As I foreshadowed in the TnT teaser post (here), we had to be off by 5 am so that we could drive across the island to Nariva Swamp. We did stop for doubles again (yay!) plus we had our nice boxed breakfast from Thanna’s. Oh, as well, we had to take all of our luggage with us since we would be flying to Tobago in the afternoon.
We were aiming to get to the coast and the swamp as early as possible. Which means we were treated to this along Manzanilla Bay:
We headed a bit further down the road to Nariva Swamp. Nariva Swamp is the largest swamp in Trinidad and Tobago. This swamp is different from Caroni, in that it is a freshwater swamp. It is actually inland from the coast, and some of it is separated from the Atlantic by coconut plantations (hence the photo op above!).
Nariva has a complicated history of protection, sustainable use and illegal use; it is designated as a “Wetland of International importance” by the Ramsar Convention. One of the areas within the swamp’s borders is Bush Bush Island, which has many interesting species of plants and animals.
We met our guide, Shamu, who lives at the edge of the swamp, and headed out:
Once we landed on Bush Bush Island, Roger gave us the “talk”. When you are on Bush Bush you are supposed to “walk in the person ahead of you footprints” as much as possible. That’s when he told us that Bush Bush Island has Bushmasters on it. Sometimes I’m envious of Scott because he had no idea what that meant. I on the other hand, suddenly developed a keen desire to walk as close behind Shamu as possible. I’m not afraid of snakes (or any wildlife, really) but I do have a healthy desire not to get bit.
And then it was time to go. Along the way, we saw some Red Howler Monkeys (spotted by Shamu), some fun species of birds, heard stories about the snakes that live there, I ate a termite, and Scott and Roger got some interesting shots.
After our swamp visit we had a little time to try to hunt down more species of birds for the list! We headed to Kernaham Village, which is just off the Manzanilla-Mayaro road at the bottom of the swamp. This is a tiny place with small farms, many of which have small ponds near their houses. It is very picturesque in it’s own way, since many of the ponds were full of blooming, pink waterlilies. One of the ponds was also full of Wattled Jacanas (actually, a few of the ponds were crawling with Jacanas).
It was time to hit the road again, which meant going back along the Manzanilla- Mayaro road to Arima. Along the way there is this spectacular scenery:
We stopped briefly at Brigand Hill Lighthouse, which is maybe the ony place to get high enough to have a long view of Manzanilla Bay. It was a bit hazy, so my photos didn’t turn out that well, but it still was a fun place to visit. On the way to the car, Roger spotted this fellow trying his best to look like a twig:
Then it was off to Arima for a quick roti lunch, before heading to the airport for our first night on Tobago.
It was dinner and then of to bed for us – oh, except the Danish Zoomba group were having their farewell party….