Monthly Archives: July 2016

PD1 heading ashore, Baradol Island, Tobago Cays

TOBAGO CAYS – by Theresa

Tobago Cays

Tobago Cays

At long last, we arrived in the beautiful Tobago Cays in the Grenadines, West Indies! Just a short cruise (2 nautical miles) from Mayreau, the Tobago Cays Marine Park consists of five (5) uninhabited islands (Baradal, Petit Rameau, Petit Bateau, Petit Tabac and Jamesby) surrounded by a horseshoe reef. Our first night in the park we picked up a mooring ball directly in front of the turtle sanctuary just off Baradal.

Baradol Island, Tobago Cays

Baradal Island, Tobago Cays

Ronan giving the 'OK' on the mooring ball, Baradol Island, Tobago Cays

Ronan giving the ‘OK’ on the mooring ball, Baradal Island, Tobago Cays

After receiving the all clear on the mooring, we snorkeled ashore, through, and around, the turtle sanctuary where green and hawksbill turtles feed off the sea grass.

Green Turtle, Baradol Island, Tobago Cays

Green Turtle, Baradal Island, Tobago Cays

We saw hundreds of starfish, so many, that they appeared to form underwater constellations.

Cushion Starfish, just off Baradol Island, Tobago Cays

Cushion Starfish, just off Baradal Island, Tobago Cays

Cushion Starfish, just off Baradol Island, Tobago Cays

Cushion Starfish, just off Baradal Island, Tobago Cays

Needless to say, the snorkeling was amazing!

Southern Stingray & Trunkfish just off Baradol Island, Tobago Cays

Southern Stingray & Trunkfish just off Baradal Island, Tobago Cays

Palometa & Conch just off Baradol Island, Tobago Cays

Palometa & Conch just off Baradal Island, Tobago Cays

Once ashore, we explored the uninhabited island where tortoises, iguanas and birds roam freely.

Our second night in the Marine Park, we picked up a mooring ball in the cut between Petit Rameau and Petit Bateau. We had considered snorkeling ashore, however, we saw multiple sharks and rays swimming just off the boat so we instead opted to take the dinghy ashore. Petit Rameau was inhabited by mostly goats. Petit Bateau has a nice trail that runs around the island and provides nice views of the surrounding islands.

Hiking Petit Bateau, looking towards Baradol Island

Hiking Petit Bateau, looking towards Baradal & Jamesby

We have been to multiple marine parks while cruising the Caribbean and have enjoyed the pristine beauty of them all. The Tobago Cays Marine Park was no exception and we highly recommend stopping here for anyone cruising on or around these waters. We would have stayed in the park longer, however, there was some weather moving in and so we opted to leave and continue our journey south towards Grenada. Our next stop, Petit St. Vincent and Petite Martinique . . .

Mayreau looking towards the Tobago Cays

MAYREAU – by Theresa

After departing Bequia, we continued our journey south to our next Grenadines island destination, Mayreau. From Bequia, the run to Mayreau is only 23 nautical miles. Our passage was smooth with 3-6 ft. seas.  When we arrived in Salt Whistle Bay, we picked up one of the newly installed Marine Park’s mooring balls.  After diving the mooring ball, the boys went kayaking and then swam ashore. There were several other “kid boats” in the bay, so there was plenty of “boat kid” activities over the next couple of days, including one boat kid birthday party on the beach.

Boat kid (Cole's) birthday party, Salt Whistle Bay, Mayreau

Boat kid birthday party, Salt Whistle Bay, Mayreau

At 1.5 square miles, Mayreau is a much smaller island than Bequia. You can walk from one side of the island to the other in approximately fifteen (15) minutes. The hike is uphill in both directions, but well worth it in terms of both scenery and exercise. Behind the church at the top of the hill there is an excellent vantage point for looking out towards the Tobago Cays, Canouan, and Union Island.

Mayreau looking towards the Tobago Cays

Mayreau looking towards the Tobago Cays

We continued down the only paved road on the island to Saline Bay, which is where cruise ships drop off their passengers during the busy cruise ship season. Since we were there in the “off” season, we had the entire beach and bay to ourselves.

Saline Bay, Mayreau

Saline Bay, Mayreau (with Union Island in the background)

Saline Bay, Mayreau

Saline Bay, Mayreau

There is a large Salt Pond located directly behind Saline Bay. Its pretty pink hues made up for the attendant sulfurous odor!

Saline Bay, & Salt Ponds, Mayreau

Saline Bay, & Salt Ponds, Mayreau

Salt Ponds, Mayreau

Salt Ponds, Mayreau

Salt Ponds, Mayreau

Salt Ponds, Mayreau

After exploring the island we settled back onto the boat to enjoy the sunset from the bow.

Theresa & Randy enjoying sundowners and the sunset on the bow, Salt Whistle Bay, Mayreau

Theresa & Randy enjoying sundowners and the sunset on the bow, Salt Whistle Bay, Mayreau

After enjoying all that Mayreau  had to offer for a few days, we set off for our next Grenadine’s island destination, the Tobago Cays (pictures to follow in our next post).

