> Destinations > Trinidad & Tobago > Trip Reports > Trip Report
Just returned from 10 days in Tobago. This was a second trip, the first
was August 1995.
BWIA hauled us from Miami (to Barbados, Grenada, St Lucia, Port of Spain
Trinidad) to Tobago, and it seems that there is also a direct MIA - POS
- TAB route, but we enjoyed the airports of many nations.
Arriving at Crown Point, the Southern end of Tobago late at night, we
got an excellent little Samurai from Cordner Auto and began the slow,
right hand drive thru almost 2 hours of twisting mountainous roads to
the far northern end (50 km) town of Speyside.
The Blue Waters Inn is a lovely property that is well suited to diver
and eco-tourist (birder) alike. The staff was friendly, attentive and
right on the spot. The rooms were varied, we got what was regarded as a
lower grade "standard" that was just perfect.
The dive op, AquaMarine Divers is a passable operation, with better than
average attention to in the water safety. Their new boats are an
improvement and absolutely the best on this interesting end of Tobago,
but they still haven't seen enough weight integrated bc's to offer to
rig them onto the tanks before the boat bounces out of the slip. What a
mess. It is a hurried operation with tired d/m's, possibly less than
motivated due to the European clientelle's tipping practices. Dive
briefings were lackluster with no drawings or sketches and due to the
Tobago accent, unintelligible to most other than us Yanks. The Germans
and Swiss were left dazed. They had a nice docking facility (the only
one in Speyside), but it was poorly managed. The little things were
lacking. Prices were about $390 for 10 dives. Night dives, although they
were asked for and on the "menu", were never provided.
The diving, sorry to say, was less memorable than the previous trip. NO
MANTAS. It is the considered opinion of several experienced diver
operators, that diver interaction has driven the mantas into seclusion.
Redman of Red M Dive will do his best to find them for you, with the
absolute proviso that no touching or pursuit be permitted. Find him at
email@example.com He runs a safe open dory dive op for many
years...fve minutes away from the Blue Waters Inn, and 1 minute from the
Many Europeans were very interested to see what we regular Caribbean
divers take for granted. It was NOT due to the DM's at AquaMarine, but
the various Euro-divers saw flamingo tongues, nurse sharks, 4 different
colorful slugs, arrow crabs, many nurse sharks, black tips, octopus,
lobster, shrimp, blennies, juvenile drums, various eels and the standard
Caribbean seafood platter. It was standsard DM practice to grab anything
out of its hidey hole to amuse the guests.
The currents were worth the price of admission. This is a great place to
"get your ticket punched". It was always .5 to 1 m.p.h., usually 2-2.5
m.p.h., and quite often 3-4.5 m.p.h. Mark Evans, editor of PADI's
British Dive Magazine Sport Diver dove a site that included Aquarium and
"African Express" reporting I believe 6 mph current. Yowzah.
We opted for the Breakfast only package ($11/day) which was excellent!
Eat overlooking the fabulous vistas of Little Tobago Island from the
lovely Blue Waters Inn. The little birds swooped to your table and
demanded jellies and fruit.
Due to the odd dive timetable, 10 a.m. and 1 p.m., there was no time for
lunch. Just a 20 minutes on each side sunbathing roast, then back at it.
Bring snack bars and Crystal Light. Tobago water is quite safe.
Evening meals, we ate at Blue Waters twice, and it was quite nice... but
I would suggest a short ride over the hill into Speyside proper and dine
at Jemma's, Frank's (not named that on the sign) Birdwatcher Cafe, or
"Redman's Simple". Try all three and be sure to try the mildly garlic
flavored Calaloo soup (like Spinach) and be certain to arrange for "Hot
Roti" which is the traditional island slave version of a burrito. (lots
of chicken "parts" and garbanzos and chickpeas). The local brew, Caribe,
is endemic and has the obviously well thought out and inarguable slogan,
"A beer is a Caribe". Alrighty then.
Speyside has changed little since 1995. There are now telephones
aplenty. The "final" town, over the last ridge also has a cell tower...
Charlottesville is pretty much the end of the road, further driving was
only possible with 4WD Jeep. Unlike years past, we were only able to
drive along the Northern Caribbean side coast, now driving SW, for only
4.5 miles before turning back. The road had washed out to boulders. The
remainder of the roads are quite good with the caveat that this is a
mountain island with right hand drive. Think, then drive. If you're not
absolutely up to the challenge, arrange for ground transfer, which from
the airport to Speyside can be quite high. A rental Samurai from Steve
Cordner rentals in Crown Point was only $40/ day. Gas was $1.45/ US
The Manta Lodge did not offer a docking facility for diving, but it does
have a nice pool and is within easy walk of all Speyside. It was quite
noisy on several nights with amplified music. Looked like a good party,
though. The Speyside Inn is a small but nicely appointed guest house
along the same strip of "downtown" Speyside.
We took the long ride back to the 0700 hrs departure flight... a day
early, just so we could do it in the daylight and not have to arise at
"oh-dark-thirty" for the two hour drive. It was worth the use of our
off- gassing day. Lots of scenic vistas on the Atlantic side, then cross
over the mountain in Scarborogh to continue North on the Caribbean side.
In Crown Point we stayed at a passable place called Arthurs by the Sea
that did involve us having to break in and out of as we returned from
our last dinner at 2300 hours and left before 0600 hrs the next day.
In Crown Point we looked at the tiny but well regarded SunSplash Scuba
on the strip along the way to Pigeon Point. Look at all the dive ops,
talk to the folks, I think you'll find Jon & Caroline to have the more
eco friendly operation. It is rec.scuba.locationsnot Soto's of Cayman,
but it is safe, small and homey. Find them via LYCOS.
They know the reef well and Caroline just reported an inquisitive Tiger
Shark. Find them at www.walax.com/sunsplashscuba.htm
In summation, Tobago is difficult for Americans to get to, but
worthwhile. The currents are a great training basis for a trip to the
Galapagos. Your best chance to see Manats, if you fulfill the above
mentioned requirements, is with RedMan of M dive.
Thanks to Doc for this trip report ...