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 Charlotteville - Profile

Location

Charlotteville is a quiet, fishing village on the NE tip of Tobago. It's reported to be a very beautiful and peaceful anchorage, popular with French yachts.

Clearance

See Trinidad & Tobago Formalities for complete clearance information.

Arrival

Offically you should go alongside the Immigration jetty for clearance with Customs and Immigration (in that order!) and this should be done before getting permission to proceed to any anchorage or other mooring. However, the dock here is unsuitable for yachts and you will be in the way of the fishing boats.

The skipper and all the crew must immediately go ashore to clear in. This applies day or night, 24/7. However, again, Immmigration hours of opening are very sporadic (see comments at bottom of page).

A "navigation fee" of about US$8 per month is levied on all boats in the water.

Departure

A yacht must normally clear out from the same port at which it arrived, but it is possible to clear out from Scarborough if Customs are advised before leaving Charlotteville of the exact date. This may also be alot easier due to the irregular hours that the authorities practice here.

With permission, you may depart Charlotteville and overnight in Crown Point but you cannot land at all  and must leave by daybreak the following morning.

If you wish to circumnavigate the island you must file a passage plan and when on the southern coast you need to check into and out of Scarborough as it is a different jusisdiction from Charlotteville. Sailing like this is refered to as "Bay Hopping" but you must get permission to do it. Be especially careful if leaving for Trinidad. If you stop en route without permission you will be in trouble on arrival in Trinidad.

When sailing to Trinidad, you must gain clearance from both the Immigration & Customs office with endorsements allowing the vessel to sail to the port of Chaguaramas. If the vessel was cleared to sail to Chaguaramas from Tobago, then the skipper is obligated to report to the Chaguaramas Customs & Immigration office upon arrival.

You may NOT drop anchor en route along the north coast of Trinidad but must proceed directly to Chaguaramas. This is a security reason and for your own safety.

Last updated September 2014.

Docking

Charlotteville has a good, but deep, protected anchorage with a long-term community of cruisers.

Anchor north of the imaginary line extending from the end of the jetty to the northern point of Pirates Bay. Do not anchor inside this line. If you search around north of this line, it is possible to find depths of 45 feet in which to anchor. You will also find the breeze is more consistent and cooling north of the line and you should be out of the insect range. Take care that your anchor or chain do not damage any coral.

If you go in too close to shore (less than 40' of water) you will be in coral.  45'-60' has you on a nice sandy ledge with good holding with proper scope.  It is a little shallower if you go by the town beach, but more exposed to any swell.  Also, if you try to anchor in the cove at Pirates Bay, the fishermen will ask you move.

You must not discharge black water into the bay or any swimming areas.

When going ashore, it is advisable to pull your dinghy up onto the beach on the inside of the town jetty. Those tied to the lower dock often get sucked under it and capsize, or there is a danger it will be vandalised by local youths jumping off the dock into vacant dinghies (see comments below).

Alternatively secure it at Workshop Seatours. There is a grocery store here also.

Last updated November 2015.

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Dec 01, 2015 12:30 PM

Report posted on CSSN: 28 November, 2015
Dinghy Vandalism in Charlotteville
There are a bunch of young adults here who are damaging dinghies on purpose. When you leave your dinghy at the dinghy dock they jump from the dock onto your dinghy breaking the underside and then into the sea. They broke my oars and took the drain plugs out of the transom. 28 November - they trashed my dinghy and broke my Tohatsu motor. 29 November - they broke the oar of another dinghy and stole the seat from a French dinghy. They also stole the stern anchors from a Brazilian dinghy a few days ago just leaving the rope behind.
If you are going to come here, beware that it's not safe to leave your dinghy at the dock.

tscott
tscott says:
Sep 23, 2015 08:32 AM

Charlotteville 2015:
We Had a great time here! We enjoyed it so much we decided to use this as our base for hurricane season. Good snorkeling/diving/fishing. Friendly locals, sleepy town.
Customs and Immigration were very friendly, and "bay hopping" permits are easy to acquire at the customs office. Plus Roxanne John from the tourism office is a wealth of local info and a great welcome committee for the visiting yachts. She is in the same offices as Customs and Immigration, behind the health clinic.
There is a petrol station with easy access to the beach, but sometimes they run out of diesel. Always had it again within a few days.
The ATM also runs out of money too, but is restocked once a week.
Several small markets and veggie stalls, but not the place to do major re-provisioning.
Fresh water taps on the town jetty, safe for drinking. Also there is a fresh water spring on the Pirates Bay beach where you can fill your jerry cans.
Laundry can be left with "Workshop Tours" by the bus stop.
Bus transport into the city is unreliable, but local transport is easy. Just hang out by the bus stop, ask the locals there which car/van you should take into the city. It should cost around 14-16TT/person and takes 1-1 1/2 hrs to get in depending on traffic and road conditions. If you are luck enough to catch the rare bus, tickets are 4TT and can be bought at teh "red" market nearby.

Anchoring is good but deep. If you go in too close to shore (less than 40' of water) you will be in coral. 45'-60' has you on a nice sandy ledge with good holding with proper scope. It is a little shallower if you go by the town beach, but more exposed to any swell. Also, if you try to anchor in cove at Pirates Bay, the fishermen will ask you move.

**Dinghys** while we did not experience any problems, many cruisers there with us did. It is best to drag it up on the beach on the inside of the town jetty. If you tie to the lower dock, and it does not get damaged by getting pulled under the pier, then you run the risk of it becoming a new play toy for the dozens of children swimming off the dock. The police are now patrolling the dock in the afternoons to chase the kids away. One or two dinghies tied by the steps for a short time is ok, but any more than that overcrowds the dock and blocks it for use by the local fishing boats, which is why it is there in the first place. Dragging it up on the beach is the best practice.

We had no problems with crime, theft in town or at anchor while we were there. Really nice community of cruisers in this bay.

Travis and Joanne
s/v Calico Jack

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Sep 15, 2014 04:18 PM

We contacted Garth, who is listed as a guide, for a trip to Little Tobago whilst we were in Charlotteville. He is very polite and seemingly friendly, but he is deceptive. The price on the phone was the beginning...in the car, it went up, then at the destination he said he made a mistake with the price...etc....so we had to pay more as we were sort of "hostage" to him. He didn't even do the tour, but passed us on to someone else. I don't know what his business is but he is just an opportunist. We didn't try the other one. The best thing is to enjoy the glorious bay and explore the surrounds.
Also immigration doesn't work every day. In the 2 weeks we were there, there has been someone there for only 2 days. Customs is always there. It's fine if you are not in a hurry, but if you are, one would need to go back to Scarborough.
There has been no petrol here since we arrived...they can't say when it will be... A couple we met before said when they were here there was no money in the ATM for 2 weeks, but so far, so good, on that one!
Anyway it seems Charlotteville "belongs " to the French. We have been the only non-French boat here so far. I asked immigration and they said 95% of boats here are French. They obviously know how to choose a beautiful place.
Linda Hufnagel

Trinidad & Tobago
Tobago
Charlotteville
Scarborough
Store Bay
Trinidad
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