SPEYSIDE, Tobago – Enthusiastic divers convened at the Blue Waters Inn, Speyside on Sunday, July 22, 2012 for the launch of the third annual Tobago Underwater Carnival. Journalists from as far as Scandinavia, along with divers from Trinidad, made the journey to Tobago to explore the island’s unique and unrivaled marine habitat.

Coordinated by the Division of Tourism and Transportation, in collaboration with the Association of Tobago Dive Operators (ATDO), the Carnival is the highlight of the local dive calendar. An exclusive aquatic tour with some of the island’s best guides, it aims to raise the profile of the dive niche among locals and visitors alike.

Jesille Peters, Marketing Officer with the Division of Tourism and Transportation, welcomed all participants on behalf of the Division. As the officer responsible for the dive niche, Peters served as co-coordinator of the weeklong event. He expressed his pleasure at the turn out and encouraged the visiting divers to explore as much as they could both in the ocean and on land.

ATDO President and owner of the Aquamarine Dive shop, Alice Darwent, introduced the presenters: cinematographer, Peter Kragh; environmentalist, Michael David Jones and renowned underwater photographer, Ty Sawyer. Sawyer took the opportunity to share tips on shooting underwater in Tobago’s strong currents and he also outlined the parameters of the Angel Fish Photography competition that will require participants to photograph all six species of angel fish found in the island’s waters.

Chief Secretary of the THA, Orville London, was present for the reception, where he was able to meet the divers and converse with the presenters before the first official Tobago Underwater Carnival dive on the morning of July 23.

An intimate event for this very specific niche, the Carnival has attracted a colorful range of participants, from Trinidadian teens to returning, award winning photojournalist, Lill Haugen.

The Underwater Carnival has several interesting features for professional divers, novices and the curious alike. Seminars cover topics ranging from photography to underwater safety, and activities include crab racing and a screening of the movie, ‘Drop Zone’. The main affair for veterans as well as neophytes however, is the Try-Dive at the YMCA in Black Rock on July 25. The free event provides an introduction to dive session from 3:00 to 5:30 p.m. For more information, visit the Tobago Underwater Carnival website at www.tobagounderwatercarnival.com or call 639-2125 ext. 2219.

Photo credit: Oswin Browne