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
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. Park users are requested requested to use holding tanks. Using a holding tank will keep the
water clean for swimmers in what can be a crowded area.
magnificent park offers the most spectacular anchoring in the Eastern
Caribbean. Enjoy, and help others to do so, by obeying regulations and
6-knot speed limit is in effect in the Tobago Cays. This applies to all
vessels, dinghies, water taxis and sailing boats. Please obey it and keep
a good look out for swimmers. People swim throughout the area through the
anchored yachts, to the reef, and to the islands. The speed limit
precludes water skiing and many water sports. However, sail and kite
boarders may exceed the speed limit in the area north of Petit Rameau.
Enjoy snorkeling and looking at the fish and turtles. They are there
because this is a conservation area and no fishing is allowed. You may not
collect or harm any kind of sea-creature, including the corals. Do not
take souvenirs of any form, including shells and rocks.
turtle-watching area has been established around the beach in Baradel. It
is marked by a series of linked buoys. If you wish to snorkel in this
area, either anchor your dinghy outside or take it directly (and very
slowly) into the beach and pull it up on the sand. No anchoring or
drifting with your dinghy is allowed in this area, and you should not run
your dinghy through this area except to go to and from the beach. Approach
turtles slowly, and no closer than 6 feet. (If you are still and they come
closer, that is fine.) Though they look calm and peaceful, they are easily
frightened if you chase or try to touch them. No fires may be made on the
beaches, and the vegetation ashore is part of the park and should be left
alone. Do not discharge any oil, chemicals or other waste into the water,
or pump your bilges in the park. Avoid using bleach and strong cleaners
that get flushed overboard in the park. Those wishing to scuba dive in the
park may only do so with a local dive shop.
people get so excited at the beauty of the Tobago Cays, that they think
the way to complete the experience is to play their favorite music at top
volume for the whole anchorage to hear. Cathartic as this might be for
them, it may not be what others want. Keep any noise you make on your boat
from music, generators and windmills, low enough that your neighbor cannot
barbecues are regulated and several local vendors offer such barbecues.
Anchoring your yacht is permitted behind Horseshoe Reef and around the
islands in sand only. Adventurous and experienced skippers could sail
outside Horseshoe Reef (the approach is easiest from the south exit) and
find temporary anchorage in Petit Tabac on sand bottom only. This is
strictly eyeball navigation and for calm weather. Even so, it is small and
rolly. Yachts should not anchor among any of the reefs between Petit
Rameau and Mayreau, except in the anchorage we show directly east of
Local boat vendors ply the Cays during the season, selling everything from
ice, bread, and lobsters to jewelry. They are a friendly bunch and very
obliging if you need them to bring you ice or bread the next day. If you
want to be left alone, they will do that, too. They offer great beach
barbecues and water taxis to places like Baradel.
Free Spirit 2 and My Desire sell the Carriacou Fidel Productions
art t-shirts. Each one is a painting by a local artist reproduced on a
shirt. Another vendor, Mr. Fabulous, is one of the good guys in the Tobago
Cays. He has a powerful twin-engine water taxi, which is both licensed and
insured. He sells lobster in season and offers beach barbecues. He is an
excellent choice for this as he brings his own grill, cleans up properly,
and does not take any fish from the reef. If you want to clear customs
from the Cays, he can arrange it with Erika's in Union Island. You can
also book him through Erika's. Sydney, is a well-known vendor and he
offers a big stock of t-shirts. He also has a guest house in Union Island.
The snorkeling on Horseshoe Reef is still good, though recent hurricanes
have done considerable damage to the hard corals. The reef near the small
boat passage is in the best condition. Fish are still plentiful and there
are lots of turtles. It can be choppy out there, and anywhere near the
small boat passage you will meet current. If you have beginner snorkelers
on board, the east beach on Petit Bateau (facing Baradel) has some
snorkeling that starts in calm, shallow water. The dinghy approach through
the reefs is tricky. For turtles, check out protected turtle area just
west of Baradel.
Tobago Cays are also an excellent place for sailboarding. The designated
area for this, when you want to go more than 6 knots, is north of Baradel.
Experts can sail out through the small dinghy passage into the ocean. Keep
an eye out for swimmers and snorkelers.
To go scuba diving, contact Grenadines Dive, who will come and collect you
from your yacht. Currents can be very strong, and most dives are done as
click map to enlarge
since august 05