Two years ago I explored the entire island of Tobago with my friend Steve, but the one thing we did not get to do is check out Buccoo Reef on the north side of the western end of the island. We simply were having way to much fun in the interior of the island and ran out of time. With that said, I decided to return this year (on my way to Trinidad for Carnival which I will writing about at a later date!!!!!) in order to check out Buccoo Reef.
I chose to anchor in the open roadstead of Store Bay and dinghy north a mile to the reef. It was nice and calm until I turned the corner around Pigeon Point and then it got bouncy with 1-3 foot waves. All around me I could see dark patches of reef dotting the white sandy bottom and in the distance you could see a wall of white water as waves crashed against the outer reef.
The first place I went to was called the Nylon Pool, so named by Princess Margaret in 1962. This area inside the protection of the reef system is 3-7 feet deep over a white sand bottom. It is an extremely popular place and I get why as it is more or less exactly what people think of when they think of the Caribbean. For me it was ok only because I see places like this all the time……especially when I was in the Bahamas, which this very small area look like what the entire country of the Bahamas look like.
My next stop was to check out Bon Accord Lagoon, which is an almost landlocked bay that boats are only allowed to anchor in during a tropical storm. As you enter there is a gorgeous sand bar sticking out that is popular for day boats to take guest to. You can also arrive by road. It was a great sand bar and the water depth really drops off the lagoon side of the sand bar.
Now it time to get some snorkeling in and this is where the waves were hurting me. I checked out a few of the coral patches and the inside of the barrier reef, but they were only ok as I expected. You see I usually find the best part of the reef is the outside where the deep water reaches the coral. The problem is the waves made it unsafe to snorkel outside the reef this time…..especially by myself. Dejected, I started heading back to the boat and hit the calm water as soon as I rounded Pigeon Point again. This is when I was able to look down and see more coral, so I stopped and checked it out in a few spots. What I found was amazing. Elkhorn coral, check; star coral, yes; mustard hill coral, everywhere; giant sea fans, swaying away; french angle fish, yep and not even shy; glassy sweepers, by the hundreds; trumpet fish, you bet; and so much more!!!! This was all in 5-20 feet of super calm water, only a couple hundred feet off the beach. You can either check it out yourself by dinghy or from the shore. Just go halfway between Pigeon Point and the large yellow building (Tobago Paradise Grill). If you are coming from the shore side you should check out Pigeon Point as they have a nice beach, bar/restaurant, gear for rent, and you can catch a day boat to the other places I mentioned.
The last place to mention is the actual town of Buccoo, which sits on the east end of the reef. This sleepy little town has a protected harbor and a great place to relax……that is until 10pm on Sunday night. This is when “Sunday School” starts up and the locals from all over the island party ALL NIGHT LONG!!!!! 🙂
Now that I have explored the Buccoo Reef area, and the north swell is making Store Bay a bit on the bouncy side, it is time to sail downwind to Trinidad. For this sail I am going to try out my new ParaSailor spinnaker sail. I have never used a spinnaker, but I am excited to see this one in action. I will be making a video blog of the experience, so make sure to watch it tomorrow!!!!