Trinidad and Tobago Scuba
This reef is shallow enough for snorkelers and
glass-bottomed boats, but is also used as a dive site. It
is located just off Goat Island, where Ian Fleming, author
of the James Bond 007 novels, used to own a house.We start
this dive on a flat area of the reef, where the Japanese
Gardens ends. The current starts out slow, but as we move
down towards the slope we move into the main stream and
begin to pick up speed. As we continue, we start to see
little grooves and canyons in which the fish hide. Tangs,
sergeant majors, trumpet-fish and Spanish hogfish all call
this reef home.
All skill levels. 50 to 60 ft.
This site, also called Kelliston Drain (if done on
the deep side), just off Little Tobago, features both hard
and soft corals, but mostly the latter. Barracuda and
trunkfish are common here. What is believed to be the
world's largest brain coral calls this reef home. It is 16
feet in diameter, almost the size of a small house.
November through June, you can experience Tobago's famous
encounters with the elusive manta ray. This site is one of
their regular hot spots. It is a gently sloping reef with
fairly consistent mild currents, usually flowing north.
Fish calling this reef home include: creole wrasse, black
durgeon, angelfish and tiger grouper.
50 to 60 ft.
Sometimes, the northernmost end of the Cathedral
reef is dived as another site called Flying Manta.
It all depends on where you enter the water and where the
currents take you. Beware of an area to the northwest of
Little Tobago known as the "washing machine." The swirling
currents create a whirlpool effect making it a dangerous
dive. Do not consider diving this area unless you are
accompanied by an experienced local divemaster.
50 to 60 ft.
Black Jack Hole
Black Jack Hole is a sloping reef that runs from the
southwest corner of Little Tobago to Coral Gardens
(also known as Kelliston Drain Reef). The site is
named for the abundant schools of black jacks and chromis
that call the area home. Apparently attracted by the
whirlpool of currents here, a family of dolphins is a
frequent visitor. Playful antics and joyous merriment best
describe the activities of these fascinating animals.
Known inhabitants include: black durgeon, southern serrat,
chromis, boga, sharks, rays, and dolphin. Green moray
eels, black tip sharks, purple and gold creole wrasses
make for lots of photo opportunities.
Intermediate to Advanced. 50 to 60 ft.
This site gets its name from the sea whip corals which
resemble Japanese bonsai trees. It seems almost as if a
Japanese artist sat down and painted his royal garden.
This site features many hard and soft corals. It is a
shallow sloping reef that begins at 30 ft and tumbles down
gracefully to 100 ft. Just when you are sure that your
leisurely visit is complete, we encounter the "Kamikaze
Cut." The current picks up speed and you come barreling
down towards two huge boulders, sure that the coming
impact will spoil your day. But wait, you discover that a
crevasse has been cut through the rocks and you pass
between them, slow down, and find yourself returned to the
calm and tranquil waters of Tobago. Nurse sharks, large
barracudas like to hang out near the small caves at this
site. There are large brain corals and large schools of
jacks. Ian Fleming, author of the James Bond 007 novels,
owned a house near here, on Goat Island.
Beginner to Intermediate. 50 to 60 ft.
This site has beautiful coral formations and little
current. Manta rays, tarpon, and barracuda are schooling
fish frequently found here. This site is for beginners
Two stately nubs of black granite break through the
surface providing the classic set of Bookends, but also
make for rough surface conditions, which classify this
dive as intermediate in difficulty. To start, you pass
between the rocks into a large bowl, which is about 35
feet deep. It accommodates about 10 divers. Look up and
you will see the waves breaking over the bowl. It looks
very similar to storm clouds passing overhead. Don't be
surprised if you see what looks like a large airplane
shooting across, it's just a tarpon. A school of the large
fish has claimed this turf as their own. As you continue
to drift at about 50 feet, you will also see jacks,
parrotfish, trumpetfish, and grouper that live among the
giant barrel sponges. The mild current propels you along a
gentle sloping wall. The current seems to tease you by
drawing you into deeper water.
Intermediate to Advanced. 50 to 60 ft.
