Goodbye Bequia

It was hard to say our goodbye’s to Bequia, but if there is one thing for sure we will definitely be going back again and I have to say I really enjoyed this island so much and I would recommend everyone to visit here at least once.

As we sailed south we had to stop at Union Island again as we had to sign out of the country but before we did that we stopped off at Tobago Cays to do some snorkelling as we heard that it was a great place to visit. Now we must have caught it on a bad day or it might have just been us but we did not enjoy it that much. The weather was perfect, the seas were calm but the second we went around the corner from where we are anchored, we were hit by a wall of boats everywhere. There were small power boats to mega yachts with people partying, snorkelling, diving and even a jet skier. I was not really impressed, to be honest, and to make things worse, they had an area sectioned off for people to snorkel but the people (including myself) had to bring their dinghy’s in and anchor before they could snorkel. This might not sound too bad but when there were about 30 people snorkelling you had to be very careful you did not hit anyone but to make things worse this area was renowned for turtles feeding on the seagrass. At the time we did not know about this but we were disgusted to see dinghies coming in really fast and not giving monkeys about anything but themselves, we decided enough was enough and we left.

When we arrived back at the boat we all agreed that we did not like it so we decided to have some lunch and leave but, to rub salt into our wounds a patrol boat approached us and asked for some money as it was a marine park and we had to pay. With gritted teeth I handed over my money and just thought there were better places to snorkel than here and those were for free too.

Here is a little bit of history about the area for you.

The Fisheries Division of the government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) designated the Tobago Cays a conservation area as part of the Fisheries Regulations of 1987. In 1997, the SVG government promulgated the Marine Parks Act, which declared the Tobago Cays a marine park and created a marine park board to oversee the management of the TCMP and any future marine parks.

In 1998, the SVG government formally adopted marine park regulations. A year later St. Vincent and the Grenadines purchased the Tobago Cays, which had until that time been privately owned, from the Tobago Cays Holding Company for US$1,025,000, well below market value, with the stipulation that it would remain a national park in perpetuity.

In 2005, the TCMP was selected as one of six protected area demonstration sites for the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Protected Areas and Associated Livelihoods (OPAAL) project. The OPAAL project, funded by the Global Environment Facility through the World Bank; the Fonds Francais de L’Environnement Mondial (FFEM); and the Organization of American States (OAS), currently in its fifth year of implementation, has provided St. Vincent and the Grenadines and the TCMP with resources for and technical assistance in strengthening protected area management, the development of sustainable livelihood opportunities, and capacity building.

With the support of the OPAAL project, a new management plan was drafted in 2006 and endorsed in early 2007 by Cabinet. Also in 2006, concurrent with the establishment of a user fee system and the gazetting of park boundaries, the TCMP was relaunched as a marine park. In the last four years, the TCMP has worked to achieve its objectives of protecting the resources of the Tobago Cays for the people of St. Vincent & the Grenadines.

Personally, this was not our favourite place to visit but I’ve heard other people say they loved it, so I suppose we caught it on a bad day but if this was the worst part of our trip I can’t complain at all.

After lunch we sailed back to Union Island, anchored up for the night. We decided to head out for dinner that night and I have to say it was lovely. The next morning we had breakfast and got ourselves ready to leave but before we could leave myself and Charlie walked to the airport to sign out of the country. Once all the paperwork was signed and our money was paid we walked back to the dingy but on our way, a small aircraft flew over our heads. Its a really weird feeling having a plane fly over your head and so close too, but I and Charlie loved it.

Once back onboard the boat we lifted the anchor and sailed south to Grenada. It was going to take us about 6 hours but it was the most enjoyable 6 hours we have sailed so far as it was all down wind and we averaged 7 knots all the way.

Until next time thank you for reading our blog and keep your eyes peeled for the final blog before my family flies home.

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