If you like adventure, water sports and the idea of visiting another world then you need to scuba dive!
One of the fastest growing sports in the world, “SCUBA” was originally an acronym for Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus. Originally developed for underwater warfare during World War II, scuba diving has evolved into a recreational pastime for the adventurous.
There are no set time limits on how long it takes to get certified as it is a performance based process, i.e., you move from one level to the next at your own pace. Although there are individuals who have received their certification in three days, it is recommended that you give yourself four days to a week. The cost of certification depends on several variables including whether or not you need to rent equipment, cost of books, if you’ll need transportation to dive spots, etc., however, expect to pay anywhere from $200 upward.
We were part of a large family and friends group staying on the sunny island of Tobago in the West Indies for two weeks and we very aware of Tobago’s underwear beauty. Some in our group were experienced, although infrequent, divers and had managed to encourage a couple of others in our group to get their “open water” certification through PADI, the Professional Association of Diving Instructors and the largest scuba training organization in the world. Although diving is meant to be fun, like most other sports it poses some risks so be sure to thoroughly research your dive school and their instructors before signing on. While we didn’t have a lot of options we relied on word of mouth, both locally and on the web and our trust in Scuba Adventure Safari and head dive instructor John Procope. By the end of the week our two friends had become certified while enjoying one of the best experiences of their lives, and we all joined in for some underwater adventure.
Considered one of the best kept secrets of the underwater world (a good thing), Tobago should be high on your must-visit and must-dive destination lists.
Tobago, sometimes called the jewel in the Caribbean crown, can be found on the most southern tip of the Caribbean chain of islands and just north of Venezuela. It is thought to be the island the story Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe was written about and was also the filming location for the Walt Disney movie classic The Swiss Family Robinson. Considered by many an island paradise with idyllic beaches, rich wildlife and the oldest protected rainforest reserve in the western hemisphere, it’s not surprising that Tobago also boasts several coveted awards including the World Travel Awards “Best Eco Destination in the World”.
Anyone interested in island culture, fun in the sun and underwater adventure should consider Tobago. Experts agree that the island offers world-class scuba diving as currents from the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea and flood waters from Venezuela’s mighty Orinoco River deposit rich nutrients to sustain reefs with colourful sponges and hard and soft coral as well as a stunning array of marine life that includes small tropical fish, dolphins, three species of sea turtles, sharks and massive manta rays. If that wasn’t enough for you to start your vacation plan, another notable attraction is the world’s largest recorded brain coral, which can be found just off the coast of Little Tobago Island, also known as the “Bird of Paradise Island”.
Tobago Fast Facts:
Land area of 300 km²
42 km long and 10 km wide
Weather: Offshore trade winds keep the temperature in the mid-80s year-round
Average Water Temp: About 80 degrees in summer, dropping to between 68 and 71 degrees in winter months
Average Visibility: About 80 feet, though it can be lower during the June-to-October rainy season