If the idea of wind blowing through your hair excites you,
then the Alps are for you. There is no skiing here but
plenty of current and great diving. Huge mountain-like
formations give this locale its name because it resembles
a view of the Alps. Outstanding underwater mountain peaks
seem ready for skiers. The currents are strong and
unpredictable. Don't be surprised if bubbles descend
before beginning to rise. We begin this dive with a swim
through an Alpine mountain-like passage. This site is just
on the other side of Bookends. It attracts many reef fish
and invertebrates. You will see tangs and parrotfish as
well as many gray and French angelfish. Tarpon and sharks
are also found here occasionally.
This site just south of Little Tobago Island features a
knife edge ridge of coral covered volcanic rock barely
breaking the surface, coral covered slopes, and canyons
with an abundance of fish. Marine life featured at this
site include: blue head wrasse, rainbow runners, green
morays and African pompanos.
This reef has it all from shear walls and long slopes to
level plains and striking canyons along with abundant
This site is loaded with fish, which explains its name. It
features black durgeon, glassy eyed snapper, and angelfish
to name only a few of the species found here. It's a
spectacular drift dive. This reef is very versatile. The
gently sloping area of the reef is perfect for
navigational training. Depths start as shallow as 12 ft
and go all the way down to 150 ft. But look out for those
changing currents. There are other interesting areas of
this site to explore too. Rocky overhangs and ledges
marked by two rocks further out on the reef create a
beautiful marine habitat.
All skill levels.
Because of the rough surface conditions, this site is
reserved for intermediate to advanced divers and, even
with this restriction, is visited only when weather
conditions permit. Large pelagic fish, nurse sharks,
barracuda, black and crevalle jacks, tarpon, mackerel,
moray eels, lobsters and mantas frequent this area. The
dive is along a slope with a rocky bottom and plenty of
hard corals. Even on a bad day there is an abundance of
Intermediate to Advanced.
London Bridge Rock
The forces of the ocean designed a natural arch bridge
amidst the swirling currents off Charlotteville, on the
north-west coast of Tobago, a porthole to a new dimension.
Until you have experienced London Bridge you have missed
out on the island's alter-ego. The natural rock arch
crowns a large ocean pinnacle which rises up from a depth
of 100ft. Dive groups may ride the surging rapids in a
single file through the porthole arch, then drop with the
drift and enter a cosmic realm reminiscent of mountains of
the moon! After a mystical period of hovering in the open
water, one then drops to 80 ft and rides the prevailing
current around canyons and folds of the pinnacle base.
Visiting this dive site depends on the weather. When you
arrive the dive master will determine if the conditions
(waves, surge and current) will make the dive through the
arch safe. The arch is covered with colonies of brain and
star corals. Sponges make their home on the vertical walls
while tangs, angelfish, trunkfish and trumpetfish lay
claim to the waters at the mouth of the arch. This rocky
reef is also home to moray eels, lobster and schools of
Intermediate to Advanced Dive. 35-55 ft.
This site, named for the sharks frequently found here, has
sweeping currents and offers abundant and varied marine
life. Many divers are attracted by the need to
occasionally swim into the current at this site.
We usually plan this as an early dive because the rough
surface conditions usually worsen during the day, and it
is a deep dive. Vertical walls with striking overhangs and
drop-offs create an interesting underwater seascape
featuring abundant marine life.
Intermediate to Advanced. 100 ft.+
Caribstu Dive Sites
Black Jack Hole Speyside
A stunning fringing reef which starts with a crest at 9m and drops down a
steep slope to a sand bed at 30m. The reef is fullest around the 12 - 19m
region where schools of reef fish such as Creole wrasse, Brown Chromis, Bogas
and Black Jacks are teaming. Predatory fish such as Rainbow runners and
Barracuda are also common. The dive site is a good introduction to drift
techniques as currents here vary from slack to medium. The reef itself is
about 90% coral cover made mostly of Mountainous boulder corals, blushing star
corals, low relief lettuce corals and a variety of tube sponges, sea plumes
and rods. At the deeper region the reef is mostly barrel sponges and sea whips
that stretch out into the blue.
