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Hurricane Season in Tobago

By Sue Richards last modified Oct 23, 2015 01:53 PM

Published: 2012-01-17 12:27:49
Topics: Weather
Countries: Trinidad & Tobago

I spent the last couple of hurricane seasons in Tobago, and I thought I'd do a quick write up for any other cruisers who might be considering an alternative to the big groups in Grenada and Trinidad.

Hope this is of interest.

Gordon Dove
SY Calmos 3

I started off here, as I arrived in the Caribbean in Tobago at the start of the Hurricane season, and made a lot of friends before moving on. Tobago is a bit off the beaten track, and that isn't everybody's cup of tea, but if you like the quiet life, it is pretty damn fine.

Security doesn't seem to be much of an issue in Tobago, there are occasional problems here, the same as anywhere, but unless you go wandering the dark streets at night, you should any more concerns than elsewhere, and a lot less than in Trinidad for example. I've been leaving my dinghy on the beach during day time without any issues. I lift it at night of course, but who doesn't.

I leave my yacht, Calmos 3, under the watchful eye of Store Bay Marine Serices when I'm not here. I left here for a couple of months last year, and almost six this year. I checked this with Pantaneus the first year, and they have no problems so long as the boat is managed by someone competent and close, which they are. This covers maintenance checks, monthly bottom scrub, engine running and a trip to the mangroves if storms threaten. The mangrove swamp is probably an hours trip (not that I've ever had to go in there), so Store Bay is pretty safe from the hurricane point of view. They also dove on my anchor, fitted one of my secondary anchors as a serial anchor, and stuck a bunch of dive weights on the chain for good measure.

One unexpected benefit of Tobago is that there are good basic marine engineers around for more than reasonable rates. Parts will take a little longer (about the same time as Trinidad if Trinidad don't have the part in stock and have to order from the US), but if you're leaving your boat here for a few months, it is an ideal opportunity to get any maintenance done. This can all be arranged by Store Bay Marine Services, who can also get stuff in YIT. It is worth considering coming to Tobago to get jobs done and as I say the rates are more than reasonable.

Tobago is a great place to visit in any case, so while you're here, you get to check out the great nature walks and the best Bird sanctuary in the Caribbean. Little Tobago never had snakes, so it never got the mongooses that were imported to kill the snakes and now eat the birds eggs over much of the Caribbean.

Great Scuba and Snorkelling is also just a dinghy ride away.

Nowhere is perfect of course, and with the relaxed pace of life comes a certain inertia. Parts will take a little longer to arrive and there isn't the massive social scene that you might find in more popular locations.

Store Bay isn't as protected as some other bays, and if you anchor close in, it can occasionally get a bit bumpy. Beach landings are the order of the day, and I eventually decided to get dinghy wheels.

Tobago can be a bit different, and it has it's own share of gotchas; John at Store Bay Marine Services is a great resource for everything Tobago, definitely worth a chat get find out the latest on transport, resources, customs, immigration or the state of play in Cricket.

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Oct 23, 2015 01:53 PM

Please note that Store Bay Marine Services closed down in 2015.