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Dive Trinidad & Tobago
In order to help mitigate some of my nervousness, I decided to ask a friend of mine who was currently taking a scuba diving course if I could tag along with her on her certification dive. She was taking her course with Ron Tiah of Dive TNT -- clearly one of the best scuba schools on the island. Ron kindly allowed me to join his group today, and join them for two dives "down de islands."
The day started out promising -- there wasn't a cloud in the sky, and Ron is clearly a diving pro -- safety is his primary concern, immediately followed by ensuring that his divers have a good time. On both dives we did today, he prefaced each one with a thorough safety briefing, but also with a little bit of history and local lore about the area and dive sites. Three of my five diving companions were from overseas; however, because of Ron's thorough research, even I learned new bits of trivia about my homeland. Truly entertaining.
The only disappointment of the day came with the water clarity. Trinidad is located about 9 miles off the coast of Venezuela; and because of Venezuela's Orinoco river, a lot of algae ends up being deposited in the seas around Trinidad. The water, therefore was quite green -- great for attracting sea life (we saw many turtles, eels, lobsters and large fish), but horrible for visibility. Ron says that today's visibility is one of the best he's seen in months. I shudder to think. I'm told, however, that Tobago diving conditions are world's better -- some of the best in the world -- and conveniently, Ron runs an operation there, as well.
Still, mission accomplished -- I definitely feel much more comfortable about my skills as a result of today's dives, and am ready to hit the Undisclosed Location with considerable gusto. However, my recommendations for people thinking about diving in Trinidad & Tobago:
1) If you're interested in becoming PADI certified, and you happen to be in Trinidad & Tobago, you can't do better than Dive TNT. I've been diving all over the world, and Ron's group are extremely safety conscious, coupled with an enthusiasm and an easy-going attitude that is hard to beat. You'll love learning from them.
2) If, however, you're already certified, I'd skip Trinidad and take the 15-minute flight to Tobago, where dive conditions are much more favourable. That said, I'd still recommend you hook up with Ron -- you couldn't be in better hands.
*Undisclosed Location -- Stay tuned for our new feature, "Where's Walrond?" beginning on Friday. Over this coming weekend, I'll be posting clues and photographs for you to guess where I'm on holiday -- the first reader to guess correctly which city and country I'm in will win a prize direct from that location.