Moving up the Grenadine Island chain, we ventured into the Tobago Cays (pronounced KEY). The Tobago Cays consist of 5 small, uninhabited islands surrounded by a horseshoe reef. These reefs protect the turquoise anchorages from the pounding surf. The wind howled while we stayed here five days. The sea spray was thick and covered everything in a not so fine layer of salt. There were plenty of boats in the anchorage but it didn't seem crowded, if that makes any sense. There were no stores, no marinas, no resturants of any kind on any of these beautiful islands. Well, I take that back, there were a couple of outfitters selling t-shirts and jewelry on one particular beach. We filled our days with school work, swimming and snorkeling.....perfecto!
Looking at Palm Island as we leave Clifton anchorage on Union Island.
Following Patronus into Tobago Cays
Liv watching for reefs
View from our anchored spot off of Baradel Island, right next to the turtle watching area. It was marked with linked buoys and we snorkeled around and saw tons of turtles, big and small. This was almost as much fun as swimming with the dolphins in Les Saintes. They move so slowly and effortlessly through the water and don't seem to mind if you are there watching them. Craig and I saw a ginormous turtle, he was bigger than the circle of my arms.
The water is sooo clear!
Looking at Petit Tabac - the only island outside the protected reef. Does it look familiar? Read on....
One of the few boat boys that sell flags, fruit, veggies, t-shirts, BBQ dinners on the beach....you name it, he sells it.
Chris and Craig working on their fishing gear. That big bottle of rum in the middle of table is for the fish, not Craig or Chris. Just in case you were curious about the amount of alcohol on the table in the middle of the afternoon.
Of course we wanted to experience the deserted island for ourselves, so we piled in our dinghies, armed with Chris’s iPhone navigation, meandered through the shallow reefs, through a narrow cut, trying not to get pounded by the huge surf on either side and zipped across the way to Petit Tabac Island.
Clearly, Bryson has been in the Caribbean too long if he can climb a palm tree to retrieve coconuts
The kids are exploring the beach. We could walk around the entire island in 45 minutes or less!
Starting the painstaking process of removing all the braids in Olivia's hair.
A group photo on Petit Bateau, later that evening, ready for our beach BBQ.
The story takes much longer to write out than it actually is...so hang in there....One of the students we met at the elementary school, where we worked in the library, told us her mother worked in Tobago Cays. Curious about what work she did, knowing there was next to nothing in the islands, we bombarded her with questions. Come to find out, she does beach BBQ's on Friday and Saturday. Sign us up! We asked Demollie to let her mother know that we would be headed that way and would love to give her our business. Once in Tobago Cays, The Conway's went ashore in search of Demollie's mother to make the arrangements. They indeed found her, Batelle, and spent several hours lingering on the beach, listening to her life story. Perhaps Erica will write about that in her post : )
On to the beach BBQ. Batelle was hard at work when we arrived at the beach. Her teenage daughter, boyfriend and Demollie were all there helping in the preparations. The sun was setting over the small island and we had the beach to ourselves. There was a stiff breeze and a layer of clouds that cooled things off quite a bit. It was obvious that this was not just a casual "oh, let's just throw a small beach party and sit around a campfire". They had quite the permanent set up with a huge BBQ grill tucked up close to the hillside, protected from the wind, covered with a canopy and tables to work on. There were large picnic tables set up with table cloths and strings of lights everywhere to enhance the ambience (run by a generator, of course). It felt like something right out of the movies. We had portable speakers so we could play music and we brought some painkiller mixer to accompany the rum.
The kids with Damollie
Retrieving the fresh lobster in cages on the side of their boat. This is the boat they use to travel back and forth from Union Island. It's no small distance in open ocean for such a small boat. I'm not sure I could make that trek every day. Talk about a commute!
Batelle's boyfriend gets the lobsters ready for the grill
Surfer Girl Olivia plays in the waves!
Chris and Craig chillin' out, reading soaking up the Caribbean sun
It is popular practice in the Caribbean to celebrate the full moon each month. Which is basically yet another reason to party until the sun comes up. We have yet to go to an "official" full moon party and we were so close to sailing back to Union Island for their Full Moon Party. But in the end, we decided to stay put in Tobago Cays and have our own full moon party, Anything Goes and Patronus Style! After we gorged ourselves on grilled lobster and danced on the beach to reggae music, we put the kids to bed and got naked! Oh sorry, too much information for the family friendly blog. What I meant was we adults did a little skinny dipping. The next morning, the kids were all freaked out and very curious about what we had done the night before. "You mean you were naked, like totally naked?". "And you got in the water with the Conways?" "Where they naked too?" "Ewwww, that's just weird". "Can we do it too!". Enough said.