Showing posts from January, 2021

The Gulf of Abandoned Vessels

How many shipwrecks lie beneath the calm waters of our Gulf of Paria, from the Venezuelan side and Trinidad’s industrial west coast? Dr Anjani Ganase speculates on the effects of disintegrating vessels. She asks for some system to register and regulate ships in our waters, especially those that are likely to be abandoned here.                       Derelict vessel in the Gulf of Paria. Photo by Anjani Ganase     When you take the passenger vessel to Tobago, you will be familiar with the views of Trinidad’s coastline from the north-western Peninsula and along the north coast. You will also see, especially in the calm Gulf, a number of old vessels anchored or partially submerged, as   the ferry cruises by. As a marine biologist, I imagine the sea below the listing ship, I imagine a seabed littered with boat parts, garbage and seeping chemical waste from the hull. Consider that this is only a small section of the Gulf of Paria which is an industrial coast. One can’t help but wonder ho

Follow the Water

Hike the Main Ridge in Tobago. Take the Gilpin to Bloody Bay trail and immerse yourself in an authentic Tobago experience that allows insight into why the forested backbone is so vital to the health of the island. Dr Anjani Ganase follows some waterfalls to the sea.   The Tobago Main Ridge Forest Reserve was declared protected in 1776 for one reason – water. Guided by the findings of English scientist Stephen Hales, who noted the correlation between t rees and rainfall; Soame Jenyns, a member of the British Parliament, convinced the lawmakers that the main ridge traps the water so vital to Tobago’s fertility, climate and island ecology. Over two hundred years later the importance of the Tobago Main Ridge – more than ever – continues to hold true.                                                View of Bloody Bay at the end of the trail. Photo by Anjani Ganase       For many Trinis, Tobago is the island of sun, sand and sea, but if one ventures inland there

Talking Tourism in Tobago

Phill Diamond Williams is a Tobago entrepreneur, home grown and educated. He understands that what visitors want in Tobago is what Tobagonians want for themselves. One of the challenges is to validate the easy-going values-based Tobago way of life so that it remains the island offering that raises the bar in the tourism industry. He talks with Pat Ganase.   I grew up in Bon Accord. Both parents are from Bethel. I have one sister. My mother worked at the MK Hall School in Carnbee and I had lessons there. It was a model school and should never have closed.   At the age of 19 (2003), I went to Trinidad to the University of the Southern Caribbean (USC) to work towards a business degree. I completed the Bachelor’s and went on to an MBA which I achieved in 2010. I stayed to work at the USC, moving into the accounting department before I left in 2015.   I wanted to return to Tobago and build my own business. I started selling cars, foreign used and local used.

Protecting the Parrotfish

Dr Anjani Ganase, marine ecologist, explains the benefits of parrotfish for healthy coral reefs; and urges a ban on parrotfish harvesting. Better yet, we should choose to eat lionfish, and pass on the parrotfish.   While coral reefs are major habitat providers to an array of marine organisms, the ability of corals to continue to grow and provide their important functions is governed by a number of physical and biological parameters. Over the last fifty years, when coral reefs have suffered some of the worst degradations, scientists have discovered an important ally in keeping corals on coral reefs, the parrotfish. Parrotfish are common on coral reefs around the world. As herbivores, they spend their days grazing the reef surfaces for algae. A school of parrotfish can clear large tracts of the reef surface of algae. This action is crucial for new coral larvae to settle and grow to form new reef structure and is vital in the recovery of reefs following any disturbance that results in

Some Secret Birds of Tobago

As we step into 2021, let us commit to appreciating the incredible biodiversity of our islands, whether we understand all that exists here or not. Faraaz Abdool reveals some of Tobago’s unseen birds. For each bird one sees, there are several others that go undetected. Whether by camouflage, habit, or habitat, some species of birds have mastered the art of remaining unseen. Our hearts may be charmed by the Bananaquits and Blue-grey Tanagers. We may hold our breaths when we see the magnificent Ruby-topaz Hummingbird feeding on some nearby flowers. But what about the birds we aren’t lucky enough to feast our eyes upon? Nocturnal birds are often the sources of the mystery sounds and fleeting shadows of the night. Many of these birds are more often heard than seen. Take the mournful wail of the Common Potoo for example. This bird’s descending whistle stirred such emotion that it inspired its local name: poor-me-one. Common Potoos can be found throughout forests on Trinidad and Tobago