Sunday, July 26, 2015

The Tobago Cays Deliver, and Discovering Mayreau

A while back I wrote a post about the colour blue when we were in Virgin Gorda in the BVI.

Well, we have just discovered another level of intensity to the colour blue in the Tobago Cays.  This little group of islands surrounded by a horseshoe reef is situated just below the mid-point of the Grenadine Islands and about a five hour sail south of Bequia.  The little islands however are not the star attraction - it is all about entering the lagoon that is protected by the reef and anchoring in 10’ of gin-clear water over a beautiful bed of white sand, the winds blowing over the reef with a palm-fringed island in the distance.  This is where all those screen-saver photos come from!

Thankfully Friday was a sunny day and we carefully manoeuvred into the lagoon using the changing colours of the water as a double-check against our chart plotter.  It would certainly be very easy to hit a reef here if not paying attention, but with a slow and steady approach we made our way up to the reef and found a lovely spot to anchor right behind Kind of Magic and Migrateur.  Diving into the water to check the anchor was like snorkelling in an aquarium, even out on the sand bank there were many little fish and turtles and none of them have much fear of humans in this protected marine area.  Now, just immerse yourself in the colour that surrounded us…

Anchored right behind the other Canadian boats.

Palm tree lined island just off to port.

Laughing gulls were all around us and would take food from outstretched hands if offered.

Various shades of teal / blue indicate the depth or whether the sea bed is sand, grass or coral reef.

We didn't really need to snorkel over the anchor, we could see it clearly in the 15' water below.  That's our anchor line just off the bow of the boat.
We whiled away the day with snorkelling, watching turtles and enjoying the view with the fresh breeze blowing in directly from the Atlantic Ocean, and then as evening came on we headed over to join Rej & Shanique and Edie & Blair on Migratuer for a lesson in Grenadian train dominos.  Along with the dominos we dished up another good potluck dinner and very much surpassed all our bedtimes.  As an aside, there are tons of activities available to cruising folks spending the hurricane season in Grenada and we figure it doesn't hurt to be prepared.

Saturday dawned wet and blustery and after a good-sized squall rolled through we waited for a break and then made a run for the other side of Mayreau and the anchorage in Saline Bay.  We sat through one more wet squall and then as the day started to dry up a bit we went ashore to explore this smallest inhabited island in The Grenadines.

We headed off up the hill into the little village where we walked past a number of restaurants and bars, and then continued north all the way up to the end of the island at Salt Whistle Bay.  From there we continued east and then south around the rim of the island, ending up back at Saline Bay and our anchorage for the night.

Blustery skies still above the anchorage in Mayreau.
Up in the village is this quaint little stone church built in 1929.

Standing in the door of the church - as Shanique said, "They would know if you came to church!"

The village homes and the church nestled into the hillside.

Union Island on the horizon (and yes, I know it's crooked - maybe we were standing on a hill?)

The village, the anchorage and Union Island in the distance.

Salt Whistle Bay at the north end of the island has a spectacular fine white sand beach - one of the best we've seen since Culebra!

Looking north on the windward side towards Canouin.  If you look carefully, you will see that we spotted Rej & Shenique motoring past.

The northern, wind-blown coast.  I love the twisted skeletons of the trees.

Back at the village we arrived at the "Mayreau Recreation Grounds" - I'm not sure I'd want to play here (especially in bare feet) since for the most part it seems to be used as a common goat grazing ground, and we all know what goats produce!

The next day was much brighter and Rej & Shanique joined us for Sunday breakfast on the boat, and then we set off to repeat the hike, this time in the opposite direction and accompanied by one of the town dogs.  Returning through the village was perfect at lunchtime with a stop for a cold drink at Righteous and The Youths, and then on to lunch at Dennis's Hideaway.

We revisited the church where we found a map of The Grenadines painted on the back wall.

The lookout behind the church offers up this magnificent view of the Tobago Cays.

Arriving in Salt Whistle Bay.

A pay phone that actually works, powered by solar panel and batteries and connected via wifi.  A completely portable outfit, but a challenge to fit in your pocket.

Happy hikers checking out the cliffs and the view.

Henry checks out Righteous and The Youths bar.  This place reminded us so much of Foxy's from the BVI but with a much stronger Rasta flair.
Intense discussion underway with Robert at the bar.

Finally, we picked up the anchor in the late afternoon and crossed down to Union Island where we are spending the night in the anchorage at Clifton.  More exploration awaits tomorrow now that we have arrived at the southern end of The Grenadines.