Re-edited by KA'
T' l HL
(THE WEST INDIES)
Commander C. E. R. ALFORD
Re-edited by Kathleen Noreen ALFORD
THE RANELAGH PRESS
A. ADALBERT ALLEY
Colonial Life & Fire
Insurance Co. Ltd.
Main Street, Scarborough, Tobago
Phone: 2195 office, 2238 residence
LIFE FIRE GROUP PERSONAL ACCIDENT
HEALTH & ACCIDENT MOTOR INSURANCE
Please call us for an interview
"SUPPORT LOCAL INDUSTRY"
"IT SUPPORTS YOU"
THE ONLY AIRLINE THAT FLIES TO EVERY
MAJOR ISLAND IN THE CARIBBEAN
"ISLAND HOP" YOUR WAY AND RETURN
DIRECT HOME VIA FABULOUS LISBON
OR EXCITING NEW YORK.
WORLD'S MOST EXPERIENCED AIRLINE
You can bank on the
"ROYAL" FOR ALL
Savings and Current Accounts
Safekeeping of Valuables
Travellers Cheques Remittances
International Banking Service
THE ROYAL BANK
Branch located on Main Street, Scarborough, Tobago
TIE BIG DIFFERENCE
IN LOW PRICE MOTORING IS IN
the all new
THE BIG DIFFERENCE IN ROOM
At last a low priced car that really has room for five
THE BIG DIFFERENCE IN POWER
The lively performance of Ford's rally proved short-
short stroke engine
THE BIG DIFFERENCE IN STYLE
Cortina has the crisp, lively look of Ford's most
the roomiest low price car in the world.
AT YOUR ( DEALER
& COMPANY LIMITED
SCARBOROUGH Phone 2160
The Flavours Everyone Favours
FOOD AT ITS DELICIOUS BEST
It takes a Radio Station with
Manpower, Experience, and Coverage,
to reach the scattered West Indian
markets open to North American,
and British goods. That is
9 Salesmen at the Microphone.
Radio Trinidad has served the
Nation for over 16 years.
Radio Trinidad reaches
Trinidad & Tobago and all
the key markets in the
That is MANPOWER, EXPERIENCE,
Our Representatives are:-
London: Overseas Redifusion Limited, Stratton House, Stratto
Street, Ladon, W.1 New York: Intercontinental Services Limited,
20 East 46th Street, New York 17, New York, U.S.A Canada: Air-
Time Sales Limited, 2149 Yonge Street, Toronto, and 1396 St.
Catherine Street West, Room 205 Montreal,Caada Trinidad: Call
or phone s at 11B Maraal Road, Port ofSpain, Trinidad Tel 21151-5
HILTON IS A "MUST"
THE WORLD OVER
London to the Nile, Hawaii to Trinidad, Hilton Hotels welcome you with
friendly, luxurious hospitality. Try authentic Trinidad drinks and dishes.
Shop for exotic Island Novelties in the Shopping Centre. Return when the
stars are out for Dancing and Floor Show in candle-lit La Boucan.
. .. . Informal dining room, richly planted with
tropical ferns and shrubs. Open for breakfast, lunch,
dinner and snacks. Overlooking the swimming pool and
. . Speciality dining room, formal and air-con-
ditioned. Open for lunch, dinner and night-time shows
and dancing. Glorious vista of the savannah, Port-of-
Spain and the Gulf of Paria.
... Luxurious sunken bar with one of the finest
views in the Caribbean. Gaily decorated in the carnival
theme. Next to La Boucan.
ijXA X4aA 4*AYtoi
TRINIDAD A TOBAGO TELEVISION COMPANY LTD.
TELEVISION HOUSE, PORT OF SPAIN, TRINIDAD, W.1
U.K. Representative: Phone: 21375 U.S. Representatives:
Television International Cables: T.I.E. Sales Limited
Enterprises Ltd. Television 230 Park Avenue,
21, Sloane Street. Trinidad New York N.Y. 10017
London. S.W.I England. U.S.A
an inspiration in light car design
IMP DE LUXE-with unique 'thru-flow' ventilation, screen
washers, opening quarter lights, four stowage pockets, fully-
carpeted floor, twin sun visors, headlamp flasher and safety belt
lHIilIIllll ll iIIIII' !111 | ';:'i : I:Illl i I ; ii i I I II' ,|11 ,'Ilillllilll'i 1 ll| II |1| ll 11i '!! Ili; l||| : |1| |,'i [m I:l ||' ; |w,' I I llll i ll ill1111m
PORT OF SPAIN
& SAN FERNANDO
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TOBAGO THE LAND OF THE FREE
Words and Music by Krrry ALFORD
There's an island so small called Tobago.
