MAYREAU AND TOBAGO CAYS
Anyone who has cruised the Windward Islands will tell you that Mayreau and the Tobago Cays are postcard beautiful with gorgeous aqua water, terrific snorkeling and diving to boot. This is all quite true; however, the winds were up in the 20s for most of the time we were there, five days, and it was all we could do to get to the cays, much less snorkel. I did enjoy snorkeling in Saline Bay, Mayreau, where we anchored.
As we had no Internet we enjoyed each other's company and solitary pursuits. I read Willa Cather’s “My Antonia” which tells the story of the settling of the Nebraska prairies by the immigrant Scandanivian farmers that moved there. As it is a true American classic, I quite enjoyed it and plan to follow up Cather’s writings with “The Song of a Lark.” PBS made a wonderful documentary on Cather which I had purchased from Amazon before we left the BVI. She is a most descriptive writer and gives a vivid portrait of this era.
I also enjoyed Jean Rhy’s “Voyage in the Dark” a sad tale of a beautiful young woman from the Caribbean who is sent to London for “finishing” – a descriptive tale of the downward plunge, through love and innocence, to prostitution and all-out poverty. I have read many of Rhy’s books and love them as it is interesting to get the perspective of a Caribbean writer born many decades ago. Throughout the islands there are numerous book swaps and it is surprising how many of the classics one can find. Take one, leave one – a great way to read.
I also did several watercolors as I am trying to keep a log of our anchorages with watercolor vignettes. I have my “artist’s bag”, filled with supplies, that I take with me on walks wherever I go. It’s fun just to stop and sketch. I bought some really good watercolor pencils from the Honolulu Art Museum this past summer and really like them. This way I can sketch while out and paint when I return to Swan Song.
The water is a clear crystal aqua here in the cays and you can see the bottom in most places. In one area where I snorkeled there were various types of bowl sponges which I totally enjoyed. Very numerous, they reminded me of the Sung Dynasty pottery bowls for which Georgia O’Keefe was so famous in sculpting when she was in her 80s. I always loved her pottery as much as her paintings and find it so basic – the Zen of bowls, shall we say. At any rate, it was really fun to see so many perfect sponges. I plan to write an article on them for one of the summer editions of All At Sea.
Speaking of writing, I do a great deal of that favorite pastime while at anchor. As there were no towns on Mayreau or in the Cays, both Dave and I spent time with our favorite activities – now why are his always concerned with fixing something on the boat? Actually, he seems to love it so I will adhere to that old proverb, “If its not broken, don’t fix it.”
We took a lot of tours in our dinghy, Leda (and the Swan), and really enjoyed photographing the lovely old boats anchored nearby, and some new ones too. Antigua Classics Week is only a month away so many have come to the Caribbean for that. Everywhere we go we see many European boats, especially from the Scandinavian countries that came over on the ARC Atlantic Crossing which ended in St. Lucia in December.
As much as I enjoyed limin’ in the cays, I was ready to start the engine, pull up the anchor and head for Bequia, one of my most favorite islands only several hours away.
THE YACHTS THAT SAIL THE CAYS ARE AS VARIED AND AS EXPENSIVE AS YOU CAN IMAGINE ANYWHERE. FROM THE GORGEOUS CLASSIC CALLIOPE, FROM NORWAY, ON THE UPPER LEFT TO THE GAFF RIGGED SCHOONER, LOWERING HER FORSAILS, WHILE UNDER SAIL, ON THE RIGHT. BELOW LEFT IS THE FOUR MASTED SCHOONER WIND SURF AND THE 160' SLOOP TIARA ON THE LEFT. THAT IS 100 FEET LARGER THAN SWAN SONG AND RENTS FOR $250,000 A WEEK.
BROWN BOWL SPONGE - ABOVE
CONCH SHELLS PILED HIGH ON THE LEFT
SALTWHISTLE BAY BELOW
The water is really this color. It is un-believable