The first time I visited the Tobago Cays I thought it was absolutely the most gorgeous place on earth. That was back in the early 1980s and there were only 2 sailboats anchored in the Tobago Cays during that particular week of February. Bill was doing something else that day and I had taken a tour boat out from Palm Island to see what these cays were all about. So he never had a chance to see Tobago Cays in their glory days. And it is a totally different place today.
We sailed to Tobago Cays in May 2006 and again in May 2007. Both times we were struck by the beauty of the place; but it is now so crowded with sailboats and day-tourist boats that it simply is not the same place that I visited back in the 1980s. In fact, the SVG government has declared the area a national park and now collects fees from visiting boats. They have marked off a small spot beside on of the cays as a protected area and there are 2 places where you can enter with a dinghy to get to the beach. This is a turtle nursery grounds area and also very popular for snorkeling.
The Tobago Cays have 2 reefs that break up the Atlantic waves before reaching the cays. It is technically possible to anchor behind the outermost reef during daytime only, but it is usually much too rough out there for us to consider anchoring that far out. The normal anchoring ground is behind the innermost reef, between the reef and the cays.
These days it is not unusual to see 100 boats or more anchored there. A far cry from the 2 boats that were anchored there during "high season" back in the early 1980s!!! It is a crowded anchorage area but still extremely popular. I'm sure we will return again and again after we complete our circumnavigation.