A gem of the tropical seas.
It's set in the deep blue Caribbean,
And there you can do as you please.
Tobago, Tobago, Tobago the land of the free,
This isle in the west is the place for a rest.
It is also the place for a spree.
There are beaches of sandy perfection;
You can lie in the shade of the palms
And dream of the days of the pirates,
Yet know that you need have no qualms.
You can sample the joys of a crab-back
Or a barbecued pig on the beach,
'Neath the silvery moon of the tropics,
And a rum-punch, ice-cold, within reach.
Birds of Paradise also are seen there-
A wonderful sight to behold;
They were brought from far-distant New Guinea,
To show off their plumage of gold.
There's rum if you want to feel jolly,
There's lime juice to make you feel glad:
Mix the two and you'll drown melancholy
And forget that you've ever felt sad.
So come to this Isle of Tobago,
And taste of its joys for yourself.
If you say that you've been to Tobago,
You'll never get left on the shelf.
Copyright by K. N. ALFORD
WEST OP GREENWICH
SCALE IN MILES
1 1 o 1
a : i s
GOOD SANCTUARY IN
BEAINs Trun WoML.
WE FPsM n
'5 MIT. I.
WHALES PASS HERK
1. SCARBOROUGH Town
2 FROM SCARBOROUGH TO STORE BAY ANP MT.IlVIME BAY
3. ** MORIAH AMD LES COTEAUX
4-: *.. OLD GRANGETOWER,THESlr
GARDHES E, BUCCOO REEF
5. GREEMHILL AND CALEDONIA
6 .5PEYSIDE AHD MAM-0-WAR ~
5eA BATHING ALL AROUND THE 1LAtD
CoPYRNr T BY THe PuaLIsgea- C.E.R.4.
Tobago The Land of The Free
Words and Music by KITTY ALFORD
it ,.1 ,1 |1J ^
vi rr r i rr
SONG-Tobago, The Land of the Free
MAP OF TOBAGO
WORDS OF SONG
DRIVES-1 TO 7
BATHING BEACHES .. .....
BIRDS OF TOBAGO .
BIRD OF PARADISE ISLAND .....
FLOWERS OF TOBAGO .. ....
FRUITS OF TOBAGO .. .....
BOTANIC STATION .. ......
ANIMALS AND REPTILES OF TOBAGO .
SNAKES AND LIZARDS .
TOBAGO STOCK FARM .
ANIMAL HEALTH SECTION .
FISHING IN TOBAGO .
REEF FISH . .
HISTORICAL NOTES .
TOBAGO OR JUAN FERNANDEZ? .
THE STORY OF RUM .
INDEPENDENCE OF TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO .
POLICE-RIFLE CLUB ..
PUBLIC UTILITIES-ELECTRICITY AND WATER .
HEALTH DEPARTMENT .
CHAMBER OF COMMERCE .
CENTRAL LIBRARY ..
SOME COMMON TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO TERMS .
TABLES OF EXCHANGE: CURRENCY-STERLING
CURRENCY-CANADIAN AND U.S.
POSTAL AND TELEGRAPH INFORMATION .
INCOME TAX .
WIRELESS TELEGRAPHY AND RADIO-TELEPHONE .
CHURCHES AND SERVICES .
SETTLING IN TOBAGO .
TAIL PIECE .
INDEX TO ADVERTISERS (alphabetically) . .
SFacing Page 10
S . 149
S . 150
S . 152
S . 154
S . 156
List of Illustrations
Coloured Picture of Bird of Paradise Island
Craig Hill Waterfall
Pigeon Point .
Greater Bird of Paradise-Paradisea apoda of Linnaeus in full display
Bird of Paradise Island .
Man-o'-War Bay, Charlotteville.
