Showing posts from August, 2020

Immortalised on the Money

On the occasion of the 58 th anniversary of independence, Faraaz Abdool presents the feathered icons of Trinidad and Tobago, through his photographs, with a plea for greater sensitivity to the wildlife that the islands sustain. Photos by Faraaz Abdool Here in Trinidad and Tobago, birds feature prominently on our coat of arms, currency and as emblems for many of our national organizations. Even a cursory glance leads one to realize that birds are everywhere – from the police to the postal service to the national airline. Such is the extent of birdlife within our twin-island republic that we are one of the few countries to have more than one official national bird! After hummingbirds, one of our well-known birds is the Scarlet Ibis. This wading bird certainly lives up to its name, attaining an almost unreal colour by the time it reaches maturity. As a family, ibises span the globe – but none are as brilliant as the Scarlet Ibis. These resplendent birds are an ecotourism beacon for

Vouch for Tobago and Trinidad

Anjani Ganase offers an idea for recreation and accommodation businesses in Tobago. She wonders whether customers are willing to pay forward for their next vacation, dive session or restaurant meal; and whether business owners might mount campaigns to sell future activities, online.   Over the next weeks, while most businesses are allowed to function as normal, those that we rely on mostly for our enjoyment, entertainment and rejuvenation are once again forced to close. Deemed non-essential, these businesses will receive another blow to their livelihoods. Even with our borders closed, we had for a certain time some privileges that allowed us to comfortably escape to our sister island, to the beaches, cinemas and restaurants. Now this luxury has come to an end with confirmation that we have community spread of the Covid 19 virus. Beaches, cinemas, dine-in restaurants are closed, and the air and sea bridge is restricted to essential travel. Summer staycations ha

Harvesting Blue Blood

So who donates this primary ingredient for medical research and the development of vaccines? Dr Anjani Ganase discusses our connections to the ancient horseshoe crab.   The horseshoe crab – if I want to be overly dramatic – is the most alien creature that I have ever come across. During my first year studying in Florida, we observed the gathering of horseshoe crabs along the water’s edge of a beach. From above, this crab looks like a mobile helmet without a body crawling slowly across; turn it over and, the wriggling legs around a mouth gives the appearance of a baby alien. Sometimes there is a micro biome of worms and other critters that infest the underside of the horseshoe crab.   The horseshoe crab is actually not a crab. Rather it is a close relative of spiders and scorpions. There are four species existing today; one species, the Atlantic horseshoe crab ( Limulus polyphemus ), can be found along the eastern coast of USA and along Mexico. The other three species are found

Snorkelling Adventures in Tobago

Around Tobago’s coast, riches abound. Dr Anjani Ganase encourages you to swim beyond the beaches to explore a world of corals and fish as rich as the rainforest.   Many people think that the only coral reef in Tobago is Buccoo Reef, but coral reefs line the rocky edges of most swimming bays around Tobago. All you need to explore the marine life is a mask, snorkel and a pair of fins. Wherever you head out to snorkel, make sure you look for submerged rocky areas that are found along the headlands of each bay; marine life tends to congregate and grow in these areas. Take a peek at the sand every so often to spot cryptic sand dwellers such as rays, flounders and even crustaceans that hide out in the sand. Here are some of my favourite snorkel sites for Tobago. Whirly Elkhorn Corals of Castara Bay. Photo by Jonathan Gomez   CASTARA REEF The best access to this reef is from Heavenly bay on the eastern side of Castara bay. This little bay is often visited by stingrays and reef fish.