January sea swell

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Neil Roberts
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January sea swell

Post by Neil Roberts » Mon Mar 04, 2019 3:59 pm

Dear Paul and readers,
Work commitments have meant that, for the last few years, January has been the only time that we have been able to have a decent break, but a few years ago we had two consecutive trips to Tobago when the swell was ridiculous and virtually no snorkelling was possible. Since then we have holidayed elsewhere in the Caribbean, but we have missed Tobago! What's the January weather been like for the past couple of years and should I feel safe in planning a return? Your opinions would be appreciated.

All the best, and thank you,
Neil Roberts.

PaulMakin
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Re: January sea swell

Post by PaulMakin » Wed Mar 06, 2019 5:16 pm

tobago's tropical maritime climate can be unpredictable and is heavily influenced by north atlantic sub-tropical high pressure cells and also shifts in the inter-tropical convergence zone. differing pressures in the north atlantic and over the south american land mass can give rise to southward moving storms, producing the swells sometimes encountered. the occasional absence of the trade winds for a day or two (as in late feb this year) can leave the island "stuck" between systems. conversely however, we also experienced several windy (as opposed to breezy) days and 'planes seemed to be taking off "the other way" more than the norm.

at just 11 degrees north, the climate is best considered in conjunction with that of south america rather than islands further up the chain.

this jan, high pressure in the northern caribbean basin and storms pushing south did produce a number of tide surges and chop for tobago, lasting 2-3 days. before and after, the water was unseasonably flat with excellent visibility once the sand had sunk to the sea bed again. rainfall further south did produce some "white" water (the fresh and salt water don't mix properly creating a "river" of rain/fresh water floating on top of the ocean) down to around 15 ft but the current moved it on quite quickly, sometimes clearing within the same day. viz below the white layer was around 60ft.

jan/feb were very hot this year with less filtering of the sun's intensity (the saharan dust didn't really arrive). air temps around normal but the "real feel" was much higher than the charts would have you believe. mostly very dry with WASA introducing restrictions and starting tanker deliveries as early as mid jan. turned a bit wetter towards the end of feb with 3-4 days of quite heavy rain periods, sometimes prolonged.

paul

Neil Roberts
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Re: January sea swell

Post by Neil Roberts » Fri Mar 08, 2019 2:45 pm

Dear Paul,
Thank you so much for your very informative reply.

Kind regards,

Neil Roberts.

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Paul Tallet
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Re: January sea swell

Post by Paul Tallet » Sun Mar 10, 2019 4:37 pm

Hello Neil

It's pot luck.

The seas can be rough any time of year but it does tend to be more common in the dry season. I have been lucky over the last 2 years but, even then, there were some heavy swells and it takes a few days for all the silt to settle down and provide clearer conditions for snorkelers.

I have once visited Tobago in June/July when I found the seas to be the calmest I have experienced. But, at this time of year you risk more rain and this can also cloud the sea as the rivers swell and carry sediment into the sea, turning it brown.

Prior to the last 2 years I found it frustrating visiting in December/January for a few consecutive years and I share your views completely.

Just pot luck.

Regards
Paul Tallet
Public Relations Consultant for Mother Nature

PaulMakin
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Re: January sea swell

Post by PaulMakin » Mon Mar 11, 2019 4:09 pm

i agree paul; i have been frustrated by the weather in Dec/Jan. Like yourself, i have found wet season over the last couple of years to be more palatable than i recall. last may through to petit careme in sept gave fantastic weather with clear, sunny skies (albeit one or two cloudy/rain daytime episodes in the week), rainfall at night and a pleasantly low humidity (relatively speaking)

paul

Neil Roberts
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Re: January sea swell

Post by Neil Roberts » Wed Mar 13, 2019 6:40 am

Thank you gentlemen, all the best,

Neil Roberts.

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