A Tobagian Family
Carnival Time at Roxborough
Old Water Wheel, Speyside
FOR THE FINEST IN AUTOMOTIVE
PRODUCTS AND SERVICE
DRIVE IN AT THE SHELL SIGN
SCOTT'S AUTO SALES
& SERVICE STATION
MILFORD ROAD, SCARBOROUGH
I have been asked to write the Foreword to Mrs. Alford's new Guide to
Tobago. Since the last one appeared, so many changes have come to our
Island. Some, I am glad to say, for the better. The sea is colourful and
warm-the sun still shines-the people are friendly and helpful. We are
all pleased to see the same friends returning every year, and we hope that
they will enjoy the new items in the Guide which Mrs. Alford has taken so
much trouble to prepare.
DOROTHY DE VERTEUIL
did very well on his own
but in these days it is better to
get the descriptive literature
and free information
Zrinhida aK dto6ago ourMist
56 Frederick Street, Port of Spain,
United Kingdom and Europe:
Office of the High Commissioner for Trinidad & Tobago,
51 South Audley Street, London, W.I
Trinidad and Tobago
42 Charles Street, East Toronto, 5
Trinidad and Tobago
48 East 43rd Street,
New York 17
The continued aim of this book-now in its sixth edition-is
to give all prospective visitors and settlers information in as
concise a form as possible.
I am gratefully indebted to all the kind friends who have
aided me with bringing this beautiful Island of Tobago to the
notice of others.
In particular to the loving memory of my dear beloved
husband, who was the author of the first four editions.
Just before going to press this beautiful Island of Tobago
was drastically swept by the hurricane FLORA. Much damage
was done both to the agricultural and economic aspects. Thirty
lives were lost, as well as many dwelling-houses. We are very
grateful for all the help that has poured into the Island, and
we hope that in time Tobago will soon be the beautiful isle
she has always been.
KATHLEEN NOREEN ALFORD
Bird of Paradise Island. The only place in the world outside
New Guinea where birds of paradise live in the wild state.
An experience for sightseers, a mecca for naturalists.
"The Island of Tobago"
The Island of Tobago, in the West Indies, claims to be the original island
Defoe had in mind when writing his masterpiece Robinson Crusoe. Since,
however, there is always a lively discussion about this matter between the
two sections, one upholding Juan Fernandez in the Pacific and the other
Tobago, the whole problem is dealt with very fully in the Section entitled
-Tobago or Juan Fernandez?"
If the "Crusoe chasers" will pause for a moment before diving into
the middle of the book, I would like to say at once that Tobago's claim to
distinction is not by any means confined to the Robinson Crusoe discussion.
Far from it. Tobago has many attractions for visitors who wish to avoid the
cold of northern climes, for tourists and for settlers. The climate is always
warm, yet not too warm, the scenery is truly beautiful, its history is both
romantic and stirring. It is, in fact, a battle-scarred little gem, for the
possession of which many nations shed much blood until England at last
held on to it and gave it much-needed peace.
If you enjoy mountainous, wooded scenery or flat lands covered with
thousands of palm trees; if you enjoy bathing in clear, warm waters from
white palm-lined beaches, or fishing or riding or walking or picnicking
under ideal tropical conditions, then the Island of Tobago is well worth
Here, if you wish, you can see birds of paradise in their wild state, the
reasons for which surprising fact are given under the Section "Bird of
Paradise Island". There are numerous other kinds of birds, fuller reference
to which may be found in the Bird Section.
You will not find a theatre or a music hall, but there is a cinema.
Tobago is for those who love peace and beauty, and they can obtain it
without having to run a barrage of salesmen who wish to sell them carpets,
knives, beads or ebony elephants, as in the East, made in Birmingham.
There are practically no "touts" in the Island, a fact of which it is rightly
proud, and if one should try it on then just call a policeman. The resulting
"flow" from the Negro "man in blue" (or white, according to the time of
day) will be quite interesting and most instructive. (You will not know what
he is talking about, but the other fellow will.)
If you have read as far as this, then you will probably want to know
where the place is and what it is.
Tobago is an island-ward of the Independent State of Trinidad and
Tobago, British West Indies. It lies off the north-east corer of Trinidad,
about 18 miles distant, and is 27 miles long by 7 wide at the widest point,
the lie of the land being north-east.
