Beaches / Snorkelling ... 2009 Update

Questions and comment about scuba diving and snorkeling
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Beaches / Snorkelling ... 2009 Update

Post by Paul Tallet » Sun Feb 08, 2009 5:36 pm

These are the beaches we visited:-


Store Bay
Cable Beach
Pigeon Point
No Man’s Land
Mount Irvine
Arnos Vale
Castara
Englishmans
Lover’s Bay
Man of War Bay
Pirate’s Bay


This is what we thought of them:-


Store Bay

Close to the airport. Very popular and often crowded beach with plenty of facilities, trip offers, water sport offers and surrounded by Roti shops and market stalls.

Good Points ... Pretty sandy beach, great for sun worshippers, safe swimming.

Snorkelling ... At the south end there is a reef about 50 metres out. Easy to get to but there can be strong currents slowing your return to the beach. To the north is a relaxing snorkel along the breakwater sheltering the Coco Reef Resort beach ... lots of life and signs of coral growing here.

Negatives ... Can be noisy, half the beach is covered in sun-beds and of course the hustlers, but I found that I wasn’t bothered again after saying ‘No’ about 3 times.


Cable Beach

Small beach on the other side of the Coco Reef resort and accessed next to Bago’s Bar on Pigeon Point Road.

Good Points ... Quiet and peaceful. Lovely white coral sand.

Snorkelling ... As with Store Bay, you can swim to the Coco Reef breakwater for snorkelling.

Negatives ... A bit rocky in places.


Pigeon Point

A beautiful narrow stretch of white sand, palm trees and calm, emerald blue seas, protected by Buccoo Reef. At the north end you have to pay to access the beach. Facilities include a restaurant, burger bar and 2 bars and a few shops. Shower facilities are available at no extra cost. Plenty of water sports opportunities and fewer hustlers.

Good Points ... still a beautiful place, stunning location, beautiful warm sea to wallow in. The facilities seem to be in better condition than they used to be.

Snorkelling ... None. But you can use the glass bottom boats (not recommended) to take you out to the reef where the snorkelling is good.

Negatives ... beach erosion ... there used to be an ice cream cafe but this has completely disappeared over the last 5 years so that the Burger Bar (behind it) is now right on the beach. The long strip is not there during high tide ... I am wondering how much longer Pigeon Point will be there !


No Man’s Land

Accessible by Boat and used primarily for beach barbeques ... I visited this beach (with Duck Tours) for the first time in 8 years and it has not changed. A mini Pigeon Point.

Good Points ... Calm and quiet location (except when a party kicks off!). White coral sand.

Snorkelling ... None.

Negatives ... It’s nothing special.


Mount Irvine

A very diverse beach with 2 sections ... to the south is the ‘quiet end’ mostly used by residents of the hotel and with a good restaurant and facilities on the beach which is managed by the Hotel. To the north is the ‘noisy end’ frequented by surfers with a cheaper bar and restaurant.

Good Points ... So many options, you can even have a massage! ... Nice white sands.

Snorkelling ... At the south end the snorkelling has excellent potential when the sea is clear but it is often a little cloudy. Lots of brain coral and this stretches right around the headland into the next Bay (Grange Beach ... AKA the Wall).

Negatives ... I don’t think the surfing is that good with nasty rocks and coral to shed your skin on. When the sea is up I think Grange Beach is best and much safer although there are no lifeguards around.


Arnos Vale

A public beach accessed through the private grounds of Arnos Vale Hotel or a fly infested track which means that there won’t be much left of you by the time you reach the beach.

You can use the Hotel facilities but they are expensive.

Good Points ... a lovely crescent shaped and sheltered beach with a pristine coral reef.

Snorkelling ... I rate the snorkelling here a very close second to Lover’s Bay ... the reef is simply beautiful and on a good day will put on a show that you will never forget. I have seen huge shoals of fish, many varieties of Parrotfish, Squid, Rays, Barracuda, several Turtles ... you name it ... and, on the last occasion, I was treated to the most magnificent, exhilarating and underpant-filling privilege of a huge (8ft) Green Moray Eel snapping at my flippers ... awesome !

If you are a snorkeler you have to visit Arnos Vale.

Negatives ... You need to access the sea at the southern end otherwise you risk getting tagged by fire coral which is quite close to the beach.


Castara

Lovely long beach within a Fishing community with just about everything. Facilities include a wide range of restaurants, sun-beds, supermarket, tour operators, bars and even Pool Tables. To the north is Heavenly Bay that you can wade/swim to or access via an extremely steep road.

Good Points ... safe swimming watched by lifeguards ... watching the several Sting Rays which is one of the main features of Castara Bay (don’t be scared of them ... they don’t bite).

Snorkelling ... For some reason (while I was there) the river has moved up to the north end of the beach so the sediment tended to cloud the waters in Heavenly Bay where the coral reef starts. But as you swim out the water gets clearer and there is a spire further out that you can see at low tide ... that is the best area to be and, of course, you can swim round the headland for some nice visual displays.

