Thursday, March 08, 2007

February 25, 2007 - Petit St. Vincent to Tobago Cays via World's End Reef

We left the main anchorage in Petit St. Vincent fairly early and went over to Mopion, a small sand island with nothing on it but a hut.

The wind was cranking, and the water was choppy. I couldn't read the bottom. It felt like we were dragging, so I dove in to take a look. We had mistakenly anchored on rough broken coral. We decided it wasn't any good and decided to head over to Petit Tabac, a small island between the Tobago Cays and World's End reef.

Once again, we motor sailed with jib only as we are loath to take off the main cover. Thanks to our parts mules, um, I mean Graham and Eryn, we do have three new double handled winch handles so that is no longer an excuse for not raising the mainsail, but the thought of wrestling with the mainsail cover provides us with enough of a deterent for short day hops. Looking at all the charter boats with their full mains up, Graham and Eryn have realized that we are the laziest sailors around.

When we arrived at Petit Tabac, we found that there were already three boats anchored in a really tight space. They were bucking around and really hanking on their chains in a very small space so Sten decided that was a no go. We motored out of the little "harbor" and had a look at the lee side of the island as an anchorage, but it was still too rough.

World's End Reef was only a mile or so to windward so we decided to check it out. Sten and I debated the regs on anchoring there as I had read somewhere that it was not allowed. We couldn't find anything about it in the Tobago Keys pamphlet distributed by the park service, so we decided to give it a try.

Conditions for eyeball navigation were ideal and we eased our way up to the reefs skirting shoals and trying not to be distracted by the fantastic colors around us.

It was pretty choppy but we eased Mata'irea up to a 10' shoal, dropped anchor and eased her back into deeper water.

I hopped in with snorkel gear to check the anchor. There was substantial current sweeping downwind away from the reef. Even with fins, I could barely make enough headway to get up to the anchor. If we were going to snorkel here, it would have to be a drift dive with one of us in the dink at all times.

We lowered the dinghy and loaded up gear and personnel. We motored up wind and current to a decent section of reef. The water was spectacularly clear, but unfortunately the coral showed a lot of signs of storm damage, and there were no good sized fish to be seen.

The best part of the trip was the feeling that we had managed to get off the beaten track, if only marginally, but enough so to enable us be all alone in a spectacular location, if only for a few hours.

After our snorkeling trip, we motored into the Cays and anchored on the righthand side of the anchorage, just about where we were two weeks ago with Suzy, but this time further up with only three feet of water under the keel. At night, with the light of the moon reflecting off of the seabed and refracting through the shallow water, it seemed like we were floating on a pale green cloud.

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