S/V Delilah

A Blog to track the wanderings of the S/V Delilah, a 37-foot Tayana sailboat.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Nowhere To Go

Tobago Cays, Grenadines
Friday, November 17

Dean put out what David on Amanzi would call a "whack" of chain when we anchored here. That's because we have plenty of swinging room on this watery plain, and we knew we wouldn't be going anywhere for a while.

I guess the best place to start in trying to explain the magic of this place is to explain the geography, if that's the right word, of the area. The word "cay" is another word for a small island, and the Tobago Cays consist of half a dozen small, uninhabited islands with pretty beaches, palm trees, and walking trails that lead to excellent vistas. But these small islands are incidental, and we are anchored in front of them, not in the lee.

What really makes the area so wonderful is the system of reefs to our east, blocking large swells from the Atlantic Ocean. The most important reef is Horseshoe reef, which extends for several miles in a semicircle to the north, east, and south of the cays. Inside Horseshoe reef, where we are anchored, the water is sandy and relatively shallow--10 feet deep or less in places. The tradewinds keep our wind generator spinning and our bow pointed out to sea. Our view every day is of beautiful turquoise water that eventually gives way to the deeper blues of the Atlantic, stretching over the horizon.

We haven't seen water this clear and in such a perfect shade of blue since the Bahamas. It's a pleasure just to sit in the cockpit and watch the clouds roll by during the day, and marvel over the Milky Way by night. At least once a day, however, we don our snorkel gear and pick a spot along Horseshoe Reef to explore for an hour or two. The best spot so far has been outside the reef, where the reef drops from just a few inches below the surface of the water to the sea floor 60 feet below. On a calm day we can see up to 100 feet ahead of or below us. It's fascinating to snorkel along the wall and watch all the denizens of the reef getting on with their lives. And because the water temperature is still in the low 80s here, we can stay in the water as long as we like without getting cold.

Crossroads and Dragonfly were already in the Cays when we arrived with Dream Weaver, and we spent a very social week together. Michele, who took yoga lessons for years in Memphis, has been practicing on the packed sand under the palm trees on the nearest beach, and I recall just enough from my classes in Greensboro to be able to follow along. In the afternoon, after snorkeling, we all meet again on one or another of the beaches to read, nap, tell stories, and observe colors changing on the horizon as the sun goes down. Most nights we have improvised dinner on one of the boats, each couple throwing together a dish for our evening potluck. Our days have been busy, but not hurried.

Now our friends are heading north. Dean and I aren't ready to leave just yet, so we are spending some time on our own here baking bread, touching up the varnish on the bowsprit, snorkeling (of course), reading, and hoping Amanzi's sail will appear on the southern horizon before long.


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