A Main Ridge runs down from the northern end for nearly two-thirds
of its length, the highest point being 1,890 feet. The Ridge tapers towards
the south, finally disappearing altogether, so that the land at the south end
of Tobago is absolutely flat, the formation at this end being coral.
Thus there are two distinct types of scenery in Tobago, the mountainous
and the flat.
The total area is 116k square miles, containing an acreage of 74,392.
The population is 33,333-16,481 males and 16,852 females. The majority
of the coloured people are of Negro origin, but there are a few East Indians,
Europeans and Chinese in the Island.
The language of the Island is English, which, from the tourists' point
of view, is a considerable asset, but at first the accent is a little difficult to
grasp, since the intonation and method of speech is unfamiliar to the ear.
A number of local expressions, with their English equivalents, is given in
the Section "Glossary of Trinidad-Tobago Terms".
Local currency is in West Indian dollars and cents. There are two
banks in the Island-Barclays Bank and the Royal Bank of Canada at the
moment. Paper money comprises $1, $2, $5, $10, $20 and $100 notes.
Silver is 10-, 25- and 50-cent pieces, and copper 1-, 2- and 5-cent pieces.
One dollar U.S. or Canadian is worth between $1.68 and $1.70 W.I. The
West Indian dollar is valued at four shilling and twopence. Foreign money
is easily changed at the banks, while U.S. and Canadian notes are accepted
at most hotels and business places in Tobago. There is a Table of Exchange
at the end of the book.
Linking Tobago with the Outside World
Our Tobago Exchange
TOBAGO BRANCH: MAIN STREET, SCARBOROUGH
Head Office: 54 Frederick Street, Port of Spain, Trinidad
THOMAS PEAKE & CO. LTD.
76 Henry Street & 2A Charlotte Street
Phones: 31189, 8615, 7307
Arborite Permaglas Electric Water Heaters
Morphy-Richards Electrical Appliances
Amana Air Conditioners Goulds Pumps
Worthington Air Conditioners-Woolsey Marine Finishers
ALL WORLD FAMOUS PRODUCTS
In Four Delightful Flavours
KOLA CHAMPAGNE ORANGE
CREAMSODA GINGER BEER
Manufactured by Modern and up to date
At the present moment there is no direct scheduled communication with
any place other than Trinidad. Occasionally special excursion ships from
the U.S. and Canada pay a brief visit. At present the Government run two
coastal steamers, the Scarlet Ibis and the Bird of Paradise, weighing 92 tons
each. (These replaced the Trinidad and Tobago in 195-.) There are four
sailings to and from Tobago each week-an average of sixteen per month.
All sailings from Scarborough are at 10 p.m., and from Port of Spain the
same, except Saturdays at 1 p.m. In addition, the Scarlet Ibis does the
coastwise sailing every three weeks, delivering stores and taking off produce,
and gives an opportunity to visitors to make a round trip if they so wish.
Scarborough is the shorter journey, due to currents, tide and wind. The
fares are as follows. Tourist Class: Return $13.00; Single $6.50. Deck:
Return $6.00; Single $3.00. Motor cars under 2,000 lb.: Return $23.33;
Single $12.50. Over 2,000 lb.: Return $43.17; Single $24.00. Since the
sailings of these ships are liable to alteration, information should be obtained
from the Harbour Master's Office, which is on the jetty where you land in
Trinidad. Schedules are printed every month.
On January 28th, 1953, a ceremony of considerable importance to
Tobagonians took place at Scarborough. This was the opening of the new
wharf. This scheme has been in hand for a long time. It was, in fact, mooted
before the Second War, but the latter killed it. Up to then, passengers, and
cargo, had to be landed in boats from the ship to the shore, and often, in
rainy weather, this was a most uncomfortable process. Now both ships, the
Scarlet Ibis and the Bird of Paradise, can come alongside the wharf simul-
taneously, end to end, and passengers step ashore in comfort.
The wharf is 490 feet long, with a depth alongside of 15 feet at Low
Water Ordinary Spring Tides.
The ceremony was performed by the T.G.S. Trinidad, and "all Tobago
and his wife" were there.
