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Dive Review of Carib Stu/Cholson Chalets in
Trinidad and Tobago/Charlottesville, Tobago

Carib Stu/Cholson Chalets, May, 2007,

by Jamie Levy, IL, USA . Report 3557.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 51-100 dives
Where else diving My husband and I have been diving in Cozumel, Belize, Turks and Caicos, Tobago, Bonne Terre Mine, Quarries.
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas currents
Water Temp 78 to 82 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 40 to 75 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions We were able to dive our own profiles. Safety was always enforced.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas 1 or 2
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 5 stars Tropical Fish 4 stars
Small Critters 4 stars Large Fish 4 stars
Large Pelagics 4 stars

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter 5 stars Boat Facilities 1 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 3 stars Shore Facilities 1 stars
UW Photo Comments There is plenty to photograph. We did not have any freshwater to store our camera on the boat. However, at the end of our trip, we were told that one would have been provided for us if we just asked.

Ratings and Overall Comments 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Accommodations 3 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 4 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving 2 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 2 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments My husband and I traveled to Tobago the first week in May, 2007 from Chicago. Tobago is a lovely island with fantastic diving. However, it is not easy to journey there. We flew to Trinidad through Miami and spent a night in Trinidad. Apparently, most people must overnight in Trinidad on their way to Tobago. I would suggest staying anywhere near the airport as there is a lot of traffic around the island and it isnt worth driving 45 minutes to sleep only 6 hours. Be forewarned, the sleeping establishments close to the airport are a little bit scary. The following day, we hopped a flight to Tobago where we rented a car to drive to the north side of the island. The drive is a beautiful 90 minutes along the cost.
We stayed at Cholson Chalets in Charlottesville, which is a quaint little fishing village in the north of Tobago. The Chalets consist of three buildings: two antique two-storied buildings with wooden upstairs and varnished wooden floors; and one (1) cottage. We rented a two bedroom apartment fully equipped with a kitchen. The apartment was charming, however, there was no air-conditioning and we were incredibly hot. We bought food at one of the grocery stores near the airport but never ended up cooking any meals. The restaurants in Charlottesville and Speyside are very good and very cheap. Most are located on the beach and dinner cost around $20 for two. We ate lunch every day at Cheryls, our boat captains wifes restaurant. Her food was just delicious and ready for us after we finished diving. The food is essentially the same at each establishment and offers the same Caribbean/Creole menu of beef, chicken, or fish.
We dove with Stuart Sampson from Carib Stu . We were able to get in three dives per day and finish around 1 pm. He offers an exclusive private guide service for Divers who want something special. You can check out his website at www.caribstu.com. This was the first time my husband and I hired a private dive guide and now we never want to dive on a crowded dive boat again. We were most definitely spoiled from the impeccable service and individual attention we received from Stu. He runs a topnotch operation by focusing on fun with an emphasis on safety. Tobago has some serious currents. During each briefing, he not only described the site but also explained how to maneuver through the currents and how to avoid problems when caught in strong currents. We were able to dive our own profiles based on our computers. He was an excellent guide pointing out critters and such but also letting us explore on our own. We were fortunate to see the usual suspects including lobsters, crabs, turtles, barracudas, eels, tarpon, different species of shrimp, and snapper. In addition we saw a Hammerhead, Blacktip Sharks, Mantas, Rays, and fantastic Corals. We were lucky enough to have a close encounter with over 50 Squid. They are curious little buggers that checked us out and copied our every movement. They really were fascinating. Stu took us to dive sites that he founded and that the other operators do not frequent. Even topside, he was great company and loved to joke around. After each day, Stu would rinse and store our gear for the next day. Overall, we absolutely would recommend diving with Stu. (We saw some of the other dive operations and they appeared to be very unsafe and had no regard for any other dive groups.) In my opinion, there is no better dive operation than Carib Stu. We loved diving off Speyside in Tobago and hope to return soon.
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Note: The information here was reported by the author above, but has NOT been reviewed nor edited by Undercurrent prior to posting on our website. Please report any major problems by writing to us and referencing the report number above.

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