I named this site Favourite simply because I could dive it everyday and
still love it. We begin at 30m at the bottom of a steep sloping reef. Here are
barrel sponges, octocorals and gorgonians. The fish life is abundant and
pelagic common. Halfway through the dive we ascend to 17m and find a rock wall
full of cracks and perfect for macro species. The wall leads us onto a reef
plateau at 8m where a forest of sea plumes await. A good place to begin
offgasing. The three different types of topography and distinct change of
coral species for each is what makes this dive truly wonderful.
Mount Irvine Wall, Mt Irvine
This is actually a shallow dive really and not the kind of drop off you
associate with Roatan wall dives for example. It's 15m and follows a rock
headland around into Mt Irvine Extension reef. The Wall is full of cracks
holes and crevasses that are home to octopi, frogfish and macro species. A
great place to take a long slow dive and search for those shy elusive beauties
to photograph. Go too fast and you'll miss everything. I've also seen big
stuff her too.
This is a dive site where the reef is large enough to dive it several
different ways without covering the same ground. I call them Cathedral High,
Cathedral Deep and Cathedral Out. Overall the reef is a wonderful mix of 90%
sponges and coral cover. Layers of disc and plate corals make beautiful shapes
and perfect hiding places for spotted drums and the like. Up on top you'll see
massive stag horn formations. Day or night this dive site can match any in the
Cove Ledge, Crown Point
This is a backside reef ledge that site behind the main Cove reef and runs
perpendicular to the strong current. It's shallow, the ledge crest is 4m and
the sand bottom around 12- 14m but it makes for a fantastic dive. You drop
down and hide behind the ledge as the current whips overhead. There's often
some serious fin work to be done but the pay off is well worth it. I shall say
Hide and Seek, Charlotteville
A reverse profile dive. The reef is seemingly innocuous at first, mostly
plumes and hard corals and quite patchy. Then the current starts to take you
and you're gently carried around a rock headland where the bottom is mostly a
sand bed with patches of turtlegrass. There are dozens of bombies and rock
outcrops which are scattered across the sea bed and make for great
exploration. Shark encounters are frequent. The reef gets deeper toward the
end and eventually falls away. Not the expansive reef and coral cover of
Speyside but a great dive none the less.
Kelleston Drain, Speyside
Currents carry you along the edge of a coral plateau with a channel of deep
blue water to your side. A rich and varied coral garden makes up the sloping
reef you traverse and you can spot big stuff out in the blue. It's a dive site
where if current permits you can sit in one spot and watch the marine world go
by. However Kelleston Drain is most famous for the Big Brain Coral
which sits at the end of the dive in 15m. Some 6m diameter and 5m in height
its possibly the largest in the world.
Japanese Gardens, Speyside
A stunningly beautiful coral garden that starts at 12m and drops down steeply
to below 40. Currents carry you gently around the south side of Goat island
until you reach a reef ledge at 14m where things pick up dramatically. You
whip round three large bombies and the reef ledge drops away to your side.
Here it can get tricky as you often encounter a strong down current. Past the
bombies you meet Kamikaze Cut, a thrilling feature where you traverse a 15m
wide sand channel against an oncoming current. The other side of the cut are
some caves to look in and then the current drops to a gentle relax drift dive.
A good chance to spot Nurse sharks in the many small caves or eels poking out
from their holes.
Arnos Vale, Arnos Vale
Similar to Mount Irvine a rock headland is the formation of this reef. It's
shallow starting at 9m and maxing out at 16m but it's a reef where you need to
go slow or you'll miss everything. There's a narrow gully 2m wide and 15m deep
that is the main feature. Take your time look in all the holes and cracks,
there are all kinds of things to find. Down side is this reef is only really
dive-able when the water is flat or it becomes too turbid, but when its good
it's a beauty.
Stingray Alley, Crown Point
It's a long fringing reef made of hard corals and mountainous limestone
formations. A steep slope from 4m down to the sand bed at 16m. Here currents
carry you along and your likely to encounter big morays as well as passing
pelagic species. To end the dive head up onto the reef crest at 5m where stag
corals and sea fans hide more surprises. Admittedly it's not the most
spectacular coral reef but the dive is well worth it.
