A Few Days in the Tobago Cays

Our long term forecast called for easterly winds under 20 knots with gentle seas, so we left Admiralty Bay, skipping on south past Canouan directly to the Tobago Cays. The weather provided perfect conditions for exploring the many small cays circled and protected by Horseshoe Reef. 
This year we anchored in much shallower water tucked up close to the reef between Jamesby and Baradel Cays. Water so clear you can count the blades of grass on the sandy bottom. I won’t tell you the waters are calm here, because a swift current running across the lagoon at an angle to the wind gave us slightly bumpy conditions. Curious about the depths, I took a dinghy ride and using a lead line soon learned we could have anchored much further in, all the way up where the catamarans are in the photo to the left, but there was no real advantage to be gained as the water was still bumpy even that far in.

Anchored behind Horseshoe Reef
Anchored behind Horseshoe Reef

Baradel Cay
Baradel Cay

The day after we arrived, our three boat buddies dropped anchor close to us with Native Dancer behind, Magic off to starboard, and Island Time ahead and to the right a bit. Our first foray took us close to the reef just ahead of Baradel Cay where dinghy moorings are placed to help protect the coral from careless anchoring and to firmly secure your dinghy while you go off exploring. Joy stayed in our dinghy gazing over the side while the rest of us snorkeled in and around the coral reef formations. We all struggled against the swift current swirling around the reef, and I needed to rest once in a while to give my legs a break. In places, it took all I had to move ahead against the current. I know that when I returned to the dinghy, I made certain to swim directly up current from the mooring for a gentle glide back to safety. It would be very easy to be swept away.

Joy surveys the scene from our Dinghy
Joy surveys the scene from our Dinghy

An Island Schooner Ghosting Around Jamesby Cay
An Island Schooner Ghosting Around Jamesby Cay

After lunch we snorkeled among the turtles in the protected area near Baradel Cay. Watching the turtles feed in the bottom grass, spying a few rays lazing on the bottom, swimming amongst all this marine life relaxes the mind and body. Time slips away. Where do the days go?

Scores of Turtles feed in the Protected Waters
Scores of Turtles feed in the Protected Waters

Several local vendors wander among all the anchored vessels, some selling fruit and vegetable, others selling T shirts, still more offering beach barbeques and parties. There’s a kite surfer sailing school on Jamesby Cay, and on a good day there might be a dozen kiters buzzing around the harbor. You’d swear they were going to get tangled in the rigging of the boats, but we never saw that happen. Plenty of crash and burns though.

Magic with Ken and Michelle Aboard
Magic with Ken and Michelle Aboard

We dawdled for four days in the Cays, loving every minute in this beautiful paradise. One evening we laughed and told stories at a cocktail hour on board Ocean Angel. Another day we all did chores on our boats. On our last night we were treated to one of the most beautiful sunsets we’ve seen in the islands.

Sunset at Tobago Cays
Sunset at Tobago Cays

 But time and weather dictate our moves, so with brilliant blue skies overhead and time still on our side, off we went to Chatham Bay on the back side of Union Island. 

Take a Short Sail to Union Island

or

Race on Home