A line of flags was stretched between two beacons which mark the
approach to the wharf from seaward. The Trinidad approached at dead
slow speed and cut the flag line with her bow, blowing a salute from her
siren as she did so. She then curved gracefully round and came gently
alongside the wharf, where she blew a second salute. Captain Bodden, of
the T.G.S. Trinidad, could not have handled his ship with more perfect
Air communication has been established since 1940 between Trinidad and
Tobago. It is operated by the Government-owned British West Indian
Airways. The planes operate from Piarco Airport, in Trinidad, to Crown
Point Airport, in Tobago, which is in the southernmost point of the Island,
close to Store Bay. The service operates three times daily but this frequently
is increased during the winter season. Times of operation are published in
the A.B.C. World Airways Guide and the Official Airlines Guide. The flight
over from Trinidad takes twenty minutes, and the return to Trinidad is
made after fifteen minutes' stay in Tobago. The planes are Douglas DC-3s
(Dakotas) and Vickers Viscounts (turbo-jets).
The normal fares are:
Return B.W.I. $24.00 5 Os. Od. U.S. $13.90
Single B.W.I. $12.60 2 12s. 6d. U.S. $7.30
Special Day Trip Return: $15.00.
Excursion, Family Plan and Group Travel fares are also available.
B.W.I.A. operate a complete service throughout the Caribbean, includ-
ing British Guiana and British Honduras, and their services extend to
New York and London. Connections are made at Trinidad, Barbados and
Jamaica with services of British Overseas Airways Corporation to and from
the rest of the world.
The Head Office of B.W.I.A. is at Kent House, Maraval, Trinidad.
Taxis are plentiful and reasonable in price. There are over 220 miles of
road in Tobago, which is rather surprising in so small an island.
There is also an island-wide bus service, run by the National Transit
Co., which is equipped with large, modern, comfortable buses. On the
Windward Road, from Scarborough to Man-o'-War Bay, four buses run
daily, up and down.
The Dibbens are well remembered in Tobago-
for it was they who pioneered Amos Vale Beach Hotel.
After handing over one world famous Hotel they set
about producing another. Converted from a magnificent
country house set in a famous English yachting centre.
Hamble Manor Hotel has grown rapidly in renown since
its opening in December 1961
Write or cable for brochure. On your
next visit to Britain you will decide that one of
the MUSTS of your trip will be a visit to
HAMBLE, HAMPSHIRE, ENGLAND
Phone HAMble 3251 Cables -Manor, Southampton
"Utterlyperfect/or all those to whom
comfort, charm, goodfood, and service
are essential" -
-McKay's Guide to Bermuda, The Bahamas,
and the Caribbean.
ARNOS VALE BEACH HOTEL
This delightful hotel nestles within its own 450-acre estate on the leeward
side of Tobago. Constantly fanned by a cool off-shore breeze, it is the ideal
setting for a perfect holiday in perfect peace. The hotel is built of solid
coral and local hardwoods, with floors of polished tile to ensure maximum
coolness. There are four cottages of various sizes attractively arranged
around the Amos Vale Beach. For those who prefer the swish of the sea
there are suites actually on the beach above the patio. For others there are
bedrooms overlooking the Bay fifty feet up and a Honeymoon Cottage atop
a sugarloaf hillock with a view unsurpassed. Every room has its own private
bathroom and veranda. Dolphin Cottage is a bird-watcher's delight, with
beautiful birds coming to breakfast on the patio. Guests spend their days
lying in the azure-blue Caribbean fascinated by the multi-coloured fish and
coral formations which abound in the bay. Many attractive shells are to be
found also on the beach.
Amos Vale is nine miles from the airport and is reached by a lovely
drive along the coast. The town of Scarborough, Tobago's picturesque
capital, is six miles from the hotel, on the Windward coast.
The hotel is renowned for its cuisine of American and European
dishes flavoured with some of the more popular West Indian delicacies.
On Sunday mornings there is a special lunch served on the beach patio.
In the winter season a barbecue dinner is served on the beach patio every
Wednesday, and a steel band provides music for dancing and "limbo".
The estate and farm provide fresh produce and in addition cultivate
coconuts and cocoa and citrus fruits. A visit to the ruins of the 100-year-old
sugar mill, picturesquely located in a little valley by a stream, is a worth-
Hire or drive-yourself cars with which one can tour the rest of Tobago's
countryside, fishing trips and trips to the famous Buccoo Reef and Bird of
Paradise Island can be arranged as desired.
