Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Saline Bay, Mayreau and Chatham bay, Union

Just 2 miles west of the Tobago cays is Mayreau island. We hoped to anchor in beautiful Saltwhistle bay with its clear turquoise waters and white sand beach.  Sadly we were not the only ones who had this idea and the bay was too crowded for us to anchor.  So we went a mile further to the west side of the island and anchored near the other motor vessel- Searcher, in a large bay with plenty of room and a nice beach.  We anchored close enough for a good swim to shore, which Calvin, Melinda, and I all took advantage of later that afternoon.

But first we took a few of the kids, over by tender, to Saltwhistle Bay.  It is on an isthmus with a windward beach on the far side of the isthmus.  We were hoping it would be a good beach to look for shells, but it was quite windy and the kids really wanted to go back to the beautiful calm waters of Saltwhistle.  So we sat in the shade and let them play in the clear waters of the calm beach for a bit before heading back to where we left RCabin anchored.

Melinda and I took a chance to swim into the beach for a bit.  I swam over our anchor and saw that it was set well in, but found the boat in front of us was not set at all.  Just sort of tipped on its side with the very tip sort of in the sand.  Lets hope that if the wind blows later it doesn't blow him into us.  After telling David later he took a picture of the boat should there be a problem later on.   I found several sand dollars and star fish along my swim and gathered the sand dollars that have died and are ready for collecting. I also found 3 lobsters hiding together under a rock.  When I returned to the boat later, my collection of 6 or 7 sand dollars convinced Calvin and Savannah that they too should swim in to the beach to check to see if I missed any.  Off they went to play in the sand for an hour.  I really enjoy being anchored close enough for a good swim to shore and its fun for the kids to be able to swim in as well.  

Throughout the Caribbean islands "boat boys" come thru the anchorages offering up food and services.  Sometimes it's to help you anchor or pick up a mooring ball line.  Often they come offering to take your trash or to sell you fish, lobster, fruits or veggies.  Sometimes their prices are good, other times they seem high.  At any rate they are all usually friendly and not too bothered if we turn them down.  I have occasionally purchased fruits and veggies from them.  We have asked about fish but have yet to purchase some.  Since we are not often fish buyers the price always seems high to us.  The nice thing is they will gut and clean and filet the fish for you, and for lobster they offer to steam and cook it on the beach so it doesn't stink up the boat.  One of these times we'll have to try it out.  Now I called them "boat boys". But they are not boys at all.  While some are young adult age, most are 30 years plus, some into thei 60s I'd guess.  But the term always used by the boating community in all the islands is boat boys.  It is never meant in a rude way, and they don't seem to mind the term.  It is there way of life, to try to earn money out in the anchorages.  

The next morning we headed over to the west side of Union Island to anchor in Chatham Bay.  The beach wasn't as lovely, but the kids still enjoyed an afternoon of playing there.  David and I, accompanied by our 2 littlest enjoyed a nice walk on the beach.  In the afternoon I swam out to the rocks near our boat to snorkel.  I was saddened to find that the recommended snorkel area was covered in blooming algae.  What was once a pretty rock and coral area was just absorbed by algae now.   I did see an eel and and a lobster and several fish, but the green algae took away so much from what could have been.  Again I swam over our anchor to see that it was sell set in.  We were tucked into the North East corner of the anchorage and the wind just funnels between the 2 mountains in the corner and blows in gusts.  And then it dies down for a bit, so calm, and then gusts again.  We wanted to make sure we were not going to go anywhere during the night.  

The sailing guidebooks list this bay as very remote, which it is.  The only buildings there were really mostly shacks, and just a handful of them.  They offer lunch and dinner BBQs to the boats that visit.  The rest of the view is tree covered hills behind the mile long beach.  A super fancy yacht with 23 passengers aboard had pulled into the bay before us and were setting up a pirate lunch picnic at the only permanent structure there, which was a nice palapa covered restaurant and beach bar.  Since they had the only usable dock that is where we headed for the kids to play at the beach.  We made arrangements to have dinner ashore at the restaurant that evening for the whole family.  It was nice to have a dinner out.  They made us chicken and ribs.  The sauce was really good.  We watched a beautiful sunset while we waited for dinner.  As they set the table the waitress put out glass cups.  She put one in front of Matthew, age 3, who looked at her and held his hand up to say "No! no!  I don't get a glass cup!  I'm just a little boy!  No glass for me!"  He was very serious and so cute.  

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