Recommend a dive centre

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Imtiaz
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Recommend a dive centre

Post by Imtiaz »

Hi All. Planning to do a PADI open water while in Tobago 11-25 September. Staying in Castara. Any recommendations on which centre to use? Someone suggested Wild Turtle

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Steve Wooler
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Re: Recommend a dive centre

Post by Steve Wooler »

Hi Imtiaz

There are no dive services in Castara. All the dive services are located in two basic areas - in the Crown Point area (near the airport), or in Speyside (on the Atlantic coast, the opposite side of the island to Castara). All the decent dive services offer collect/return services for divers in their local area but this wouldn't apply if you are staying in Castara, so you would need to make you way to the dive shop. This is the best part of an hour, with Speyside being marginally quicker. Speyside is for advanced divers, not beginners. Please check out our dive article (Menu: Out & About > Activities / Things To Do > Diving > Services for a list of the dive services available. Take careful note of our reader satisfaction ratings (RSR).
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Re: Recommend a dive centre

Post by Nidge »

Hi Imtiaz,

You sure have made it difficult for yourself by staying in Castara if you want a dive centre! As Steve mentions, the two main locations for diving/Dive Centres is Crown Point and Speyside. And you are smack bang in the middle of both!! Sure, the dive centres will pick up and return you to your hotel, but there will be a limit on how far they want to travel.

As an experienced diver who has dived both Crown Point sites and Speyside, I can assure you that beginners will be perfectly catered for in either centres. Yes, the diving in Speyside is more challenging IN PART, but there are also many many sites that cater for the less experienced. So please ignore the implication that Speyside is for advanced divers ONLY.

We dived with Extra Divers, and they have centres in Crown Point and Speyside. I would strongly advise you to email them and ask for their advice. They are a German-based outfit with dive centres around the world and, as far as I could see, the most professional and slick dive business on Tobago. Ask for Markus - he's the manager. A nice bloke. Avoid the cowboys at all costs. Especially as you do not have the experience to compare one dive centre from another and know what is good or bad practice. I don't know about Wild Turtle Dive, as I didn't contact them when I was searching for a dive centre to use.

This website's star rating and reader satisfaction ratings for the dive centres on Tobago seems to be flawed and out of date, so I would treat them with a pinch of salt. There is no way on God's Green Earth that Undersea Tobago deserve a "good" score. I had the misfortune of diving with one of their guides for a day. A shocking experience and one that I would not advise a novice diver to share.

Furthermore, the star rating system is not interactive, meaning that the website Admin fellas have provided this information. Which seems to be massively out of date. I mentioned this in a post last December but no one ever got back to me addressing my points. I would suggest that you read my post as it provides further info that will be of use to you.

You will enjoy diving in Tobago. What's not to like??? Clear blue waters, plenty of colourful sea life, lots of new things to experience! I would suggest, however, that you do your PADI Open Water course BEFORE you visit Tobago. This will enable you to maximise your dive time and recreational time, rather than having to sit around reading up on the course, taking exams, learning all the basics in a closed water environment rather than just jumping on the boat and heading out for the day like the qualified divers in your group.

If you have any questions, please feel free to email me via this forum. Happy to help.

Good luck and enjoy your experience.

Nigel

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Steve Wooler
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Re: Recommend a dive centre

Post by Steve Wooler »

Nidge

You make a valid point when you say that our own ratings of the dive services are out of date. The truth is that our original panel consisted of three professional, and two highly experienced divers, who used to visit Tobago on a regular basis. Their feedback, research and reports was invaluable. Sadly, for various reasons they have all abandoned Tobago and we have been unable to find suitable independent and trustworthy replacements.

Your comments above have prompted me to make the final changes to the information we list. I introduced the RSR (Reader Satisfaction Ratings) rankings on the dive pages a few years ago and I think the number of reader votes in now high enough - and hopefully a more accurate reflection of the state of play - for me to remove our original editorial ratings.
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Re: Recommend a dive centre

Post by Nidge »

Cheers Steve. Happy to offer suggestions and provide advice for the diving section of the website, as it's a subject close to my heart!

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Chris Runciman
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Re: Recommend a dive centre

Post by Chris Runciman »

Whilst Castara does not have a dedicated dive centre it is used as a base by visitors who want to dive. Richie who took over the water sports facility at Turtle Beach runs Wild Turtle at : www.divingintobago.com

He comes to Castara and collects divers in his green pick up using both the beaches for training and of course Castara is, other than Parlatuvier, the closest to the Sisters so less time coming up from the south by boat and has it's own dive sites. We have had only praise for him from our guests who have been out with him.

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Re: Recommend a dive centre

Post by Nidge »

Good points Chris. However, I should point out that The Sisters is in open water with (potentially) strong currents, and considered an advanced dive. Not for the beginners. No responsible dive centre will take an OWD trainee to this site.

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Re: Recommend a dive centre

Post by Chris Runciman »

Hi Nidge
I know the Sisters from fishing..........I was offering the information not suggesting it for beginners !
It is Hammerhead country as my wife can testify. Some years ago she was at the bottom with a group ( Goran, Manta Dive Centre now gone )they were all looking at turtle when her 'buddy' indicated 'look up' , there',filling their vision were silhouetted a large group of circling Hammerhead.............when they got to the surface none of the rest of the group had seen them and were chattering on about the turtles!

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Re: Recommend a dive centre

Post by Nidge »

Chris, I am so jealous of your wife! It's one of my ambitions to see hammerheads. I did have several conversations with the dive centre about diving the Sisters last year, knowing that it's good for large stuff. However, that's a thing of the past now, and they've not seen big stuff there for a while. Result was I didn't dive the Sisters or push them to take me. But never say never, eh? :-)

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Re: Recommend a dive centre

Post by Imtiaz »

Guys
Thank you very much for all your responses. Richie from Wild Turtle was recommended to us by the people we are staying with at Carpe Diem. So was wondering if anyone could give me some feedback on him and thank you Chris

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Re: Recommend a dive centre

Post by Steve Wooler »

Hi Imtiaz

Richie and Wild Turtle have a decent recommendation and with special links to Castara, I would accept Chris' recommendation. :)
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Imtiaz
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Re: Recommend a dive centre

Post by Imtiaz »

Perfect. Thank you

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