Negatives ... sandflies and the man with the steel drums ... be careful and don’t agree anything with him until you have agreed a price first ... I don’t like his business ethics ... if he walks up and plays within a few yards of you (without invitation) he expects you to pay when he has finished and if he starts teaching your children then you are into big money after the lesson is finished ... I would recommend you just say ‘No’ or politely tell him to go away and one day he will hopefully learn that he should agree prices before providing or forcing services on people ... he quite skilled though, to be fair.


Englishman’s Bay

A beautiful crescent shaped bay surrounded by pristine rainforest. Probably the most beautiful beach in Tobago or the whole Caribbean. There is a restaurant there which has been developed in recent years ... I can’t comment on the negatives that have been reported about the restaurant or the people that run it other than to say that I have not had a negative experience.

Good Points ... the sheer beauty and being in what must be one of the most beautiful places in the world. A nice river runs behind the beach teeming with wildlife. At night you will see the most spectacular firefly displays.

Snorkelling ... you need to be a good swimmer to get in and out of the sea because of the steep angle of the beach and the strong crashing waves. Then you have a swim of about half a mile to some pristine coral and a variety of sea life ... I am not sure it is worth the swim when you have reefs like Arnos Vale right near the beach ... most snorkelers access the reefs from a boat.

Negatives ... there is not much else to do ... oh and the sandflies are always hungry on this beach so don’t sit around.


Lover’s Bay

Virtually inaccessible, tiny beach opposite Booby Island and surrounded by luscious coral reefs just west off Man of War Bay.

Good points ... for me this is the best place to be if you can get to it. It is quiet, away from everything, almost disappears at high tide and is protected and sheltered by a sheer cliff that makes the beach inaccessible by land and the sun can only shine on it in the afternoon. Additional protection from the sea is provided by the reef that almost reaches the surface of the water, especially at low tide ... it is possible to swim to the beach by negotiating narrow channels through the coral ... a consequence of the difficulty in reaching the beach is that Lover’s Bay should remain one of the last pristine and unspoilt places in Tobago for (I hope) a long time or forever preferably.

Snorkelling ... well you have to swim about a mile to get there first. I did it from Charlottesville but not tried it from the nearby Hermitage Bay (will do that next time). Previously I used Kayak and I have to say I would prefer going by boat. So ... once you get there you could probably do with a rest on the beach. The action extends from close by the beach over a wide swathe reaching out as far as Booby Island and round to Cambleton Bay ... you could be snorkelling for hours. What you see is sublime/awesome/I cannot come up with the superlatives to describe it adequately ... many species, colours and quantities of fish I have not seen anywhere else in Tobago ... 3 or 4 large Barracuda for instance ... but I liked the rare Grey Angelfish best with it’s beautiful yellow trim along the tips of it fins ... Lover’s Bay is just so pure and that is why I rate this above every other snorkelling site in Tobago.

Negatives ... not staying there longer. Swimming back to Charlottesville is hard going against strong currents.


Man of War Bay

Meaning the main beach in Charlottesville. It may not look that nice because it has taken some serious punishment in recent years with heavy rains, particularly the rain event of November 2004 which caused terrible landslides that did considerable damage to much of the pristine coral close to the shore. It will probably be many years before there is even a partial recovery.

I have not since had a proper opportunity to swim about and look at the coral to see what is left due to general cloudiness underwater.

Good Points ... Swimming is safe as long as you stay within the perimeters set by the lifeguards otherwise you risk catching yourself on sharp rocks and corals.

Snorkelling ... as said above ... bit sad really. It used to be lovely.

Negatives ... None.


Pirates Bay

Accessed by boat or a vigorous walk from the north end of Charlottesville. Beautiful location, lovely beach and popular for beach barbecues with boat trippers.

Good Points ... quiet, out of the way, peaceful ... lovely beach and great for swimming.

Snorkelling ... this is a bit of an enigma ... so many say that the snorkelling is great to the south or the north but I have seen very little on several occasions due to cloudiness in the water. There is definitely a reef to the south but I could not see much of it.

Negatives ... hungry sandflies and that walk back up the steps ... phew !!


Other Things

I kept meaning to visit King Peter’s Bay as I noticed the road has fresh tarmac on it but I am not sure how far down this goes ... I will one day snorkel this bay if it is calm but it can be rough and I have heard that some fishermen have drowned there. There is also a dangerous Machineel Tree there which you should not stand under when it rains.

Also visited Batteau Bay whilst having a drink at the Blue Waters Inn ... didn’t get in the sea though.

A general point though ... I have noticed how much higher the sea is (and it wasn’t because of higher tides) ... Pigeon Point gives food for thought as a whole line of restaurants and bars have been replaced by the sea over the last 5 years and you can see where rocks and debris have been deliberately placed to strategically protect the beach ... the long strip down to Cable Bay now disappears at high tide.

The sea was also exceptionally warm this year compared to other years and like getting into a warm bath at night.

