Thursday, 28 June 2012

Tobago Cays

We swam with turtles again and this time there were dozens of them. We spent a day in a turtle sanctuary at Tobago Cays. The area is a cluster of small uninhabited islands, protected from the open Atlantic by a ring of reefs. We were able to spend an afternoon there before winds picked up and nasty weather chased us away in search of better shelter. When we arrived we were so eager to jump in the water I did so without bringing a camera. Big mistake. We had to swim quite a distance to get to the protected zone, so by the time we got into the turtle crowds I had no desire to go back and get it. I regret the decision now, because we swam among a massive colony of green turtles so accustomed to human presence they let us get real close. I figured I could snap a few pics the following day, which of course never happened, because we moved first thing in the morning. We had a sleepless night while swinging wildly at anchor and we knew we wouldn't be able to relax out there, where the gusts charged freely across the open water. We moved a few miles back to Saltwhistle Bay on Mayreau Island. It was no coincidence that we ended up there. Saltwhistle Bay is the very one that Gerard's boat has been named after and he could not pass up the opportunity to visit the namesake. We spent a few days on Mayreau waiting for the front to pass, during which time our friends on Katarina and Blue Kai caught up to us. It was a sweet reunion. We had been traveling separately for a month and we really missed those guys, especially the kids. As soon as we came over to their boat, Hannah and Rye went wild showing off their recently acquired skills. Hannah was now able to swim in deep water, without a life jacket. She kicked and paddled with chaotic sweeps of arms and legs, a strange combination of panic and satisfaction painted on her face. Rye, on the other hand, has been bravely jumping off the deck into the deep water, and was more than willing to showcase his abilities, over and over and over again. Rye and I practiced variations of cannon balls throughout the afternoon, until our eyes stung from the salt water. 
Later that day we all met up at one of the beach bars for a reunion drink. Everyone was drinking beers, but I got ambitious and ordered a gin and tonic. And then another, and another. I should have known better, I've been there before. You can never have just one gin and tonic. It all began very innocently and then a group of young tourists from Colorado took over the bar for a birthday celebration. They had arranged for a big table and a home cooked meal by Black Boy's, the bar owner's wife. After Katarina and Blue Kai called it the night, Gerard, Gabriel and I crashed Colorado's party. We couldn't help it. They brought out their own rum punch and musical instruments, and they celebrated with infectious dynamism. We mingled, we played and danced, and I was on my best behavior until I had my fourth gin and tonic after which I enjoyed a slow climb toward a complete breakdown. At first I noticed I couldn't carry out my elaborate dance moves with any sort of fluidity, then my speech became slurred until finally I got so dizzy all I wanted to do was lay down. I asked Gabe to take me to our beached dinghy. I lay curled up inside of it while Gabe went back in to find out if Gerard was ready to go. He wasn't, but he came out to help Gabe get the dinghy in the water and then we were off, put putting back toward Rodeo. I needed my head to stop spinning and I wanted everything around me to stop moving. Naturally it wouldn't. The choppy ride home was excruciating and things got only marginally better once I was aboard Rodeo. Gabe had to go back to shore to wait for Gerard's verve to expire, leaving me slouched in the cockpit with my head hung over the cap rail. Pickle was visibly troubled by my state, mainly because I was in no shape to feed her. She made a point of complaining to Gabe about it later. Slowly, painstakingly I adorned Rodeo's hull with convulsive heaves and finally crawled into bed, relieved from my torture by deep sleep only to be woken back to it the next morning. 

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