Tobago Cays & Mayreau in the Grenadines - a snorkeling paradise for nature lovers (me)

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NOTE - I HAVE SEEN ALL OF THESE BEAUTIFUL CREATURES MANY TIMES BUT TOBAGO IS THE BEST

After absolutely perfect snorkeling at Tobago Cays, we left Mayreau and went over to Chatham Bay on the west side of Union Island. This is a beautiful bay but can be either a "swell hell" as it exposed to swell from the north or the south. We hit it on the day after it had been bad and there was one sailboat in it when we arrived and he soon left.

A mirror sea and superb snorkeling along with a nice harbor tour in the tender. "Shark Attack", one of the local boat "guides" tried to tempt us to come ashore for a beach BBQ but he didn't prevail. Did give him a nice cold beer for his troubles tho. I think we've seen this bay undeveloped for the
last time. The power poles are now only a hillside away and someone has built a pole building and is thatching the roof as we went by. I'll bet by next year it will have a real bar/restaurant and electricity. This is how fast things are changing even here in very out of the way places. 1000' of
beach with nothing and soon some 5 star resort makes an offer the local politicians can't refuse and voila...a new disco :-(
Monday AM we did another quick snorkel and then got under way for Clifton, the main town on Union Island and the spot to clearing/out of St Vincent and the Grenadines. We anchored in the small busy harbor and the boat boys were
to busy selling their services to all the other hapless boaters. We managed to skate thru all that negative energy as some of them can be aggressive.

Dropped Nancy at the "outdoor market" while I hiked to the airport to clear out. Great folks at Customs and Immigration and the paperwork went fast....45 minutes. Met up with Nancy with her full shopping bag of fresh fruits and veggies,
hopped in the tender, back on Swan Song, anchor up and out of the harbor. 90 minutes from anchor down to anchor up. Off to Hillsboro, Carriacou.

We tow the tender on a long line...150 ft...so each time we plan on a stop we bring it up short and transfer to the 25' painter. As soon as we clear the harbor/anchorage we let it back out on the long tow. Initially this would take us 10-15 minutes to bring in and 5 or so to let out. We now have
it down so it is a 5 minute job coming in and about 2 minutes to deploy. Going to a 3/4" polyolefin line has made all the difference as it doesn't sink, is mush lighter and doesn't seem to want to twist and hockel as much
as our old nylon line did. In any case it's a piece of cake now.

Coming into Carriacou there's a familiar looking boat up on a reef on the North side of the island......Ah ha its "Asylum", a 100'+, one of our listees boats that he'd sold a few years back. Looks like the current owners lost track of where they were or a storm pushed them up.

There is a clandestine fuel barge that is anchored outside of Carriacou. This used to be a source of duty free fuel, really cheap in the southern Caribbean but it looks like cheap is relative now. I came up close to them, they don't like to use the VFH!, and yelled "how much for 500 gallons" the
reply was EC$5.50, when asked how much for 5000 the replay was the same. 5 years ago it was EC$2.00. The US$1.00 = EC$2.67 so about US2.10 today. OK but still not near the price of Venezuela so we wait.....

Dropped the anchor in Hillsboro Harbor to clear in. Went to the commercial dock, had a "boat helper" watch the tender while I went to Immigration, Customs and the Port Authority to get us cleared into Grenada and the Grenadines. 30 minutes and EC$52 later we were legal. Back to the tender,
give the "boat helper" his EC$10 for making sure the tender stayed where I'd put it and off to Swan Song. Up anchor and off to Tyrrell Bay where we plan on spending a day or two before heading down to Grenada.

Anchor down at 1500 for the last time of the day and prepared for sunset....no green flashes for the last month or so. The Sahara dust has been so dominate that it gives the sky a milky color. On the rare day we've had bright blue sky the clouds have been heavy on the western horizon so no
"drop into the sea and give us a green flash". Bummer as we only have a few more days where we'll have a clear western horizon to see it.

WiFi here is courtesy of the Boat Yard and they ask for a donation to the local kids book fund. Here in almost all of the islands books and school items are not supplied by the schools. The parents must by them from K right through graduation from high school. Lots of these parents haven't ever seen the $50-80 that the books cost so the kids have to scramble for the money. The cruisers up and down the islands all drop a few $$ here and there to help them out. Good vibes and it goes directly to helping us all down the
road, IMHO.
 
Cheers

Dave & Nancy
Swan Song
Roughwater 58
Caribbean Cruise '07

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