This it the outer seaward side to a long bank reef. Bookends being the inner
side. It's a low pitched reef starting at 11m and gradually dropping to 26m.
very open and flat but there's so much to see here. You need to keep one eye
in the holes and cracks, one eye on the deep blue to your side and one
eye�.you get the idea, there's a lot going on. To end the dive you head up
toward the crest where several large bombies make great hiding spots for
macro, lobster and even big fish. The current picks up and carries you around
the outer edge where suddenly the reef drops away, here barrel sponges encrust
the sides of the bombies and shoaling fish duck out the way of the current.
Snap, Crackle & Pop, Speyside
Another one of mine. I named it so because of the noises from snapping shrimp,
filtering sponges and general marine activity. Research on GBR showed the
noisiest reefs have the most life and this is proof of that. Imagine highgate
cemetery underwater, now imagine a coral reef that looks like that. That's
Snap, crackle & Pop. The colours here are something else and there is so much
variety of marine life to see. If the currents too strong it's hard to stay on
the reef but otherwise it's a real cracker.
Extra Divers Dive
Cove Reef is a fringing reef that mainly consists of sponges and hard corals.
The reef flat starts in 10 meters and is sloping gently down to 25 m. It is
one of the deeper reefs in the South. With its numerous crevices and caves it
is the perfect hideaway for lobsters, moray eels and nurse sharks. The typical
Caribbean variety can also be found here: grouper, trumpet fish, rays, trunk
and trigger fish, turtles and barracudas are dwellers on Cove Reef.
Flying Reef is one of the most popular reefs in Tobago. Because of its length
of some kilometers and depth of only 16 meters it is suitable for beginners
and advanced divers. A forest of soft corals and enormous sponges dominate the
under water scenery - and whoever thinks that is not enough - should have a
look at the vast variety of different reef fish such as triggerfish,
stingrays, moray eels, rainbow parrotfish, angelfish, butterfly fish,
porcupine fish, turtles and much more.
This reef is located between Flying Reef and Divers Dream. Also here we are
exposed to strong currents, but one can easily avoid it by diving just under
the ledge of the reef. Big nurse sharks, barracudas and stingrays are
frequently seen here. An encounter with other big fellows such as bull sharks
or tiger sharks is possible.
Divers Dream is a plateau, roughly 5 km offshore. The top of the reef is as
shallow as 6 m and slopes down to a depth of 25 m. Beautifully covered
boulders are found in this area, attracting an huge amount of barracudas,
snappers, giant parrotfish and triggerfish. Being such an exposed dive site
you also find nurse sharks, eagle rays and reef sharks.
R&Sea Diver's Company
Kariwak and Bopez are favorites for training dives and night
dives. Both are shallow, sloping reefs with minimal current so they're great
for new divers or those looking for nice easy dives with lots to see.
Flying Reef and Flying Reef Extension are both drift dives at
the south end of the island. A 10 minute boat ride from our facility at Pigeon
Point brings you round to the Southern Atlantic where the prevailing currents
drift you along the reef from east to west. Sting Rays and the smaller
Electric Rays can often be seen resting in the sand on the edge of the reef.
Majestan probably has more Lobsters per square meter than any other
reef around Tobago, but, they're for viewing only and are not destined to be
covered in Garlic Butter. Nurse Sharks and Sting Rays also like to chill out
here. COVE CRACK is a site that deserves special mention for the myriad
species you are likely to encounter on any given dive. The fish life is
particularly prolific on this site; schools of fast moving Creole Wrasse, the
slower Bermuda Chub tend to stake their territory and not move very far,
Barracuda patrol the reefs keeping a wary eye on any intruders (such as a
Diver's Dream and Diver's Thirst are aptly named sites for the
more experienced divers. Conditions must be right to experience these dives
because of the strong tidal currents that can sweep the area off the southern
tip of the island. The ledges on the sites are perfect hiding places for Nurse
Sharks and Turtles. Eagle Rays are often to be seen gliding through the area
and Black Tip Sharks are not unusual visitors here.
