Tobago Keys

We set sail even earlier today – 4am departure, with breakfast at 8. I stayed in bed past breakfast hoping my constant motion sickness would settle and joined Larry on deck in time to see us pass by the tiny island of Moonhole, where stone homes have been built into and on top of the island. Many don’t even have windows, and the residents live without running water or electricity.

Our primary destination for the day was the Tobago Keys, a smattering of small uninhabited islands: white sand, clear turquoise water, palm trees. Postcard perfect. The captain offered to take us to Johnny Depp’s Island, but it would have been a good hour on the dinghy to reach it from where we were anchored, so no one went. The crew took us to our beach on Petit Bateau after a short informational chat by Captain Nervo. It was completely deserted, except for the local women that were dropped off to sell t-shirts and beach towels, and the occasional park ranger. There were picnic tables and plenty of shade. We set up our towels in a partially shady spot and spent most of the morning just hanging out, reading, enjoying the water. I particularly enjoyed lounging in the water on the floating mat.

Just before lunch Larry and I took the short trail through the middle of the island to the other side – the park rangers were setting up lunch on the beach there, which wasn’t as nice or protected. We hiked up almost to the top of the hill, which provided great views of the Keys. We were served lunch on the beach by the crew of the Diamant. Ham and cheese wraps, macaroni and cheese casserole, cucumber salad. And a fabulous avocado salad made from avocados the size of a cantaloupe.

After lunch we lounged some more, then grabbed our snorkel gear and went again to the other side of the island. We got into the water and started to make our way back around the point to our beach again. Snorkeling here was just okay, few tropical fish and we saw a turtle just as we were swimming back.

A bit more lounging (there’s a trend on this vacation), then we went back to the boat to regroup. Our next destination (same mooring, different Key) was Turtle Island (Barradal). There’s a protected area for the hawksbill turtles in the area. The island is tiny, a stretch of sand and a hill with trees and foliage and that’s it. The sand juts out like a finger into the water.

We snorkeled around for a while and saw several sea turtles and a small ray. I got out of the water and was at the end of the finger of sand when I saw a reef shark right there in the shallows. Larry saw more turtles, and we stretched out our time on the sand and were the last ones back to the boat for happy hour.

Matt and Jules, passengers from London, brought a bottle of Pimms with them and they made pitchers of Pimms Cup #1 for the rest of us. It’s refreshing, sort of like a white sangria. We were served more fruit, sausages, bacon-wrapped plantains and cucumber slices topped with tuna salad. After happy hour we set sail again, this time for our overnight spot in Mayreau. We were there in time to watch the sun set, gorgeous.

We stayed on the boat and had a dinner that reminded me of a 4th of July picnic – barbecue chicken and ribs, corn on the cob, chayote gratin. I kind of picked at my food because I was still feeling queasy. Really queasy. We opted out of the evening activity, a “culture walk” on Mayreau – otherwise known as a pub crawl. About half the passengers accompanied the Captain ashore, and Larry and I turned in relatively early.