Voyage of Traveler / Blog

December 29, 2009

Traveler Postcard From Tobago Cays

Filed under: Year 3: July09 - July10 Greece to Newport Beach, CA, Caribbean — mrlawlerjr @ 9:48 am

December 28, 2009
Tobago Cays
St. Vincent and the Grenadines
12-38.15N, 061-21.57W

Hi, Everyone,
We are now at anchor between Petit Rameau and Petit Bateau, two of the five small islands that make up the gorgeous Tobago Cays–the Holy Grail of yachting in the Caribbean, located in the country of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.  This place is amazing.  No wonder the government made it a National Park.  The islands are so close together you can swim between them, and there is a large reef protecting them all called Horseshoe Reef, so the seas are flat and the snorkeling is great.  Barbara and I went for a snorkel and saw a dozen sea turtles and swam with them close enough to touch them as they grazed on sea grass in clear, shallow water.  We also saw lots of conch shells, some living and most empty.  Next to a pile of empty conch shells, at about 6 feet deep, we saw a fairly large octopus hiding in the rocks–conch is an octopus’ favorite meal.  We also saw six or seven marine iguanas, and Brian and Yansen saw a large land tortoise.  Lots of mega-yachts, including Oracle’s Larry Ellison was here on his mega-mega-yacht Rising Sun (Google it), with his crew of 20. We saw him on the aft deck getting a massage.  One final note about Tobago Cays: Many of the scenes from Pirates of the Caribbean were filmed here.  ARRRRRGH!

In my last Postcard, on December 23, I said we were about to take a guided tour of the Island of Grenada.  That went well.  Highlights were the Concord Falls, where Brian and I cliff-jumped into the pool of water below the waterfall. We saw a long-tailed Mona monkey at the roadside eating a banana. We also saw the Carib’s Leap on the island’s northern point, where in 1651 dozens of Caribs jumped off a high cliff to their death into the sea below rather than be captured by French Troops and taken into slavery. Columbus discovered Granada on his third voyage in 1498 and found the natives very unfriendly–known for their cannibalism!  The British tried to establish a colony here in 1609, but the Caribs ate some of the settlers and drove the rest into the sea.  We also saw where the Grenada Invasion took place in 1983. That was when President Reagan ordered the US Navy and Marines to take the island away from the Cubans who briefly controlled the island.  The US replaced the Cuban advisors and radical politicians with a conservative US-friendly government, which controls the island now. We saw the battlefield where the US and Cuban forces fought for several days.  For awhile, inflation was so out of control that the joke was it was cheaper to take a cab than to take the bus because you pay for the bus when you board and you pay the taxi when you arrive (and the value of your money is worth far less after the cab ride due to rapid inflation).

In the Customs and Immigration office there is a framed poster of Barack Obama, not their own president.  Obama is very well liked around the world, but especially here in the Caribbean where the islanders are about 95% black, descendants of slaves.  On the locals, we see more Obama t-shirts worn than Bob Marley t-shirts.

It is illegal to operate a jet ski anywhere in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.  The president of SVG is a sailor and nearly all sailors dislike jet skis.  But this is the only place we have seen in the world where they actually have been outlawed.

Another strange law here in SVG: It is illegal to wear or import camouflage clothing. We have not seen that anywhere else either.

We spent a lovely Christmas Eve and Day at anchor on the Island of Carriacou at Tyrrel Bay.  We had our big dinner on Christmas Eve, with an 8 lbs. roasted turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce and champagne.  Then on Christmas morning Brian fixed Eggs Benedict for brunch, we opened presents, and just relaxed (something rare for me on Traveler.)  And to top off the day, with cocktails in the cockpit and listening to Bob Marley sing “Don’t worry ’bout a thing, ’cause every little thing’s gonna be alright,” at sunset we saw the Green Flash!

On December 26 we motor-sailed over to Union Island, went ashore, found the island’s only TV at the Cruiser’s Bar and watched USC beat Boston College.

On December 27, while at anchor in Salt Whistle Bay 12-38.8N, 061-23.5W on the Island of Mayreau (one of the nicest anchorages in the Caribbean), Barbara and I went ashore for a nice romantic lobster dinner.

Life is good.

Happy New Year to all of you!

Living the Dream,
Michael and Barbara
with Brian and Yansen

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