Tobago. More like Tobastop what you’re doing and book a flight here.
If like me, you had no idea what liming meant, it’s a local word for chilling out and it was something best done on the many beaches on Tobago.
Englishman’s bay was reached by the beautiful mountainous road through the island’s interior. We passed through lots of villages until we came around a corner where we could look down onto the canopy with steam rising from the jungle. Then, the icing on the cake, we saw the bay with its turquoise waters, white sand and palm trees leaning over the beach. It was the typical image of paradise. There’s a small restaurant with good food and apart from that there’s nothing but beach. Oh, and little crabs which scurry into their holes when they see you, Brendan got well acquainted with the little crustaceans on his recovery day from a night at the rum bars. By the end of the day he was one of them, at one with the crabs. On both visits to this beach, we spent most of our time snorkelling and taking photos. Barracuda and squid were some of the coolest things we saw, but there were a lot more, most of which I don’t know the names of.
Talking of aquatic life, when taking the ferry over to Tobago (which is surprisingly comfortable and accommodating), we saw dolphins wake riding which was an amazing sight at sunset. Regarding the ferry, some advice. Try and get it sorted early on, especially if you’re taking a car and your dad is the most impatient man in the multiverse when dealing with customer services. The ticket offices aren’t particularly helpful and it did cause some anguish to say the least.
Our other favourite spot was Stonehaven beach. Our first visit was to take advantage of 2 for 1 cocktails at happy hour. The cocktails were amazing and the deal was used to an almost ridiculous extent. Following the consumption of an ocean’s worth of strawberry daiquiris we had a decent meal, watched an incredible sunset and to top it all off, turtles hatching on the beach right by the bar. We didn’t go swimming here but enjoying the views of the beach with a cocktail or two in your hand can’t be argued with.
Note: We also went to Pigeon point for a snorkel and a swim but the amount of people and the lack of anything to see was a bit disappointing. The snorkelling tour we took was to Buccoo reef, but in fact we spent most of the time on a sand bar which had about half a metre of water, so that the locals could just lime and chat and much less time at a better snorkelling spot.
Every summer on the beaches around the island these crazy concerts take place all the way through the night. Ours started at 10pm at Pigeon point and went on until at least 6am. This is where the wining came in. This is a dance that my untrained eye can only described as very enthusiastic twerking but on someone’s crotch. It may have crept into lyrics without you even realising it, Sean Paul for example, loves to say incomprehensible things with ‘wine’ interspersed nicely throughout his songs. Sorry Sean but what are you saying?
Soca, the main music of Trinidad and Tobago also uses this word a great deal. However, the most obvious characteristic of Soca, when we heard it on the radio at least, was the omnipresent air horns. Are they an instrument? I’m inclined to say no, but who am I to judge?
In terms of music, we had a lot of big stars from all over the Caribbean of whom I had only heard of 2. Designer, famous for the Panda song, went so hard on stage and subsequently off stage and into the crowd (to the annoyance of his bodyguards), that he vomited and had to finish there. Popcaan was the main act and everyone knew the words to all his songs and could actually understand what he was saying which is more than I can say.
Finally, some honourable mentions to the guy that sang ‘sneeze on my haters like dab’ song which was incredible at the time but now in hindsight we have realised its maybe not the lyrical masterpiece that was previously thought. There was also Elephant man. No, not the Victorian man with the congenital disorder resulting in bodily deformities. Although, that would have been a turn up for the books if he was found over 100 years later playing a DJ set on a beach in Tobago. It’s something I’d pay to see but feel is a little farfetched to ever occur. Thanks mortality. Instead there was the Jamaican dancehall artist by the same name whose performance was memorable mainly due to the massive fire hoses that were sprayed onto the crowds.
In the village of Roxborough there is a hike up through the forest until you reach a set of waterfalls which you can walk to the top of. Warning. Like most tropical forests out there, pretty much everything wants to hurt you and this was no exception. Needle like thorns were all over the place. After dodging the majority of the trees and vines that were reminiscent of Mother Nature’s overenthusiastic attempt to make barbed wire, we arrived at the top waterfall where the locals were just starting to leave. We were showed that it was a very deep plunge pool and so we had a swim and jumped off a tree into the murky water. After having our fair share of fun at the waterfall we returned down the track. I was forced to go barefoot due to a poor choice in footwear, it turns out flip flops don’t hold up very well on a hike. Who knew?
It’s not all about size. I would know.
By that of course, I mean I’ve been to both islands and Tobago packs a punch for its small area. It’s an incredible little island and there is lots of fun to be had exploring it.