Regards
Paul Tallet
Public Relations Consultant for Mother Nature

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Re: Beaches / Snorkelling ... 2009 Update

Post by SandraK » Tue Feb 10, 2009 5:52 pm

Dear Pete
Cheers, brilliant up date ! Had wondered how things would have changed since last year - erosion wise I mean - now I know. I will forgive the fact no rude bits were included.

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Re: Beaches / Snorkelling ... 2009 Update

Post by Paul Tallet » Tue Feb 10, 2009 6:46 pm

Uncut version of the Duck Tours review to come next Sandra :mrgreen:

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Re: Beaches / Snorkelling ... 2009 Update

Post by Gisela Grell » Thu Feb 12, 2009 12:39 pm

Hi Paul

I printed you post to take it with me. And I will ask Duck if he could bring me and my friends around to the mentiond beaches.
Looking forward for your Duck-video on youtube :D
Cheers
Gisela
a.k.a. Shorty
see some pics on http://www.gisela-grell.de

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Re: Beaches / Snorkelling ... 2009 Update

Post by Roger D. » Tue Feb 17, 2009 4:36 am

Paul: Another eloquent review, simply wonderful....Watch out for the Dancing girls I've hired with rum punches and all just for you. =D>

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Re: Beaches / Snorkelling ... 2009 Update

Post by Paul Tallet » Tue Feb 17, 2009 7:51 pm

Thanks Rog ... er, where's the party then?

Flights included? :mrgreen:

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Re: Beaches / Snorkelling ... 2009 Update

Post by Roger D. » Wed Feb 18, 2009 1:29 am

First Class on the "World's Favourite Airline" :lol:

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Re: Beaches / Snorkelling ... 2009 Update

Post by James_Cox » Thu May 07, 2009 10:55 am

As I will arive by ships just for 1 day what is the best beach near port (with in 5 miles) We did a taxi ride around island a few years ago.
james

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Re: Beaches / Snorkelling ... 2009 Update

Post by Steve Pitts » Fri May 08, 2009 4:19 pm

Hi James

Most of the cruise ship tours will head for Pigeon Point (approx 7 miles) and it can get very busy when a ship is in port

If you take a taxi along the Plymouth Road from Scarborough, Arnos Vale is around 5 miles or less (3.5 miles as the Mot Mot flies). It's usually pretty quiet and the snorkelling is good. There is somewhere to hire the gear if you fancy it and also you can get drinks and something to eat at the Arnos Vale hotel which is right on the beach.
A good place for seeing birds up close too, if you can spare the time at 4 o'clock.

Cheers
Steve
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Re: Beaches / Snorkelling ... 2009 Update

Post by Lisa Keith » Fri May 08, 2009 4:26 pm

Hiya,

Just to add to Steve's message above.... There's no longer a dive centre in Arnos Vale to hire equipment from (at least not right now - it could change between now and when you arrive.). I believe you can hire some equipment from the hotel itself, but am not sure on the price or the quality.

Lisa.

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Re: Beaches / Snorkelling ... 2009 Update

Post by James_Cox » Fri May 08, 2009 7:16 pm

Steve Pitts wrote:Hi James

Most of the cruise ship tours will head for Pigeon Point (approx 7 miles) and it can get very busy when a ship is in port

If you take a taxi along the Plymouth Road from Scarborough, Arnos Vale is around 5 miles or less (3.5 miles as the Mot Mot flies). It's usually pretty quiet and the snorkelling is good. There is somewhere to hire the gear if you fancy it and also you can get drinks and something to eat at the Arnos Vale hotel which is right on the beach.
A good place for seeing birds up close too, if you can spare the time at 4 o'clock.

Cheers
Steve

Thanks Steve
We just looking for beach with food and drinks. No snorkelling . Whats "spare the time at 4 o'clock. " ?

Will this be on the Carb side?
Ship Location: Tobago
Date: 12 Dec 2009
Arrival: 0800
Boarding: 1730
Departure: 1800



Thanks for your reply also Lisa

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Re: Beaches / Snorkelling ... 2009 Update

Post by Steve Pitts » Sun May 10, 2009 2:37 pm

[quote="James_Cox Whats "spare the time at 4 o'clock. " ?

Will this be on the Carb side?
Ship Location: Tobago
Date: 12 Dec 2009
Arrival: 0800
Boarding: 1730
Departure: 1800
[/quote]

Hi James

The Arnos Vale hotel is a popular venue for afternoon tea on the upper terrace at 4.00pm as the local birds are used to being fed during 'tea time' and many of the island's most colourful species come around for any left over cakes.
Proabably the most expensive cuppa on Tobago :shock: , but it's a lovely setting and an enjoyable way to end a day at Arnos Vale.

Cheers
Steve
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Re: Beaches / Snorkelling ... 2009 Update

Post by Paul Tallet » Sun May 10, 2009 6:58 pm

Yes ... and watch out for that cheeky parrot ... he consumes all the expensive tea bags for free ... it's a joke !!

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