In Tobago, you don't need to go out looking for nature, it finds you, and in the case of the diving, grabs you and defines your journey. This year, for our signature and exclusive Tobago: Get Published event trip, we focused on the remarkable fins and feathers experiences one can get on this unique little island. This year started much different that last year. The Orinoco River reared it's head and filled the pipeline that feeds these reefs with nutrients that fattens up the undersea minions and turned the water a wonderful shade of emerald green. Yes, wonderful. The lack of blue didn't diminish any of our groups underwater experience. We got to witness first hand the reason these reefs have remained so outstandingly lush in a world where the other reefs have not fared as well. The green. Well, you can't change nature, so we embraced the incredible opportunities to shoot bright orange elephant ear sponges, barrel sponges, tarpon, purple, green and yellow sponges, turtles and giant lobster against different, but equally remarkable color palette. I for one loved the deep green against which we shot. My images and the images of all the participants took on a unique luster. The 10 divers that came along with us were treated to cream of the dive site crop, from Bookends to Japanese Gardens at night off Speyside, to London Bridge and a brand new dive site called Marble Wall in the St. Giles islands. We also went on a hammerhead quest off Sisters, but the waters were a bit warm for the big boys. Seahorses were out in numbers, as were tarpon. Because of all this incredible underwater action, a special VIP cinematographer from the BBC named Peter Kragh, a veteran of Blue Planet, Life, and more , came along to see for himself and was, as he said, "blown away," by the health of the reef.
As far as feathers -- we got literally attacked by southern lapwings, went crazy for colorful mot mots and laughing gulls, and did our best to capture the zip and dash humingbirds, which swarmed the trees around Manta Lodge, as well as the rainforest along the Gilpen Trace, in the western hemisphere's oldest protect forest, and around the famous Argyll Falls, all part of our grand adventure. And, to keep the beat and pace for our group, we got to experience the non-stop purcussion of a genuine Indian Tassa Band, that played by the pool, on the beach and roadside. But, despite the constant movement and action of our days, no one left the island hungry after our beach BBQ and Indian Night, which features freshly made authentic Roti. Mmmmm...
We have a theory that the marinelife and the feathered-life found us because we had Suuz Martinez, the owner of Cococheneyney, along for the ride. She oufitted us with wildly-colored scuba tube socks, doo rags and rashies. For once, we divers were the main attraction to the finned and feathered. Thanks, Suuz!
The week went so well, that after the big soiree that the Tourism Board sponsored on the famous Pidgeon Point Beach in Crown Point, several of the group stayed on to dive some more during the Sport Diver sponsored Tobago Underwater Diving Festival.
Best news, though. We're doing it again next year. So, blank out that space on your calendar and go check out the photo galleries on sportdiver.com. If your wavering even a little bit, that will change your mind about experiencing this nature bound island.
I'll see you next year, too. Can't wait.