Mount Irvine Extension
Mt. Irvine Extension starts off with huge coral boulders at a depth of around
8 meters. A few minutes into the dive the scenery turn into a massive coral
reef that offers shelter to a variety of creatures like lobsters, giant crabs,
octopus and scorpion fish. In the blue water above the reef you might see
tarpons, cobies and eagle rays. Some groupers are strolling between a school
of big eyes.
The ferry Scarlett Ibis was sunk in 1997 for diving purposes. The 70
meter long ship which was renamed the Maverick is sitting upright on a
sandy bottom at a maximum depth of 30 meters. In her years under water she has
put on a beautiful coat of corals and sponges. Schools of bait fish find
shelter in the huge belly of the ship wreck. Jacks are attracted by this never
ending stock of prey.
Mount Irvine Wall
With only 15 m max. depth in the protected bay of Mt. Irvine, the Wall is an
easy but extremely interesting dive site. The steep cliff with beautiful
canyons, cracks and ledges is the home of large groups of schooling fish, like
surgeonfish or triggerfish. With some luck one might find a seahorse or short
nose batfish. Caribbean angelfish and parrotfish will round this colorful
under water picture off.
Heading north we will reach the rock formation of the Sisters, some 5
pinnacles coming up from more than 40 meters depth. A beautiful covered and
bizarre underwater scenery makes the Sisters a memorable dive. In overhangs
and caves you find not only lobster but also stingrays and nurse sharks.
Depending on the season and current a school of hammerhead sharks can be seen
here. The Sisters are fully exposed to the wind and open sea so that it can
only be dived in good weather conditions.
One of the dives, in which you can see the vast variety of marine life in
Tobago waters. After descending into the "fish soup" you will drift towards "
Kamikaze Cut" and once passed, you are diving through four different zones of
underwater scenery. A dive second to none.
This dive is famous for the huge brain coral which you will see towards the
end of this challenging dive. We are starting in a sheltered bay on a shallow
plateau from where the current will take us to the deeper water. The nutrient
rich water allows a luxuriant growth of sponges and soft coral. Big schools of
Creole wrasse and jack fish are always there. Even nurse sharks and giant
green moray eels are frequently seen.
Bookends got the name from strangely shaped rocks coming up to the surface.
Depending on the current this may be a quiet difficult dive site. A natural
amphitheatre invites you to look at nurse sharks and turtles not to forget
about the huge tarpons, like monuments in the blue water.
Experience Dive Sites
The diving in Tobago is little known by the rest of the world, but recent
reviews in Sport Diver and other diving magazines seem to be raising the
profile of this small caribbean island. The Speyside area has some of the best
diving in the Caribbean for the more adventurous diver, whilst the South-West
has much more easy diving for the more casual diver.
The South West of the island has several good reefs and wrecks to visit, and
are in general very easy and calm dives. We also teach BSAC, NAUI and SSI
schools, so whichever path you choose, should you want training, we have an
instructor to cover it.
Columbus Passage Dive Sites
This is a divemaster's favourite.
It has a maximum depth of 60 feet and has the potential for strong drifts.
Maximum depth is 80 feet. Known for its strong drift and is recommended to the
Located on the Atlantic side of the island, this dive starts in 35 feet of
water with maximun depth of 50 feet. On this drift dive one is more likely to
see stingrays, moray eels, turtles, sharks and reef fish.
Located on the Atlantic sde, this dive has a maximum depth of 70 feet.
Western North Coast Dive Sites
Mt. Irvine Wall
Located on the Caribbean side of the island, this short wall dive has very
little drift. Entry depth is 30 feet with maximum depth of 45 feet.
This wreck dive is in 100 feet of water, approximately 70 feet tall and 200
feet wide. This is a "diver friendly" wreck.
Arnos Vale, Culloden
Central North Coast
Speyside Dive Sites
Bookends, Black Jack Hole
Keileston Drain/Coral Garden
This is known as home to the largest brain coral in our region.
It has an entry depth of 40 feet and maximun depth of 60 feet A dive site most
definitely worth the trip.
This dive site is rated one of the best in Tobago.
While it is known for its strong drift it is also known for its great
visibility. Maximun depth 60 feet.
