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Tobago… Clean, Green and Serene

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Tobago is a small island – only 26 miles long and 7 miles wide – but it offers so much. It has a warm tropical marine climate, varying from 25 degrees Celsius to 32 degrees Celsius throughout the year, meaning the water temperature is always at least a nice swimming pool temperature. Its 54,000 residents rely heavily on the service sector to tick over its economy; 60-70% of the locals are employed by the local Government, and when you take into account the decent sized private sector, there is very little unemployment in Tobago. This means there is very little poverty, so you have an island perfect for travellers to enjoy a relaxed, well run, peaceful inviting island.

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Tobagonians are a beautiful people; relaxed, warm and hospitable. They are friendly and have a good sense of humour. The island is hassle free and fun. It has a vibrant culture, unique cuisine and breath-taking beauty. There are no crowded beaches (there are only 2,500 rooms on Tobago for those lucky enough to get them). It has good weather all year round; as one of the most Southerly of the Caribbean islands, Tobago is level with the Northern tip of South America, which means it lies South of the hurricane belt which gives it a major advantage when choosing off season holidays in the Caribbean.

tobago 9It is a must for the adventurous traveller, with kayaking, glass bottomed boats, kite boarding, wind surfing, snorkelling, scuba diving and swimming in secluded waterfalls on offer. Golfing, mountain biking and sailing are also available. The main ridge forest has been voted the world’s leading eco tourism destination in the past by the world travel awards. It is the oldest protected rainforest in the world. It is a bird watchers paradise and has 210 species of birds. Giant Leatherback turtles nest and hatch on the beaches at Stone Haven Bay.  It is a smorgasbord of culinary wonders, an island that needs to be smelt, touched, seen, tasted and heard to understand what an amazing place it is. It is all about culture and heritage and it has an amazing legacy to protect. It is also an ideal destination for romantic trips, honeymoons and weddings.

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tobago 4tobago 8It is an island of many festivals – there’s something happening every month. There are unique activities too, like goat and crab racing at Buccoo race track for example. Pigeon Point is worth a visit. It is said to be the island’s most beautiful beach, although many of the beaches are amazing! You shouldn’t miss the  steel pan entertainment on offer there and visit its iconic thatched roof jetty where many weddings have been filmed.  Fort King George is another place worth visiting. This was one of the last colonial forts to be built on Tobago, and offers an amazing viewpoint over the island. The lighthouse built there is still in commission.

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tobago 10tobago 11The diving is varied, but all good. I would describe this as a perfect destination to travel to if diving wasn’t your main focus, as there is so much to do on the island. The diving is similar to the reef diving and reef drift diving in the unspoilt parts of the Red Sea. Tobago’s dive sites are unrivalled anywhere in the Caribbean. The best diving is from 10 metres deep, to maybe around 30 metres deep, so suits the recreational diver rather than the technical diver. You can dive at various sites to see more than 300 species of coral, turtles, nurse sharks and manta rays, especially at Speyside which is the island’s diving Mecca. It meets the Caribbean on one side, and the Atlantic on the other. It has some boisterous water movement which makes for some fun drift diving at certain dive sites at certain times of the day.

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A full dive review is to follow, but for now I’ve put together a short video of a day on Tobago including some off-season diving footage:

How to get there

Flights from Gatwick in the UK, or connecting flights via North America. Trinidad, its larger sister island is 2.5 hours by ferry, or a short 20 minute flight.

Information

Tobago is a friendly island. Make sure you pack sun tan lotion, mosquito repellent and that you hydrate regularly (whether you are feeling thirsty or not).

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Marine Life & Conservation

Dive Guides invited to apply for the Green Fins Dive Guide Scholarship

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Reef-World’s campaign is helping dive guides in need receive Green Fins environmental certification

The Reef-World Foundation – international coordinator of the UN Environment Programme’s Green Fins initiative – is calling for dive guides to submit their application for the Green Fins Dive Guide Scholarship.

As a result of the Scholarship campaign, dive guides working around the world – including Brazil, the Philippines, Egypt, Colombia, South Africa, Indonesia and Turkey – have received their certificate proving their status as a Green Fins certified dive guide. Yet, thanks to funding from Reef-World’s partner Paralenz, 149 more scuba diving guides will be able to receive their Green Fins Dive Guide e-Course environmental certification.

