Tobago, Grenada, Carriacou – May June 2011
Imagine yourself hiking through some forest area and you hear no birds singing, see no squirrels, deer, wildlife at all, a scary and terrible scene.
This idea crept into my mind on a dive in Grenada. The guide got excited and called our attention by banging wildly on his tank, only to show us the one and only French Angle Fish on that dive. I was surprised, in Tobago, if they would copy this for me annoying behaviour, you would hear banging all through the dive.
On my dive trips worldwide, I feel a serious decline in "wildlife" on the reefs, which surely makes you worried about our environment in the whole.
Tobago, diving with Extra Divers Speyside, run by an Italian German couple, Cinzia + Robert, they have their shop on Nabucco Resort Speyside Inn. In my week there they tried to show me nearly all available dive sites even looking out for a new one which turned into a blue water dive, when we couldn't find the reef. Fishlife coral and sponges are good, some places show spots of algae cover. We had tarpons, jacks, turtles, barracuda, squids once a manta cruised past. Water was 29 C, inside Speyside it was easy fun diving, a bit outside we had choppy seas and sometimes tricky currents. Vis was often poor around 10 m got better during the week. Round the corner on the Atlantic side we dove Sister Island, nearly similar to Roco Partida at Soccoro, vis was much better there, huge boulders, and drop offs round the islands, nice gorgonia and soft coral on the walls. Surface interval most of the time we spent in a bay close to Little Tobago a bird sanctuary island. Cinzia is an excellent dive instructor and guide, she seems to have your computer all the time in her head. When you notice you are close to deco and plan to slowly go up, you will see in front of you, she already changed the dive profile, so nobody would endanger his/her no decompression time. She even dared to scold divers taking pictures, holding onto the reef. You rarely see this with dive guides, as it´s always the question, value for money – loosing customers. We had rain nearly every other day, hurricane season seems to start. They plan to turn the Speyside area into a marine park, which seems to only slowly if at all get started.
Nabucco Resort Speyside Inn is a nice but a bit run down hotel. With lots of paint and nails, you could turn it into a beautiful place again. It sits across a street right next to the beach, has a small swimming pool and some beautiful cottages on a slope. Meals were good, only few European guests at that time.
Dive Grenada, next to Grand Anse at Flamboyant Hotel is run by Helen and Phil a British couple. Dive operation is efficient and very safety aware. Their boat is a bit small, the captain stunning in his efforts to keep you from harm in any way. Dive sites inside the Bay were poor, too shallow for my taste, vis rather modest, not much fish life around (see top). They have their marine park with it´s sculptures at Molliniere, nice to see once and tick off. The wreck dives they offer are good, there is the quite famous Bianca C, the Shakem and Veronica L. where you will find better fishlife around, some barracuda, jacks. Round the corner near the airport, the reef is much better, nice hard coral + sponges, some fish life, hiding lobster and nurse sharks. It's easy diving, calm surface, 29 C, sunny.
Flamboyant Hotel is a huge place on the cliff side of Grand Anse with beautiful rooms. Awesome view from your room across the whole bay and St. George. Swimming pool and good beach, meals were not up to the standard the hotel provides, maybe due to low season.
Carriacou Silver Diving run by a German couple Claudia and “Max” Werner Nagel. Their shop is on the main street next to the beach. They have a small boat and trips to the dive site take only 1o min or less. Most dives are between 9 and 15 m inside the bay, which is called SIOBMPA = Sandy Island Oyster Bed Marine Protected Area. On your dives you immediately notice, there is something wrong with the reef besides areas with brownish algae cover. Fish are extremely shy, and only few times you will find species bigger than a hand. Your idea immediately is – spear gun fishing – which seems to be right, even though this is a marine park. We saw some sting rays, eagle rays, small turtles. Two nice smaller wrecks are inside the bay where you can do a bit of cruising inside, a tug and John D. wreck. My last day we went to Sister Island, which turned out to be the best site on my whole vacation. Abundant soft coral, sponges, good fish life around the islands on the off shore side. Until we encountered a huge fishing net stuck in the coral reaching down from 2o to about 35 m. Three smaller nurse sharks, one white tip, a turtle and a big lobster already got entangled and died. Another nurse shark still moved it's gills, I managed to free it from the net, but it was so weak, couldn't swim on it's own, I placed it in a sandy area and hoped it would survive. This happens in a protected area where officials claim to have wardens patrolling the sites and warn with fines by breaches of MPA rules! I offered Max help to remove the net, he refused, afraid he might find his dive boat gone the next morning, the engine destroyed or his house set on fire. The only chance he saw in a letter to the chairman of the marine park, which he did at once and I will follow. How long will it then take these guys to do something? Each day more fish will die inside the net!
Green Roof Inn is a small very nice place on a rise about 10 min. outside Hillsborough, where you are surrounded by trees and flowers with an awesome view over the whole bay and it's little islands. Rooms are modest, they have two nice cottages in the garden. Meals are served on a terrace overlooking garden, slopes and beaches.