Tuesday, November 10, 2009


The captain wanted to go on vacation for his birthday, so at the end of October we headed south to Tobago.

It was a decent overnight passage. The wind was steady at 18-22 knots ……
…… and our average speed was 6.5 – 7 knots most of the way.
Twenty hours becomes quite manageable when there’s steady wind and modest sea states.
There are two places to check in with Customs and Immigration in Tobago. Our best point of sail took us around the western tip of the island to the capital city.
Scarborough is a good-sized port but the anchorage is quite small, restricted by a huge shoal all along the beach area, a fishing fleet, the coast guard station, and by ferries that operate daily between Trinidad and Tobago. We were only two boat lengths away from this big boy as he backed up to the dock.
T & T Spirit is an Australian-built fast cat that covers the 70 miles between the sister islands in about two and a half hours.   

We walked up to the downtown section of Scarborough on Geoff’s birthday……
...... to a guide-recommended place for lunch – the Blue Crab.
There was no written menu. Alison had pork and fish dishes available, “but, sorry - the chicken all done”, she told us. The food was delicious and piled high in the Caribbean way. And then we had our first encounter with TT dollars.
The $253 tab was shocking. Until we did the math. The TT dollar exchange rate is approximately 6 to 1, making our lunch bill about $42US. Okay then. That’s a little better, though closer to North American prices than we’ve seen for awhile.   

The next day we walked along the waterfront area. The population of Tobago is only 54,000 people, but Scarborough seemed fairly bustling on a Saturday morning.
We found the reason for the party music that had blasted through the night till 8am that morning.
One common thread throughout the islands seems to be a love of loud music. Out at anchor, across the water, the heavy bass can rattle your bones.    

It surprised us that a lot of the produce at the markets comes from Trinidad.
Despite great soil and climate, there’s not a lot of farming on Tobago, apparently because of a lack of government subsidy. Fishing is important and tourism is growing. Our cruising guide calls Tobago “one of the last unspoiled Caribbean islands”. We'd have to agree.    

We enjoyed a few more days in Scarborough before taking Beach House around to Store Bay on the southwest corner of Tobago. We found surfers ……
…… and brilliant sunsets.
We were picked up in Store Bay for a private island tour. Trevor and Lynda, the brother and sister-in-law of friends in Toronto, have cruised on Impulsive III, a C&C40, since the early 90s.

Trevor is a returning Trinidadian, and the two of them built a house here on Tobago a few years ago. They rent out three units on the main floor and live on the second floor with a broad deck on three sides. This is just a small part of their panoramic view.

The land mass on the horizon is Trinidad. What a great place for sundowners.    

We had a wonderful day with them, driving along the south shore ……
…… up the east coast and back along the north shore, stopping at various beaches and lookout areas.
This is King’s Bay Beach on the south shore.     

And this is Speyside on the east coast, with postcard views in every direction.

After lunch, we drove to Charlotteville on Man of War Bay at the northeast corner of the island. You can see a few sailboats anchored on the far side of the bay.
Charlotteville is another port of entry for Tobago but much smaller than Scarborough.

It felt more like a seaside village – a charming beach town.     

Geoff grabbed this next scenic shot out the car window.
This is my favourite shot of the day - it’s very typical of the beauty at every turn – rainforest, rocky shores, pristine water.     

And the stop at Englishman’s Bay didn’t disappoint.

The local fishing boats are called pirogues – just part of the colourful local scene.     

We ended the tour at a beach bar on Store Bay where Geoff picked up a bird.
And this was our view of the anchorage ......
...... as we toasted our thanks toTrevor and Lynda for an excellent day in great company.
Life is good in Tobago.


  1. Great photos! Tobago still looks unspoiled and beautiful. Now quit fooling around in Trinidad and come join us up north. We're headed to the Tobago Cays. Hope to see you soon.

  2. Your posts get more delightful with every update. Thanks for the virtual cruise!