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Overland Underwater visits Tobago – November 2010

A group of 18 from the Overland Underwater Dive Club flew out to Tobago for a two week twin centre trip on 3rd November 2010. We had a real mix of divers with some having completed hundreds of dives whilst others were relatively inexperienced and one even completed her PADI Open Water Diver Certification whilst we were out there. We also had several non diving partners along for a couple of relaxing weeks in the sunshine.

We spent the first week in Crown Point, the main town in Tobago which is situated to the south west of the island. Here you have access to the dive sites on the Caribbean Coast which benefits from the influence of the Orinoco River, whose nutrient rich waters support an abundance of marine life with sheltered reefs of hard and soft corals, colourful sponges and a thriving fish population. For the more experienced this coast also boasts Tobago’s finest wreck, the Maverick, a former car ferry that was intentionally sunk in 1997 and lies in 30m. Unfortunately there had been tropical storms the week before we arrived which meant that the normally clear waters were somewhat murky for the first few days. However, visibility aside there was still lots to see and with water temperatures of 29°C it made for some very pleasant diving.

For the second week we transferred up to Speyside, a small village located at the remote Northern end of Tobago facing on to the Atlantic coast. Here you are situated on the edge of the rainforest with Goat Island and Little Tobago just off the coast making for some spectacular scenery. This part of the island is world famous for its spectacular drift dives and boasts the largest brain coral in the world, measuring over 5 metres across. Visibility had improved dramatically and we had some spectacular dives.

Out of the water we had an excellent two weeks too. Nick and Carolyn kept us all entertained with their comedy antics. Our resident naturalist David was in his element and had us all spotting exotic birds with his infectious enthusiasm. Sam and Mike did their best to investigate all the islands night life whilst the non diving contingency (aka the “Womens Institute”) kept us all organised with regular reconnaissance trips finding the best places to eat, etc.

Tobago is a great island with fantastic scenery, white sandy beaches, the legendary laid back Caribbean hospitality and some great diving. We would like to thank Extra Divers for looking after us while we were there and everyone who came along for making it a memorable trip. We would thoroughly recommend Tobago as a good value Caribbean destination with lots to offer.

2010 – A Review

Despite the general economic gloom 2010 proved to be another good year for Overland Underwater. Training has been as busy as ever. We have introduced over 100 people to the amazing underwater world via the “Discover Scuba” experience. Eighty two people became qualified divers by gaining the PADI Open Water Diver qualification and in addition about another 40 people completed the Open Water Diver referral course and then headed out to an array of exotic destinations to complete their open water dives and gain their qualification. Whether their training dives were completed here in the UK with us at Capernwray, or in some exotic location abroad, these divers have had the opportunity to enter a whole new world. For some diving will be an occasional holiday pastime. For others it will become a lifelong hobby, but for all we hope that it has been a positive and rewarding experience for everyone.

As well as learning to dive, our divers were keen to broaden their dive experience by continuing their training and completing the Advanced Open Water, Rescue Diver and Speciality training courses, with over 150 continuing education certifications issued by us in 2010. Taking your training past the Open Water Diver level opens up new opportunities to qualified divers and we are very pleased that so many have taken the opportunity to improve their dive skills and learn about different types of diving. Our most popular Speciality was Enriched Air with Drysuit Diver coming a close second. Peak Performance Buoyancy, Night Diver, Wreck Diver, Deep Diver and Digital Underwater Photographer were also popular choices.

As divers gain more experience some consider taking their diving further and gaining a professional qualification such as Divemaster or Instructor. In 2010 we were very pleased to train several new Divemasters and Instructors as well as helping some of our certified instructors to gain higher instructor qualifications.

As well as a busy year training, the highlight for us in 2010 was the opening of our new centre in Harrogate in March which is proving a great success. The Dive Club has gone from strength to strength with a successful trip to Egypt in June and Tobago in November as well as the regular UK trips to the Farnes, St Abbs and other destinations. The dive club gives members the chance to meet new dive buddies and some great friendships have been made in 2010. Our club members have been busy diving right through the 2010 dive season both on organised club trips and independently.

Lets hope that 2011 brings another good years diving for all of us!

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