Hammerhead Central, Sisters, Two Blokes Reef, Scotch on the Rocks, Castara,
King Peter's Bay, Culloden Reef, Arnos Vale Reef, Mt. Irvine Wall, Maverick
Wreck, Mt. Irvine Extension, 1720 French Wreck, Rainbow Reef, Kariwak Reef,
Flying Reef, Cove Reef, Runway, Diver's Dream, Diver's Thirst and Kioto
Wild Turtle Dive
Easy dive - Caribbean side - 10 mins from shop - max depth 60 ft.
Mt. Irvine actually has three dive sites, the "Wall" is a shallow 30ft
dive close to shore interesting for the crevices where Moray Eels, Rock
Lobster and Spiny Crabs live.
Mt. Irvine Extension is a deeper dive site following the outcropping
rocks of Mt Irvine Bay, Large Grouper, Snapper and Hawksbill Turtles enjoy
this beautiful reef which is big enough for several dives. A favorite visitor
is the Spotted Eagle Ray, Although they tend not to approach divers they do
circle and are often seen in pairs.
Rainbow Reef is in the center of Mt Irvine Bay 50- 70ft, the reef is so
named because of the schools of Rainbow Runner seen here, there is also a
large fisherman's type anchor possibly 17th century wedged upright as if to
stop a ship running aground.
Intermediate dive slight current - Atlantic side - 15 mins from shop - max
depth 70 ft most of dive in 40 ft.
Cove reef is located on the southern Atlantic side of the Island, cove has two
reefs a shallow 35-50ft ledge which is a favorite with Turtles, Nurse and Sand
sharks, also large Cubera snapper enjoy the protection of the small caves and
coral run throughs. The area has large schools of reef fish and resembles a
gold fish bowl. Because of the shallow depth the dive tends to last up to an
hour and is a very relaxing slight drift dive. The deeper side of Cove drops
from 35 to 70ft and has a beautiful healthy coral reef full of sea fans barrel
sponges and Stag horn corals. On occasion, huge Jew fish can be seen passing
in and out of the Stag Horn coral and large schools of Bermudan Chub cruise up
and down the reef.
Intermediate dive with current - diver stay above 70 ft - 10 minutes from
shore - located at Speyside.
Dropping into 35ft the diver finds the edge of the reef sloping down to 50ft,
this area is full of soft corals and barrel sponges, Black Durgon fish are
plenty full here too. The reef gets steeper with a pronounced edge and becomes
more rocky and Large schools of Barracuda patrol the edge. Towards the end of
the dive we come across Tobago's "Brain Coral" reported to be the largest in
the world; it is indeed very impressive, in excellent condition and still
Intermediate dive - Caribbean side - 10 mins from shop - max depth 100ft.
Lying in 100ft of water is the wreck of the M.V Maverick, once a passenger
ferry between the twin islands of Trinidad and Tobago. The Scarlet Ibis as it
was then called served for many years before being replaced with a bigger
The top of the Wreck is 55ft and decent is down a line attached to the bow
usually passing though a school of bait fish with Bonito fish darting in and
out upon reaching the bow "Jacob "a resident Jew fish comes to greet the
divers, weighing approx. 150lbs he is an impressive host to the ships tour.
Because of the depth the dive usually lasts 30-35 mins and it is possible to
penetrate the ship even as far as the diesel engine rooms. Reef building
crabs, sennet fish and clams add to this interesting dive site.
4 miles off the southern coast of tobago is one of the premier diving spots on
the island. Divers Dream is a plateau with the Top being in 6mtr/20ft has a
maximum depth of 25mtr. There is nothing around it but deep water so all the
fish go there. Everything there is big and in large schools. Sharks and Turtle
+ Ray sightings are almost guaranteed. A very nice place and exiting dive.
Caution this is intermediate dive and one must be comfortable in strong
Another fast paced dive off the southern coast of the island.
18-25mtr./60-80ft. Seems to be a series of faults or cracks along the see
floor that (harbours) encourages large schools of fishes. Large Sharks and
pelagies can be seen here. This divesite is a favorite of the divemasters and
they don't hesitate to do this when conditions allow Advance dive.