View of our Main Building taken from the Beach showing a
corner of our Annexe Building at right. MAIN BUILDING-
Ground Floor: Outer Veranda, Inner Lounge, Bar, Office.
First Floor: Dining Room and Kitchen. WING-Contains
ground-floor and first-floor bedrooms. Those on the first
floor have semi-attached sitting rooms and tub baths as
well as showers.
One mile from Town
Beautiful view across Bay to Scarborough
COOL PREVAILING BREEZE AT ALL TIMES
Double Rooms with twin beds and private baths
Sea Bathing opposite Hotel : Well-stocked Bar
Cable Address: CRUSOE, TOBAGO, B.W.1.
THE HOTEL ROBINSON CRUSOE
Robinson Crusoe, defying all antagonists, has given his name to this hotel.
The original hotel of the Island, it is built in the airy style of the old
plantation houses and is situated on the southern side of Rockley Bay, one
mile outside the main town of Scarborough. The hotel faces the sea and
receives the full benefit of the cooling breezes blowing in from the Atlantic.
Behind a large open veranda, overlooking the sea, is a spacious lounge
which is very comfortably furnished. Acknowledged as the coolest spot on
the Island, this lounge is largely used as a meeting-place and sort of informal
club by the local residents, so giving visitors a chance to meet the local
planters, officials and British and American settlers and to enjoy their
hospitality, of great assistance to those people who also might be thinking
of settling in this beautiful Island, with its ideal year-round climate.
The "Crusoe" has a well-stocked bar, and retains the hospitable
homely atmosphere for which the Caribbean Islands have always been
renowned. Its food, a careful mixture of international and local dishes, is
constantly being praised. Being within two miles of four of the other hotels
and the one night club of the Island, guests find convenient for enjoying
any entertainment offered at these other establishments, as well as at the
"Robinson Crusoe" itself, where dances are held every Saturday night to
the music of the steel bands.
While there is swimming on the beach in front of the hotel, the
"Crusoe" arranges excursions daily in its station wagon and cars to other
well-known beaches, and for drives when a congenial group are interested.
Arrangements are also made for trips to the famous Buccoo Coral Reef,
with its "Nylon Pool", and to the Bird of Paradise Island when requested.
The hotel is under the personal management of Kurt and Wanda
A Place to Stay
TOBAGO AT ITS BEST
1 mile from Scarborough 10 miles from Airport
Main Building and adjacent cottages all overlook
the Sea. Incomparable bathing beach. On 1200 acre
Full particulars write to:-
Scarborough Tobago *Cable "Bacolet"
THE BACOLET INN
Bacolet Inn is one mile from Scarborough on the Windward Road on the
south-eastern coast, and ten miles from the airport. It consists of the main
building and adjacent cottages, all overlooking the sea.
The main building is the old planter's house and the rustic decor of
the period is maintained. The five cottages offer a choice of accommodation
to suit every pocket. The more modern have hot water supplied to all rooms.
The majority also have private porches looking on to the blue sea. On the
sheltered side of the point is the incomparable Bacolet Beach. Golden
sands, palm-fringed, make the use of beach umbrellas quite unnecessary.
There is also the Bamboo Bar on the beach which makes this spot an
Bacolet Inn is situated on a 1,200-acre coconut plantation which
stretches for two miles along the sea coast.
CROWN POINT HOTEL
TOBAGO WEST INDIES
JUST 20 MINUTES FROM TRINIDAD
Directly on the beach at beautiful Store Bay, the
island's finest beach. Twenty-five acres of spacious
private gardens for complete privacy. Luxury
cottages in addition to hotel facilities. When the
call of the Caribbean proves irresistible, come to
enchanting Tobago and when you come to Tobago
come to the Crown Point Hotel,
Tobago's finest and
FULL AMERICAN PLAN
Air-Conditioned suites or cottages available
Manager: Henry Goldstein
THE CROWN POINT HOTEL
The Crown Point is situated on lovely Store Bay, which is one of the best
beaches in Tobago and only a few minutes from the airport. It has a variety
of accommodation in suites, double rooms, and luxury cottages adjoining
the hotel, in all fifty-three units. Guests may have air-conditioned rooms or
not, as required. Accommodation rates are based on the full American Plan,
to include three full-course meals daily. Children are gladly catered for at
reduced rates and arrangements can be made for baby-sitters. Free transport
is provided to and from the airport.
