Diving in Tobago, Caribbean

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Tobago is located in the southern Caribbean and is one of the two main islands that make up the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. Adding to the breathtaking diving sites in Tobago is the added bonus of being outside the hurricane belt making the diving season year round.

One of the most popular dive sites in the Caribbean coast is the M.V. Scarlet Ibis, once a car ferry that provided vital link between Tobago and Trinidad. Deliberately sunk in 1997 to become an artificial reef, she now lies perfectly upright on the sea floor at the depth of 100ft/33m providing shelter for a number of fish and offering various activities for novice divers to advanced divers. Advance divers could penetrate as far as the engine rooms of the wreck. The wreck has a remarkable coral growth and is now home to building crabs, sennet fish, and clams.

Another popular dive site is the Flying Reef in the South coast suitable for beginner to novice divers. It is a gentle drift diving and can get faster than 2 kts of current and drops to 6-14 metres hence the name Flying Reef. Marine life includes stingrays, Hawksbill turtles, nurse sharks, schools of big eye and glass eye snapper, and different types of reef fish like parrotfish, French angelfish, porcupine fish, and the rare Cornet fish. You can also spot a large ship's anchor surrounded by Pork Fish and Schools of Bermudan chub.

For the beginner divers there is the Kariwak which is a reef dive. You drop through a line and follow the reef with sand to the right and coral sloping up to the left and descend to 14 metres. Marine life includes Moray Eels, Southern Stingray, Electric rays, Angel fish, Scorpion fish, and various types of reef fish. You can also spot some Trumpet fishes imitating the soft coral in the area.

Another popular dive site in the Speyside at the north end of the Island is the Japanese Gardens. This is mainly for advanced divers due to the presence of strong currents. You will be rewarded with a breathtaking view of colourful hard and soft corals and Nurse sharks hanging out in some of the rocks in the curve. There are also large schools of Jacks passing over gigantic Brain corals in the area.

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The people of Tobago are actively participating in marine conservation. A great example is the people's initiative in saving leatherbacks in Tobago. Due to the diverse and endemic marine life in the waters of Tobago, there are calls for more stringent protection of its maritime resources from around the world.

Tobago has a pleasant subtropical climate influenced by the northeast trade winds.

The water temperature hovers around 24°C/75F from Jan to March and around 27°C/80F from June to October.

The diving season is year round.

Natural hazards include very rare occurrence of tropical storms such as the Hurricane Flora that damaged Tobago in 1963.

The main point of entry is the ANR Robinson International Airport in Tobago which has limited direct service. The flights are offered by Caribbean Airlines.

There are also boat rides going to Tobago.

Taxis abound in the mainland.

Cars can be rented for those that can drive right handed cars and is mostly preferred by visitors to the island.

The general public transportation in Tobago is not always reliable so it is a must to contact your travel agents.

Use the following links for more information about;

- Decompression Chambers in Tobago

- Foreign Travel Advice for Tobago (UK Government)

- More about Tobago  (Wikipedia)

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