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125 room budget all-inclusive hotel at Great Courland Bay (listing)
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Jean Oneil

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Post by Jean Oneil »

Have just returned home after a 10 night stay at the turtle beach hotel,i don't want to get into a debate as to how good or not good this hotel is, my concern is how safe is this beach. on our first night the security guard warned my husband and myself about letting our two children go unsupervised as he said it was a very dangerous beach, with very strong undercurrants , a very steep shelve and large waves i asked the security guard as to why there were no danger signs if the waters were not good for bathing, his reply was that it was bad for tourism. we travelled with thomas cook holidays and at reps meeting the following morning another family brought up there concerns over the safety of the beach, our rep advised us that if we wanted a safe bathing beach we should take a taxi to pigeon point where the water is suitable for bathing.on wednesday 19th oct. we along with several others discovered just how dangerous this beach is, my husband, son and daughter were walking along the waters edge [the sea was calm at the time] when without warning a large wave came in it knocked my husband off his feet, my daughter was carried backwards into the sea and my son was carried upwards by the wave[this wave was approx.10-12 feet high] my son then came crashing down on top of his sister, they were both very traumatised and my daughter was treated in hospital for a dislocated shoulder. we also learned that three other hotel guests suffered injuries that day , a lady who twisted her knee, a man with cuts and briuses to his arm, and another male who sprained his wrist. locals told us that their had been nothing unusual about the sea conditions that day. allthough on sunday16th and monday17th we were told that the sea was rougher than usual. has anybody else who has stayed at this hotel any comments about the safety of this beach? many thanks the oneil family

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Jill M
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Post by Jill M »

Hi,

We stayed there in April this year and last year and did not have any experience like this. How frightening for your children. I hope they are ok.

The beach was steep and a little awkward to get out of in places, but if you walked along the beach the slope was more gentle. We did not see any large waves or have to deal with under currents. Maybe it is the time of year ?

We went to Mexico at Christmas last year and people were saying the the beach had eroded a lot from when they visited previously. Obviously it was at the same time as the Tsunami and the sea did become rough even so far away.


Jill

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Post by Richard B »

We've been 3 times and generally preferred to swim in the sea even with the new pool.

It is made clear when you arrive that there is no life guard on the beach and that it is preferred you use the pool.

There was one day when my wife didn't come in with me as the sea was a tad choppy but usually we both went in and on the last trip we did take our 10 month old in with us on a couple of occassions without incident.

The waves break in one place but in a manner that makes entering and exiting a little tricky.

Our preffered method.

Enter : Wait for the right moment and then run like crazy into the water and dive over the breaker. It's not usually too high.

Exit : Wait just beyond the break point and the walk in with the wave then walk/run knees high through back wash out of the break point.

Once past the breakers the sea is fairly calm but as with all sea swimming stay where you can stand and keep an eye on the beach to stay on same sort of line.

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Steve Wooler
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Post by Steve Wooler »

Hi Jean

How terrible! However, I have to say that you day, sadly, experience freak conditions. Waves 10-12 feet high. Whilst not unknown are really the exception rather than the rule.

We had a similar post in the 'Sightseeing' forum concerning the cancellation of a catamaran tour last week, due to high swells. Our weather guru, Paul Tallet, mentioned that there had been local newspaper reports of extremely high surf breaking along the Caribbean coasts of both Trinidad and Tobago and which brought some flooding.

Erosion has resulted in the beach at the end of Rex Turtle Beach falling away quite dramatically and as a result the sea can really crash in at that point. I'm afraid that the seas everywhere around the world can take you by surprise. You must never turn your back on the ocean. Always keep one eye open for that rogue wave that can take you by surprise and hammer you into the bottom if you're caught unprepared.
Steve Wooler
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Post by Ronald »

I have to say some about what Richard did write about entering the sea when big waves is coming in. I´ve seen many, more custom with the sea in Greece or Spain, get in trouble in Tobago.

"Enter,..dive over the breaker"
That´s a bad idea, because some waves are powerful and very long. They might take you backward to the beach and you have the risk that they will turn you over and take you down to the bottom, and wet sand is VERY hard.
If you want to go out even if the sea is rough, dive deep under the breaker and keep swimming, than the wave will pass over you and make no problem.
"Exit, wait beyond the break point"
That´s OK but choose one of the smaller waves and follow the wave in, and get up on the beach as fast you can, do never walk slow.

And as Steve say, "keep an eye open for rough waves from the back" that´s very important.

Some years ago, maybe, 4-5 years, a canadian was on Store Bay Beach, the waves was about 1,5 metres so it wasn´t really extrem big ones, I had no problems with the sea. He went out for snorkeling without problems, when going back he did stop into the water for cleaning his mask. He was hit by a 1,5m wave in his back, fell forward into the water all they way to the bottom.
The life guards was already into the water, so they did take him up in a few seconds. He wasn´t breading at that time so they start work on him on the beach while others did call for an ambulance. The mans heart did stop but they managed to make it start again. By the time the ambulance did arrive his was breading by himself, but, his heart did stop again on the way to Scarborough and he did die at the hospital!

The Caribbean Sea can be very dangerous, sometimes big waves come in without any warning.
Ronald

Robert Oneil

thanx for replies

Post by Robert Oneil »

many thanks to all, for your replies about safety of the water at turtle beach. our main concern is their is no warning signs or lifeguards,in our opinion this is not a beach suitable for young families,
The O'Neil Family

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Paul Tallet
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Post by Paul Tallet »

It is true that few beaches in Tobago have warning signs ... I do recall a warning sign that was put up at Englishman's Bay last time I visited.

It is also true that 2 metre swells were reported recently ... but in the months of February, March and April high seas are common in Tobago along the north coast and they can be just as powerful.

I believe that it is right to put warnings signs in places like Englishman's and some parts of Turtle Beach where there is a deep shelf that can be dangerous even during calmer periods (i.e.' put the signs up where the dangers are not obvious).

Otherwise ... I sense that we should all be able to assess the state of what we see ... if there are heavy waves crashing on the beach then the necessary precautions should be taken ... we should all know our abilities and not take risks.

My family are all very strong swimmers and we like taking chances with the surf ... but as Ronald says, you should know how to tackle heavy surf and if unsure, avoid it.

If you want to try it ... watch others first and see how they handle the waves and make sure someone is watching you if you try ... but do not assume it is safe to go in the sea when there are no warning signs ... the sea is dangerous wherever it exists ... period !!

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Paul Tallet
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Post by Richard B »

Ronald wrote:I have to say some about what Richard did write about entering the sea when big waves is coming in. I´ve seen many, more custom with the sea in Greece or Spain, get in trouble in Tobago.

"Enter,..dive over the breaker"
That´s a bad idea, because some waves are powerful and very long. They might take you backward to the beach and you have the risk that they will turn you over and take you down to the bottom, and wet sand is VERY hard.
If you want to go out even if the sea is rough, dive deep under the breaker and keep swimming, than the wave will pass over you and make no problem.

Ronald
The problem at the Turtle is that the waves are not usually suitable to dive through in that you are usually standing in quite shallow water where they break and not many rear up enough to allow that. I would dive through prefereably too as you get wet quickly. It's just what I've found best on this beach. Mind you waves that are really big would be contraindicatory to swiming.

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