  its charms .

It is quite windy , but apparently less than normal for this time of year.  Our only  problem with this is that our dinghy  is not really man enough for the conditions , but as long as we go very slowly  and accept we are going to get wet ( no real hardship in these temperatures)  we get by.  On the other hand the canoe revels in the chop and has been in constant use today. The weather is also unusually dry and it seems that the Atlantic weather systems are all still much further south than normal  . In the Canaries this gave us bad weather  ,  but over here it stops the trades being too vigorous  which somewhat redresses the balance.

Mike and Louise have another 10 days with us  and it really is quite difficult to decide which gem of a place to visit next . We do however have a problem in that Ben sent out the wrong Patrick O Brian books – so we are missing two out of the sequence. Luckily help is not far away  as amazingly I noticed that the little bookshop in Bequia had a whole wall dedicated to the series , and with Lynda beginning to get withdrawal symptoms  I suspect that this is where we will be heading next.


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  2. Glad you are enjoying the Cays. They are magic. We are now in Antigua @ shirley heights. We walked up. Not sure how we are going to get down in the dark. But derek hS some head torches. Sadly I hVe to go back to the cold tomorrow. I realy enjoyed Nonsuch Bay. Worth a visit with a good lunch inHarmony Hall. Snorkelling in Ricketts Bay. Enjoy the rest of the Caribbean.

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