From the beach I watch the brightly painted glass bottom boat ‘Cool Runnings’ carry punters to the popular Buccoo Reef and Nylon Pool. Pumping from its speakers I feel the pulse of Bob Marley’s voice “One love, one heart, Let’s get together and feel all right”. Nearby, Rastas with knotty dreadlocks rest under the shade of a nearby tree. In the distance Blue Heeler is tethered to a mooring, one of around a dozen or so freely available to cruisers. Surprisingly we are one of only six yachts; I expected to see many more.
The water temperature is perfect and clear enough to see fish nibbling at my feet. Kids with glistening ebony skin laugh as they somersault off nearby rocks and frolic in the blue water. To protect their hairdos from saltwater splashes, mothers wear cloth caps while they play with infants in the shallows.
Store Bay is located at the western end of Tobago and the place where sailors head for provisions and access tours and restaurants.; It’s situated between the ANL Robinson International Airport to the south and the beautiful beach at Pigeon Point Heritage Park to the north. Pigeon Point is an easy 20 minute walk from Bago’s Beach Bar.
The Store Bay Beach Facility is a tourist centre offering jetskiing, a nice beach, souvenir stalls, eateries and other places to buy ice-creams. Jet skis whiz through the anchorage agitating the water which makes a swim to the beach quite a challenge. A little further north on the road to Buccoo Reef is the Sunday School street party where locals and tourists can tear up the carpet to loud steelpan drums. The music begins around 9pm and continues into the night but it doesn’t bother us out on anchor. Weekends are busier than during the week, but mostly it’s very laid-back and relaxing.
Overlooking the bay is Fort Milford. It’s a short walk to the ruins and cannons; a reminder of the military presence in the region over the past three hundred years.
Some local information for yachties: Dinghies can be locked up to the fence on the beach south of Bago’s Beach Bar and just north of the Coco Reef Resort. There’s a laundrette in town where a lovely lady will wash, dry and fold your clothes for TT$60 (A$12). South of the airport is an NP Fuel outlet to get your cooking gas tanks inexpensively filled (paid the equivalent of US$3 for a 9.5kg tank!). From Bago’s Beach Bar it’s easy to flag down a car and take jerry cans to the NP service station up Milford Road. Tobago is well-known for cheap fuel but I was astounded to pay the equivalent of US$0.35 per litre for diesel.
Further east along Milford Road (about 3kms from the beach) is the Penny Saver Supermarket for all your provisioning needs. For heavy loads it’s easy to flag down a car for the return trip otherwise it’s only a 25 minute walk back to the beach. If you want some good veggies and fruit, head south on Milford Road towards the airport and another lovely lady will sell you anything from apples to aubergines; across the road from her is a mini-mart to buy bread and other supplies, but there’s quite a few mini-marts in town as well. The cherry on the top for cruisers; BZone has free internet access in the bay.
After our lazy weeks in Tobago swimming, walking, reading novels and staying abreast of all the world news, it’s time to head north.
This week we’ll sail to Grenada to begin our slow voyage up the windward and leeward islands of the Lesser Antilles. It’s necessary to clear in and out when travelling inter-island within Trinidad and Tobago, so we must return to Scarborough by taxi where we’ll clear out with Customs and Immigration.
So far Tobabo is my favourite Caribbean island for just hanging out; low-key, hardly any tourists, no pressure from touts, friendly locals, easy to get supplies. Can’t get much better than that. Or can it?