Friday, July 19, 2013

Tobago, July 2013

I wanted to SCUBA dive since I was in first year of my Bachelor's and my tutor mentioned that she was a diver and basically gushed about how cool it was and how easy it was to get into. At the time, I was a poor student with absolutely no income so I had to put it off for a few years. Then I forgot about it for a few more. Last year, at the school's career day, a SCUBA school came to talk to the students about diving and I got interested again. Since I had already planned my France trip, I knew that I couldn't do it last summer. This year, when the speakers came back, I collected the information and actually got off my butt to make SCUBA diving a reality.

The folks at Tobago Dive Experience are so nice. I'm a terrible student (and I am plagued by some terrible students) so I really appreciated their patience and encouragement. Kedar and I did the theory portion for the PADI Open Water Diver certification in Trinidad back in March and we were waiting until we both at time (and money) to make the trip to Tobago to tackle the pool sessions and open water dives.

With the school year ending, I was itching to do something fast. I contacted the lady at TDE and she sorted everything out. Last Sunday, Kedar and I went to Tobago to complete the practical portion of our PADI Open Water Diver certification. We stayed by their place in Speyside, Manta Lodge which was nice and simple.

For the first three days, I have absolutely no photos. This was because on Sunday afternoon, we did the first part of the pool session in their little pool out front. Then on Monday and Tuesday, we had two dives each.
  • I should mention that it was only until the 4th dive that I did not get insanely nervous about flipping back into the water, and managed to move around underwater properly (re: bad student who cannot swim with fins).
  • My weight belt came off in each dive and thankfully it was pretty long so I was able to clip it back on every time.
  • I am too big for an xs BCD (it fits with all the clips loose) but to small for a small (it fits but comes away from my back underwater).
  • I am just as clumsy underwater as I am on land as evidenced by my "falling" straight into a bed of coral when coming down at the start of my 2nd dive. Brain coral cuts in neat little lines.
  • I need to walk with copious amounts of sunscreen and a hat because OH MY GOD the face, lower arm and half thigh (short wetsuits) tan looks ridiculous. My watch tan is equally absurd.
On Wednesday, Kedar and I rented a car and attempted to go first to Rainbow Falls. We stopped at the Rainbow Falls Nature Resort where this man took TT$30 each for entry to the trails and sent us on our way. Do not entertain this man! Halfway into the hike, the trail ended. Thankfully Kedar has navigation skills (I would probably still be lost in there) and we came back. The man was nowhere to be found. We drove up a bit and met another man and asked him about the man and the trail and he said that it has been unmaintained for years and that man was a schemer. He pointed us to another waterfall trail which turned out to be the way to Twin River Falls, which we already went to. We then headed to the hotel we stayed at a few years ago for lunch because their food was always really good. We found out that they have been renamed and there was no lunch that day. Then we attempted to go to Kedar's grandfather's, but we couldn't even find the turn-off to his neighbourhood. It was so bloody frustrating. We did check out a few of the beaches and two of the forts along the way. We eventually got snacks for lunch and had dinner back in Speyside.

On Thursday, we spent the day lazing around and took a walk up the hill past the hotel and checked out the views. There is an old water wheel from the plantation days and an abandoned house that has an awesome view. There were people who seemed *ahem*busy in the beach we wanted to go to. Then we got lobster and headed back to the hotel to get ready for the airport.

The drive to the airport in the winding roads was very unkind to my undigested food. Thank God for Gatorade. Seriously.

The pictures:

the pond/river just outside the hotel...

The Water Wheel at Speyside...

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