Scuba Diving Tobago - mind blowing!
Tobago's greatest collection of rock islands and pinnacles ranges between a spot west of the village of Charlotteville in Man-of-War Bay, on the north side, past the island's eastern tip to the Batteaux Bay community of Speyside. Nowhere else in the Caribbean can you find a collection with this magnitude of huge volcanic spires rising from the depths to break the surface.
Starting on the north side are two prominent rock formations, the Sisters and the St. Giles Islands. A little more than a mile offshore, to the west of Charlotteville, the Sisters feature a collection of 50 foot high, round, fat columns of bare rock. Below the surface, their contours are marked by deep clefts and caves. They drop almost straight down to depths of 70 to 80 feet in several places before becoming a steep incline. Midway down, the rocks become a haven for forests of large Black Coral trees and gorgonians.
Closer to shore, the Brothers are a slightly shorter mirror image of the Sisters, with a maximum depth of 75 feet. When the surge is moderate, divers can take a winding path between these stone behemoths, disappearing in the thick schools of baitfish and aerated water, churned from the waves breaking on the rocks overhead.
East of Charlotteville, off Tobago's most northern point, the St. Giles Islands stand like lone sentinels. Home to the largest frigate bird rookery in the Caribbean and a natural rock arch formation called London Bridge, the underwater seascape is equally dramatic, with walls and steep slopes marked by deep clefts covered with corals and sponges.
Owing to their location in the open waters of the Atlantic, most of these summits have great concentrations of Brown Chromis, Creole Wrasse, assorted species of jacks, including Black, Bar and Crevalle, Rainbow Runners and a few Tarpon. Pelagic visitors, such as tuna, Wahoo and billfish (both sailfish and marlin), are also encountered here from time to time.
On the south of the island near Speyside, four large volcanic spires surround Goat and Little Tobago Islands. They are similar to the Sisters and the St. Giles Islands but are smaller. Identified by their shorter rock formations protruding above the water, Sleeper, Bookends, Special and Shark Bank drop steeply at 60 degree angles to 110-145 feet before reaching a sandy plain at the bottom. When large swells roll in from the open sea, the tops are awash with seafoam and aerated water. Depending on the intensity of the surge, divers can often find several large Tarpon hanging below the white cloud formed by the aerated water or midway down the pinnacles slope.
Scuba Diving Tobago - Manta madness!
Atlantic Manta Rays (Manta brostris) are rare throughout the rest of the Caribbean and The Bahamas but Tobago ha a eputation for face to face meetings with them. However, even during their peak season, between late April and September, an encounter is still a matter of chance.
The Mantas and the prolific nature of Tobago's reefs are the direct outcome of the island's unique location. It is nestled in the extreme southeastern corner of the Caribbean, 70 miles off the coast of South America. It is right in the path of two oceanic currents; the North Equatorial Current (the prelude to the Gulf Stream, which begins in the lower Caribbean) and the Guyana Current. This latter current follows the contours of South America's eastern coast and brings with it some of the nutrient rich effluent from the Orinoco River. As these two bodies of waters collide and intermingle with one another, they create and support a rich ecosystem.
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