Sunday, July 17, 2011
Tobago Cays................... .......................
The Tobago Cays are a group of small, deserted islands, protected from the sea by Horseshoe Reef. The water and reef colors are a kaleidoscope of gold, brown, blue, turquoise, and green. There are small sand beaches and clear water. On cloudless nights, the stars are cast across the sky like wedding confetti thrown in an excessive gesture of bonhomie. Even squalls can be dramatically beautiful as they approach from afar. The anchorage is, however, open to the full force of the ocean winds, which are occasionally strong.
The best approach is between Mayreau and Baleine Rocks, staying south of One Fathom Bank. Black-and-white day-markers help you get the approach right. Petit Rameau and Petit Bateau look like one island for most of the approach. Don't cut corners, lest you land on a coral head.
You can anchor just west of Petit Rameau, in the cut between Petit Rameau and Petit Bateau, to the north or south of Baradel, or between Baradel and the other islands. Shallow draft yachts can even anchor to the east of Baradel. Moorings are available in the Cays for $45 EC a night, but are not compulsory. They mainly surround the turtle watching area. Do no anchor between the moorings and the turtle watching area.
There are strong currents in the cut anchorage, so bow and stern anchoring may be necessary.
Tobago Cays is a well-run national park. Park fees are currently $10 EC per day per person, which rangers come to collect. Superyachts should call in advance for advice on where to anchor. While Mayreau is included in the park, no fees are collected in Mayreau anchorages, but diving regulations apply. A holding tank mandate for park users is expected to come into effect before this guide comes out. Using a holding tank will keep the water clean for swimmers in what can be a crowded area.
This magnificent park offers the most spectacular anchoring in the Eastern Caribbean. Enjoy, and help others to do so, by obeying regulations and being considerate.
Tobago Cays Park - Green Light
The Tobago Cays are five tiny, uninhabited islands surrounded by reefs and enclosing a turquoise sand-bottomed lagoon one of the most inspiring natural beauty spots in the Caribbean. The Cays are also one of the Grenadines' most popular anchorages; a 1995 survey indicated that some 14,000 yachtspeople, 25,000 charterboat daytrippers and 10,000 cruiseship passengers visit the Cays annually.