Tobago has only 6% of Trinidad and Tobago's land area, and 4% of its population, but it has the beaches and coral reefs which are mostly lacking in Trinidad. For this reason, many visitors, especially those from Europe, fly straight into Tobago and don't ever stop in Trinidad, not even at the airport. I did enter through Trinidad, but because I was also leaving through Trinidad I figured it would be less hassle to go first to Tobago for six days and then fly over to Trinidad to spend my last four days. Doing an inter-island flight immediately before an international flight is one concern I was happy to do without.
The coral reefs of Tobago, particularly at Buccoo, were the main attraction to me, but Fate was to play an unfortunate trick on me. For the second time in four years I found myself with a flooded underwater camera. I did this also in the Solomon Islands, but whereas that time the accident happened on the last dive of the trip, this time it happened on only the third dive, with only the second roll of film. The underwater camera I use has rubber o-rings to keep water out. These o-rings need to be cleaned and lightly greased every time the camera is opened, and any tiny amount of grit or beach sand on an o-ring is enough to allow water to enter the camera. I did noticed a slight difficulty closing the back of the camera before the fatal event, and maybe this is a clue that something was wrong. Regardless, once salt water enters the camera it's "hasta la vista", and although theoretically the camera can be rebuilt, at $US800 it costs the same amount to buy a new camera.
As it turns out, there was plenty of other stuff on Tobago to keep me interested. It's well worth driving a car around the island's coast, at least if you're not nervous about driving on very twisting and narrow roads. The appropriately named Windward Highway along the south-east coast has plenty of viewing points where you can watch the deep blue waves smashing against the rocky shore. The road along the north-west shore is quieter and a little less scenic, though there are still great views down from the road onto the villages of Parlatuvier and Castara. As well as driving along the coast, it's also worthwhile to seek out the inland sights, which includes several waterfalls, and trails in the Tobago Forest Reserve, in the northern half of the island.
I came here more for the wildlife than the scenery, and it worked out pretty good for me. My herpetological leanings pushed me to start my Great Trinidad and Tobago Snake Hunt here, comforted in the knowledge that none of the snakes are poisonous, at least on Tobago . There were also a nice selection of lizards, with particularly rich variety at Buccoo Lagoon and Buccoo Beach. The caimans (a type of crocodile) made for an interesting visit to the local drinking water reservoir. The birdlife was also a delight, with a good mixture of seabirds and jungle birds. Finally, there were the insects, in particular, butterflies, dragonflies and damselflies, spiders and leafcutter ants.