Tobago Cays

12th to 18th October 2019

If there’s one way to sort out kids who are causing trouble, grumbling, ignoring instructions and generally being awkward… it’s a suspected fire just as you are entering an anchorage filled with coral reefs. As always in an emergency, the bigger kids sat down and looked after themselves, suddenly able to listen perfectly and not annoy each other or us. Love that reaction.

Fortunately, it wasn’t a fire, just lots of steam as the starboard engine was overheating. I spent a few minutes working that out, which was rather difficult as the steam meant I couldn’t see and was accompanied by the smell of melting plastic and the kind of popping sounds a small fire would give. Meanwhile Charlotte, with Hector in the wrap, anchored us in the middle of a large gap pretty much smack bang in the middle of the islands using the other engine (manoeuvring with one engine is tough as its off centre so the boat spins at the same time as forward/reversing). All’s well that ends well, and we were settled with the steam dissipating somewhat 5 minutes later. And even better 10 minutes after that when one of the boat-boys came over with some fresh tuna 😊.

So that’s one engine overheated, and the other engine with what hopefully is an electrical fault. I’m going to count the mosquitos at Frigate Island as our third bit of bad luck, so we are now invulnerable for a while. Which is excellent news, I’m sure you will agree.

Day one here was spent fixing the engines – or trying to. Port engine now sorted – some water had ended up in one of the electrical connections (having dripped down inside the heat-shrink). All fine. Starboard engine, less so – the pressure cap on the radiator had partially melted after a belt failure caused the overheating! (I won’t mention that I ignored the alarm caused by the belt failure as we have a persistent electrical fault. But I might put “fix the fault” higher up the to do list). Using the pressure cap from the other engine everything seems ok. Assuming that fortune, we’ll use that engine as it has a better alternator on it, and manage with one engine for the next few weeks, then pick up a pressure cap in Rodney Bay.

After that, just more of the normal. You know, snorkelling among turtles, visiting three islands from a single anchorage, watching the Atlantic crash onto a reef, playing on the beach, a little work for me, walking up some hills. Can’t complain. 😊

I would strongly advise anyone in the area out of season to come visit. I can’t imagine how busy the islands feel when the mooring buoys are full (there are a lot of mooring buoys, and plenty of anchoring space). I’d guess there were 5-15 boats most days, rarely more than 5 of a night, while we were there. Much quieter and, frankly, nicer for such an unspoilt spot. The marine park do a very good job looking after the place.

Red snapper from another boat boy went down very well with the kids. Hector saying “[f]ish” then miming gutting it while shouting “chop chop” is is very funny.

We had to leave on the 18th as we were out of food, apart from tins. No snack food, at all, and paltry supplies in general, led to us baking something the kids called “bumpies” – a little like scones, quite tasty. So, Bequia with its reasonable shops and bread-man was selected as our next destination, and off we went.

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