Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Exploring Divers Dream

High swells were rolling in as we set out to Divers Dream dive site. We climbed mountains and descended into valleys as the captain of the boat tried his best to cut the crests. Divers Dream is the dive site farthest from land, off the south-western point


Birthday girl: Aurora explores Divers Dream. Happy Birthday!

Mark Fraser

Despite the rough seas, we enjoyed moments when marine life appeared at the surface. A leatherback turtle broke the waves to gulp huge amounts of air before resubmerging. Flying fish skipped over the water in shoals.

At the dive site, we wasted no time in donning our scuba gear. The captain had to take a position well updrift of the dive site so that when we rolled overboard, the current would take us naturally just above its location.

We could see the swells rising over the reef site to higher heights. This was because of the presence of a shallow piece of water created by a plateau. This plateau rose to a shallow depth of about 25 feet (7.5 metres) at its highest point below the surface. It is on and around this plateau that the Divers Dream reef site is located.

Within minutes, we were rolling overboard and sinking into the deep. Our guide, Alvin Douglas, director of Frontier Divers Tobago Ltd, had prepared us for the extremely strong drift that is always present here, but to actually experience the dizzying speed of the current was another matter.

Taking photos posed a challenge because we could not manage hovering over any one point as the current persisted in taking us along.

We tried to follow the progress of a hawksbill turtle against the current but this proved to be an impossible feat. The turtle seemed to flaunt its ability as it placed one flipper onto a piece of coral and remained stationary. We failed

to achieve

the same and were taken along with the strong drift, out of the range of the turtle.

Divers Dream is a plateau out in the ocean, rising to showcase a gallery of hard coral formations. We could see why the site is called Divers Dream, in the myriad and diversity of marine life that colonise the reef.

A stingray swam in the opposite direction with ease as we were taken rapidly along with the drift.

This reef turned out to be one of the most beautiful and populous as shoals of fish of varying species crowded the reef. There was a plethora of grunts that sometimes seemed to be suspended where they were in the water. They always dispersed among the numerous barrel corals that dotted this reef as we approached.

There were numerous doctor fish, parrotfish,

queen angels and bicoloured damsel fish, the latter being one of my favourites because of its coloration that I call night and day.

As we moved near the deeper waters surrounding the plateau, one shark loomed into view. He however disappeared after a short while from whence he came. At Douglas’ bidding, we each gave the OK sign to reassure him that everyone was all right.

A visiting diver who accompanied us remained on the ready to capture lion fish, in the event that we encountered one, but he wasn’t going to be lucky today. Some days they would be present and some days, they just would not be found.

After an hour of exploration, we did our three-minute safety stop at 15 feet below the surface then rose to the high swells above. Those we had left on the boat were having a difficult time of it as the boat was tossed around.

We discarded and passed our gear, grabbed the ladder and reboarded as best we could, returning to land with a treasure trove of beautiful memories of our scuba dive at Divers Dream.

—Today, July 17, is Aurora’s birthday. Happy birthday to our Divers Dream scuba diver!