Dive guides who meet the criteria (outlined below) can apply for the scholarship at any time through the Green Fins website. To be eligible for the scholarship, guides must:

  • have completed and passed all modules of the Green Fins Dive Guide e-Course
  • be able to demonstrate they or their employer are not financially able to purchase the certificate
  • be a national of a country which receives official development assistance from the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

The Scholarship was created in response to feedback from dive guides who had passed the Green Fins Dive Guide e-Course and were keen to download and display their personalised electronic certificate but were not financially able to cover the associated cost (£19 / $25 USD). The personalised electronic certificate can be displayed to entice eco-minded guests by informing them the guide has received this vital environmental certification and is aware of how to reduce the negative environmental impacts associated with diving.

Diving related damage to sensitive marine ecosystems, including coral reefs, is becoming an increasingly significant issue. This damage makes them less likely to survive other local and wider stressors, such as overfishing or run-off from land containing pollutants and plastic debris as well as the effects of climate change, such as rising sea temperatures. The Green Fins Dive Guide e-Course, created with the support of Professional SCUBA Schools International (PSS) and running on their innovative EVO e-learning platform, teaches dive professionals how to prevent diving-related damage to coral reefs by following the highest environmental standards and better managing their guests to prevent damage to the reef.

Sam Craven, Programmes Manager at The Reef-World Foundation, said: “We’re proud to be offering dive guides around the world the opportunity to become Green Fins certified; no matter their background. Both the e-Course and the Scholarship have been a great success so far and we’re delighted to see so many dive professionals demonstrating their commitment to sustainable tourism by taking the course. We urge dive guides who haven’t yet taken the course to consider taking this step and welcome Scholarship applications from anyone who meets the criteria. Together, we can protect coral reefs through sustainable diving and we’d love as many dive guides as possible to join us.”


Dive guides who want to be considered for scholarship can visit www.greenfins.net/green-fins-dive-guide-scholarship-applications to apply.

To donate to the Green Fins Dive Guide Scholarship Fund, please visit www.greenfins.net/appeal/sponsor-a-dive-guide.

Supporters who are interested in helping additional dive guides receive their certifications can also donate to Sponsor a Dive Guide.

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Marine Life & Conservation

Go Fish Free this February

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There are no longer plenty more fish in the sea! Fish Free February challenges you to help protect our oceans by removing seafood from your diet for 28 days and helping to raise awareness of the issues caused by intensive fishing practices.

Our oceans are in a state of global crisis, brought about by ocean warming, acidification, pollution, and habitat destruction. However, the biggest immediate threat to ocean life is from fisheries. Each year an estimated 1-2.7 trillion fish are caught for human consumption, though this figure does not include illegal fisheries, discarded fish, fish caught to be used as bait, or fish killed by not caught, so the real number is far higher. It is no wonder then, that today nearly 90% of the world’s marine stocks are fully exploited, overexploited or depleted. If we do not act fast, overfishing and damaging fishing practices will soon destroy the ocean ecosystems which produce 80% of the oxygen in our atmosphere and provide three billion people with their primary source of protein.

Fish Free February, a UK-registered charity, is challenging people around the world to take action for marine life in a simple but effective way. Take the Fish Free February Pledge and drop seafood from your diet for one month, or beyond. Fish Free February wants to get people talking about the wide range of issues associated with industrial fishing practices and putting the well-being of our oceans at the forefront of dietary decision-making. A third of all wild-caught fish are used to create feed for livestock, so Fish Free February urges us to opt for plant-based dishes as a sustainable alternative to seafood, sharing our best fish-free recipes on social media with #FishFreeFebruary and nominating our friends to do the same.

“Not all fishing practices are bad” explains Simon Hilbourne, founder of Fish Free February. “Well-managed, small-scale fisheries that use selective fishing gears can be sustainable. However, most of the seafood in our diet comes from industrial fisheries which often prioritise profit over the well-being of our planet, resulting in multiple environmental challenges. In some cases, the fishing industry has even been linked to serious human rights issues such as forced labour and human trafficking! Fish Free February hopes to shed more light on fishing practices, create wider discussion around these issues, and offer solutions to benefit people, wildlife, and the natural environment.”

To learn more about these issues and to take the Fish Free February pledge visit www.fishfreefebruary.com

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Competitions

This is the perfect start to your 2021 diving season… and at an incredible lead-in price of just £885 per person.

Jump on board the latest addition to the Emperor fleet and enjoy diving the famous sites of the Red Sea with this fantastic special offer. This itinerary takes in the wonderful South & St Johns from 26 February – 05 March 2021.  

Subject to availability – limited flight seats at this price so don't delay!

Call Diverse Travel on 01473 852002 or email info@diversetravel.co.uk to book your spot!

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