We were in doubt if we would go at all. Despite the blue water and amazing snorkelling, it felt unsafe sailing into such a shallow area with narrow passes and reefs everywhere. But because the weather was perfect and other cruisers with bigger boats (and deeper keels) convinced us that this doable we set sail for Tobago Cays. It was only a short 5 NM hop around the corner of Union Island towards the Cays. We are getting a bit lazy when sailing short distances, so we only unfurled the head sail and fired up the engine for the tricky part.
We went super yacht style: Basti on the lookout on the bow with the VHF, I was behind the helm with the chart plotter and Thomas double checked our position on Navionics. It turned out to be way easier than we thought (as usual). We dropped anchor right in front of a picturesque little island with a beach and dove in immediately. So many turtles! And the water was so blue and clear, just amazing.
The turtles crept me out a little bit, as all sea life does when it gets too close, but everyone else couldn’t get enough of them. We had a nice afternoon at the beach and in the water and we might have taken one million pictures because these islands just want to be photographed.
We were off again the next day for a longer sail to Bequia, about 30 NM north of the Cays. On the way there we caught another big tuna, they seem to love our hooks these days! This island is just as lovely as Union Island, but a bit more developed. Almost a little bit like the fifties in America as shown in movies, minus the supermarkets and the cars. There is a central town where little shops, cafés and guest houses are built close to shore. The big anchorage is perfect to stay for a while, but we could only stay for one day because Basti and Caro had a plane to catch in Martinique.
The sail to Martinique is quite long from Bequia, and since there are islands in-between we decided to split the sail into two days and anchor overnight in St Lucia. As we were only here for a few hours we decided squeeze into the prettiest anchorage on the west coast. Like we already feared, it was packed to the brim with boats. There was no way we could find an anchor spot here, so we headed to Rodney Bay. We were tired and it was already dark when we arrived after our 90 NM sail! The passages between the islands are very rough, with Atlantic swell and strong trade winds accelerating around the capes of the islands. In the lee of the islands there are strong fall winds from the mountains and through the valleys, which can increase the wind from almost zero to almost storm in the blink of an eye.
So we stayed on the boat and listened to the buzzing night life surrounding Rodney Bay. It felt a bit illegal since we didn’t check in with customs. Normally, every country we visit we start by checking in with customs and immigration. When we leave, we check out again. This always costs money (for example around 100 euros in the Grenadines for four persons) so we decided not to check in in St Lucia. As we didn’t go on land, I guess this wasn’t illegal. We also meet people who don’t check in anywhere and just visit the islands illegally. Saves a lot of money!
The last leg of the journey to Martinique was a very short one, and we dropped anchor in Marin in Martinique. We were going to stay here a little bit to say goodbye to Caro and Basti and give Scehawk some much needed TLC after the crossing.