Sweet Sailing, Tobago Cays and Bequia

The Tobago Cays are exquisite

The wind from the SE is a steady 15 knots and we have a near perfect sail to Union Island, St. Vincent. That evening dinner is a chicken mole with local yam and plantain over rice. All in all, a perfect day and as we sit in the cockpit bathed in the orange glow of a stellar sunset, we laugh and think that maybe we don’t need a transmission after all.

St. Vincent and the Grenadines

The next morning we leave Tyrell Bay, in forward this time, hoping to explore some of the smaller islands that make up the Grenadines. The larger island of St. Vincent and the islands of the Grenadines form one country and include Bequia, Union Island, Mustique and Canouan.

We pull into Clifton, Union Island just before lunch. The customs woman charges us overtime due to the fact that she cleared us during her lunch break. Then we wait over an hour for the immigration lady to return from lunch. Hmm, we were not getting the best vibe from Union. And then we looked across the water and spied Tobago Cays.

Tobago Cays

Tobago Cays, is a national park composed of 4 four small uninhabited islands grouped together with nothing but Horseshoe Reef protecting them from the vast Atlantic Ocean. Here lies some of the most beautiful water we have seen so far. Clear turquoise water converges with white powdery beaches that caress small uninhabited islands. In less than 40 mins we set anchor in the lee of one of the most beautiful places we’ve been thus far.

I jump into the crystalline waters and am astonished at how clear it is. Swimming against the tide I make it out to one of the islands and discover reefs full of choral, fish, turtles and even some large fish like wahoo. The tide quickly carries me back to Ingomar and a waiting Filbert, peering over the side of the boat.

The next morning we awaken to the sound of a boat puttering through the mooring field selling fresh baguettes. The perfect accompaniment to a latte and the divine view. Later we jump in the dinghy searching for turtles and we’re immediately rewarded with many sightings. They are feeding, frolicking and probably trying to get away from all the people chasing them. Actually they were very laid back about the whole thing.

That evening, sitting in the cockpit playing guitar, sitting atop the transparent water, with turtles and wahoo swimming by, I feel complete bliss and gratitude. The natural beauty and exquisiteness of the Cays will never be forgotten. Before we leave Sue and Tom (Nomad) pull into the anchorage alongside and we share a sundowner.

Boat guys waiting for business
Ingy in her element
Moitissier Moment
Sunrise at Tobago Cays
My swimming mate
Pretty coral in crystal clear water
Tobago Cays sunrise glow
Soaring above it all

Bequia

The next morning we set out at first light for Bequia. The sail to Bequia is phenomenal with 17-20 knots of easterly winds and calm seas. We hit top speeds of 8 knots. We pass the island of St. Vincents. We would like to stop but there is just too much negative news about St. Vincents. Because of the high crime rate, much of it targeted at cruisers, its become a place for cruisers to avoid.

Bequia, on the other hand, while not far from St. Vincent in distance is another world apart in vibe. It is singular in its beauty and charm. As we pull into the anchorage a familiar voice comes over the radio. Bill and Laurie from Toodle-oo are watching us approach. And as we make our way into the harbour we spy Agnes and Bas from TiSento. Bequia is already looking pretty awesome.

We pick up a mooring ball in front of the Frangipani hotel in Admiralty Bay. Phat Shag owns the mooring balls and has a good reputation for maintaining them. Some mooring balls are not maintained and are unsafe but we know Phat Shags are good. An added bonus is we can get wifi.

The next 5 days we explore the beautiful island of Bequia. It’s charm lies in its perfect quaintness. A beach trail hugs the shore and skirts the entirety of Port Elizabeth. The beaches are plentiful, with soft rolling surf, and are often graced by a bar or two where you can kick back and enjoy a soursop colada and amazing fried chicken. The people here are laid back and friendly.

We hike across the island to Friendship Bay and have an excellent lunch before heading back to Tony Gibbons beach and find the perfect soursop cocktail. The beach here too is perfect and many people are enjoying a swim in the clear waters.

There is a market which is a riot of colours and presided over by pushy food vendors. They are to be admired because they’re truly awesome at what they do. They stand side by side, selling their fruits and veggies, and are so competitive against one another. Never rude or offensive they just do their best to grab your attention and your business. They are excellent entrepreneurs. I have finally figured out that if I tell them I will buy something from each of them then they chill a little.

Bequia still has an active whaling station, which I was surprised to read about. Its more traditional than anything and they’re allowed to take 4 whales a year. While we were visiting apparently a whale was taken, but it was unfortunately killed in front of a cruise ship and the company has consequently threatened to not visit Bequia again. The Whaleboner restaurant in Port Elizabeth uses whale skeleton for their bar and stools.

The perfect sail
Frangipani Hotel, Bequia
The Whaleboner restaurant with whale skeleton
Friendship Beach and we make friends
Mangos Ripening
Trail B&W
Nicoise
Whats up Mate?
Yummy Cocktails for Jack’s
Large trees o the Bequia waterfront
Hiking the steps
Bequia Waterfront walkway
Getting together with friends
Jack’s Dock
Lunch at Jacks
Fried Chicken
Young Sailor
Charlie Greets us at the Dive Shop, Bequia

Goodbyes

We say goodbye to first TiSento and then Toodle-oo who are both continuing down island but have a couple of fun days together. Finally, we say good bye to Bequia and sail out early morning to once again find the perfect wind and sea state for another superlative sail to St. Lucia. We are slowly making our way up north but the splendid sailing is making the return a little easier to swallow.

Author: tess

A full-time adventurer, I am sailing our 37-foot Tartan with my husband and kitty, to the Caribbean from Newfoundland while documenting it on our blog, greatbigsail.com

5 thoughts on “Sweet Sailing, Tobago Cays and Bequia”

  1. Moitssier moment sums it all up.
    I’m usually on the same literary vibe as you so I was a bit perturbed and thought…who the fuck is Moitissier? I now get it!
    Google to the rescue!

    The market crowd are genius! After spending a day walking through the souks in Marrakech (seems like a million moons ago) my only thought as I walked away…was what unbelievable salespeople I just encountered. Their skill is truly admirable. I almost bought a rug and a tagine, neither which would fit in my knapsack. BUT it wasn’t for lack of trying. Much respect for people who make a living this way!

    The world and the people in it are so full of surprises. It is what makes a journey worth the effort . As I am sure you know by now.

    See you shortly sissie. Fair winds!

    ❤️ From me and the familiar.

  2. AFT,

    Lordy, lordy, I wouldn’t be in a rush to leave.

    At first glance, the photo of Indy in her element, it appears that Ingomar is floating.
    Tobago Cays photos are breathtaking, what a paradise. Turtles, fresh mangoes, fried chicken, and friends makes for a perfectly relaxing adventure.

    Carry on safely.
    😘 love you

    1. He Ger! It was so gorgeous there and you can only go by boat which makes its more elusive than most destinations but not-so-crowded. And gads of turtles. Love ya!

  3. As always, your voyage sounds awesome. Hope the winds & luck stays in your favor, all the way to NL.
    Keep the amazing posts coming & safe sailing.

    1. Hey Ted! Yes the winds are looking good for the next month. The rule of thumb is you shouldn’t leave for the north until the 2nd week in May and then winds should be decent. Cheers!

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