A PERIPATETIC JOURNEY
not all who wander are lost
Before heading down to the Tobago Cays, we made sure to motor close to shore to view the houses in Moonhole. Our waitress in Port Elizabeth had told us that we couldn't get there by land (without an invitation or a booking), so we decided to see it from the water. The houses, made of stone and other natural materials, have no glass in the windows and few, if any, doors. We were a bit too far away for our photos to really do it justice, so we have included some from the Moonhole Company website. Definitely visit the website (linked above) for more photos of these incredible houses. Many are available as vacation rentals.
After motoring around the southwest end of Bequia to see Moonhole, we turned south. We had originally planned to stop in Canouan for a night, but we were enjoying our downwind sail so much that we just kept going.
Below is a video Kendall narrated. It is hard to hear her voice, even with the volume up loud because unfortunately that also makes the wind louder, too. Nevertheless, we are sharing it because it is a nice glimpse of our lovely downwind sail.
We put a line in the water and caught a barracuda, which we released. Because of the possibility of ciguatera poisoning, we do not eat any top reef predators, such as barracuda. However, we have heard that in the southern Caribbean ciguatera is not considered to be the risk it is further north. Indeed, when we mentioned to a St. Lucia fisherman our habit of releasing barracuda, he expressed his incredulity at our passing on a delicious dinner. Since then, we have heard from others that barracuda are delicious, so maybe we'll keep the next one we catch.
Just before 2:00pm, we reached the Tobago Cays and were immediately awed by their rugged beauty. Part of the Tobago Cays Marine Park, it is an archipelago in the southern Grenadines consisting of five islands and many coral reefs. The outer anchorage (where we stayed) is completely exposed to the tradewinds blowing over the Atlantic, with the ocean swells mostly tamed by the extensive network of coral reefs. With only the narrow white lines of the breakers between us and the vast Atlantic, it felt like we were anchored at the edge of the world. We were there at the perfect time, as it is now 'off season'. The charter boats that often crowd the Cays were not there, and many cruisers had already begun their hurricane-avoidance journeys either north to the US East Coast, south to Grenada, or west to the ABCs. Although during high season there can be around 100 boats in this area, on most days we were just one of 10-15 boats in the extensive anchorage.
The waters were Bahamas-clear and we couldn't wait to get into the water. We'd already seen numerous sea turtles on our way into the anchorage and were hoping to see some while swimming. We launched the dinghy and headed toward Baradal Island. Almost immediately upon entering the water, we saw two sea turtles. This was the first and last time we'd be in the water so close to turtles, although we would see many from the boat each day.
After swimming with the turtles, we anchored the dinghy near the reef to do some snorkeling. Although we'd seen healthier coral in The Bahamas, the diversity of fish species here was amazing. We spent a lot of time exploring different parts of the reef each day. Because we were near the breaking ocean waves, there was often a very strong current to swim against and at first we were concerned about the girls. But they did great, we all got good exercise, and the current made for an easy drift back to the dinghy when we were ready to get out of the water. We used both of our underwater cameras while we snorkeled and got a few good shots of the underwater life. Unfortunately, the one day we left the cameras on the big boat was the day that Brian, Eoin, and Marin jumped off the dinghy and found themselves face-to-face with five nurse sharks barreling over the reef! We had a brief moment of panic until we identified the species :-)
As we had motored through the anchorage, we noticed that both SV Tell Tales Again (Mike and Eva) and SV Rum Tum Tiger (Curt and Nancy) were moored there. Unfortunately, Rum Tum Tiger left while we were snorkeling, but we stopped at Tell Tales Again for a visit. It was nice to catch up with Mike and Eva, and although we were sad to have missed Curt and Nancy, we knew we'd end up in the same place soon.
McGlynn family 5 (Isla, Marin, Eoin, Kendall, and Brian) sailing Counting Stars