Touring Bequia's beautiful bays - Industry Bay

BEQUIA – by Theresa

Ryan and Randy getting ready to dive the mooring ball in Bequia

Ryan and Randy getting ready to dive the mooring ball in Bequia

It has been a while since our last post about Learning to Scuba in St. Lucia, by Ryan, June 05, 2016. Opportunely, we have put those newly acquired scuba skills to good use diving mooring balls and the bottom of our boat! After departing St. Lucia, we set a course south for St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Having spent time on the main island of St. Vincent on previous visits (St. Vincent and the Grenadines, January 05, 2016) we decided to explore some of the smaller islands in the Grenadines. Our first stop was Bequia, a beautiful small island with pristine palm tree lined beaches and well protected deep water bays. We had heard that some of the mooring balls in Bequia might not be well maintained so when we arrived in Admiralty Bay our newly certified scuba gurus immediately went to work making sure our vessel was secure.

Ryan stepping in to dive the boat with Randy, Bequia

Ryan stepping in to dive the boat with Randy, Bequia

On a friend’s recommendation, we secured a mooring ball just off the Frangipanni restaurant dock. After diving the mooring ball 40 feet below, the men confirmed that our vessel was firmly secured. Since they were in the water and all suited up, appropriate boat cleaning tools were dispensed and they got busy diving and cleaning the bottom of the boat!

Once we felt comfortable that the boat was secured, we scheduled an island tour with “Gideon” on his open air safari bus (784-458-3760 or gideontaxi@vincysurf.com). While the island of Bequia is only 7 square miles, and can be toured in a couple of hours, there are plenty of magnificent sites to see. Gideon is very knowledgeable about the island’s history, present affairs, and future works in progress.

Ryan on Gideon's open air bus tour, Bequia

Ryan on Gideon’s open air safari bus tour, Bequia

Touring Bequia's beautiful bays - Industry Bay

Touring Bequia’s beautiful bays – Industry Bay

Randy and Patton on Gideon's open air bus tour, Bequia

Randy and Patton on Gideon’s open air safari bus tour, Bequia

Touring Bequia with Gideon, Fort Alexander

Touring Bequia with Gideon, Fort Alexander

Looking north over Admiralty Bay, Bequia, north (Spot Pilots' Discretion)

Looking north over Admiralty Bay, Bequia, (Spot Pilots’ Discretion)

OLD HEGG TURTLE SANCTUARY

One of our favorite stops was at the Old Hegg Turtle Sanctuary where they are raising and then releasing endangered Hawksbill Sea Turtles. We got to observe, learn about, feed, and hold the turtles.

The sanctuary is also home to older, as well as other species of turtles, including Green Turtles.

Ronan and Ryan learning about the endangered Hawksbill turtle at the turtle sanctuary in Bequia

Ronan and Ryan learning about the endangered Hawksbill turtle at the turtle sanctuary in Bequia

 

Ronan touching a Hawksbill Turtle shell, Turtle Sanctuary, Bequia

Ronan touching a Hawksbill Turtle shell, Turtle Sanctuary, Bequia

Ryan admiring a 17 year old Hawksbill Turtle at the Old Hegg Turtle Sanctuary, Bequia

Ryan admiring a 17 year old Hawksbill Turtle at the Old Hegg Turtle Sanctuary, Bequia

Ryan feeling a Hawksbill Turtle shell at the Old Hegg Turtle Sanctuary, Bequia

Ryan feeling a Hawksbill Turtle shell at the Old Hegg Turtle Sanctuary, Bequia

Theresa holding a Hawksbill turtle at the turtle sanctuary in Bequia

Theresa holding a young Hawksbill turtle at the turtle sanctuary in Bequia

HawksbillTurtle, Turtle Sanctuary, Bequia

Hawksbill Turtle, Turtle Sanctuary, Bequia

Patton also enjoyed visiting the turtle sanctuary!

After the turtle sanctuary Gideon drove us to Mt. Pleasant, the highest point on the island, where we looked out upon the neighboring islands that we would soon be visiting.

The vibrant colors of the flora we passed along the way was as spectacular as the views of the sea.

As we descended from Mt. Pleasant, we saw friends of ours, M/V Seamantha, entering Admiralty Bay. When we got back to our boat we took our dinghy over for a quick hello.

M/V Seamantha arriving in Admiralty Bay, Bequia

M/V Seamantha arriving in Admiralty Bay, Bequia

In addition to beautiful land and seascapes, Bequia has great hiking and snorkeling. We spent the next couple of days catching up with our friends in Bequia and enjoying both!

Ryan and Ronan hiking along the waterfront in Bequia

Ryan and Ronan hiking along the waterfront in Bequia

Popcorn aboard M/V Seamantha

Popcorn aboard M/V Seamantha

Our next stop after Bequia was Mayreau. To be continued in another post . . .