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Anchoring Ban at Petit Tabac in Tobago Cays

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Not to be confused with Trinidad’s sister Island, the Tobago Cays are a collection of five small islands and coral reefs on St. Vincent’s southern Grenadine Islands. It’s a must-see cruising destination. Yet, the popularity is also causing problems. Case in point: damage to coral reefs. For this reason, Tobago Cays Marine Park officials announced in February an immediate ban on anchoring around Petit Tabac. Instead, officials encourage yachts to anchor in the lagoon area of the park and use their dinghies or local water taxis to ferry to Petit Tabac. The half-mile-long cay, with its white sand, fringe of green palms, and surrounding blue seas, is definitely a draw. Nicknamed Jack Sparrow Island, this is the film location where Sparrow and Elisabeth Swann are left on ‘Rumrunner’s Island’ by the villainous Captain Barbosa in the 2003, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl.

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On a related note, last year the Tobago Cays Marine Park implemented an E-commerce system on its website with the tagline ‘TCMP PAY’. This makes it easy for park visitors to pay in advance their mooring and user fees online and by credit card. Fees include Park Entrance at US $5.50 per day, and a Mooring Fee of US $22.20 per day. Data generated from this system, designed and hosted by Reef Support LLC, will also document usage reports for the park’s continued management and protection. The system was designed and hosted by Reef Support LLC. www.tobagocays.org, tcmp.reefsupport.org 

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Carol M. Bareuther, RD, is a St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands based marine writer and registered dietitian.

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