Sporting activities include deep-sea fishing, skin-diving and aqualung-
ing. The main attraction is Buccoo Reef, where a fantastic variety of
tropical fish may be seen. A tennis court has recently been built in the
hotel grounds, and there is a fresh-water pool on the terrace. Recreational
activities include barbecues, film shows twice weekly, steel band and limbo,
Guests who come to the Crown Point may rest assured of a happy and
welcoming atmosphere, and a very enjoyable holiday.
BLUEHA VEN HOTEL
Open All the Year Round
Winter and Summer Rates
American and Continental Plan
40 Rooms, some with Private Galleries,
All Rooms with Tiled Bath, Hot Water and Telephone
48 HOUR LAUNDRY SERVICE
BARBECUES, STEEL BANDS AND DANCING
FISHING-Twin-engine Cruiser and Fishing Equipment
SWIMMING-SUPERB BEACH AND CHILDREN'S
Cable Address:- BLUEHAVEN, TOBAGO
For particulars write:-
The Management, BLUEHAVEN HOTEL, Tobago, B.W.I.
Constantly fanned by Trade Winds, Bluehaven is built on a point projecting
out into the Caribbean, with the sea on three sides. The bathing beach lies
below the main building and is reached by a short flight of stairs.
There are forty rooms, both double and single, twenty-eight of which
face either the East or South Beach. Tiled bathrooms with every room,
hot and cold running water, foam-rubber mattresses, a telephone at your
bedside. Some rooms facing the East Beach have a private porch overlooking
the blue sea where you can breakfast or sip rum punches in perfect peace.
For those who want good food and wine, as well as a rest, a specially
appointed chef prepares delectable meals in the most modem of kitchens,
and there is a wine cellar stocked with the best imported wines. Bluehaven
rates are inclusive of all meals, and added modified American Plan.
Extending from the lounge is the Ocean Terrace for lazing in the sun
during the day and offering the full beauty of southern skies at nightfall.
Below the Terrace on the "Lower Deck" a row of hammocks swings in the
shade and the soft breeze. The Barbecue Terrace, overlooking the South
Beach, provides alfresco meals beneath a tropical moon.
There are drive-yourself cars for hire to tour Tobago's magnificent
countryside. Blue Horizon, a twin-engine Owens Flagship cruiser, which
can sleep five, is available to guests for deep-sea fishing and picnics to
beaches unapproachable by road. Water-skiing is also available at Bon
Accord Lagoon. The open launch Bluebird will take you to Buccoo Reef
where you cannot fail to be thrilled by the multitude and variety of tropical
fish and coral formations in the incomparable sea gardens of the lagoon.
DELLA MIBA GUEST HOUSE
OVERLOOKING THE SEA
SCARBOROUGH, TOBAGO, T.W.I.
Cool Comfortable Accommodation, Efficient Service,
Excellent Cuisine, Gorgeous Scenery
Cable Dellamira Phone 2531
BELLA MIRA BEAUTY SALON
WE TAKE CARE OF YOUR HAIR
When you visit TOBAGO
CLUB LA TROPICALE
Tobago's Cosmopolitan Club
Do not be misled, All visitors are welcome to our club
It is the only night club in Tobago where you can fraternize
with our cosmopolitan populatoin
Floor Shows, Steel Bands, Calypsos, Dancing & Dining
For further details and reservations write to:-
Neville T. Miranda, Della Mira Guest House, Tobago, T.W.I.
DELLA MIRA GUEST HOUSE
If you are undecided where to spend your next vacation on a stay-at-home
budget, consider Tobago and the Della Mira Guest House.
Tobago has a distinctive, far-away flavour of its very own. It has a
charm, a quaintness, an unspoiled beauty and an unhurried, non-commercial
atmosphere with which you will fall in love.
You will find the Della Mira to be as distinctive and different as
Tobago itself. It is a simple West Indian house, where the warm hospitality,
relaxing comfort and tasteful local food dishes are typical of this part of
the world. There are no luxurious trappings or need for heavy tippings.
The accent is on comfort, rest, good food, a pleasant home-away-from-
home atmosphere-geared to the needs of the average-income traveller.
The guest house is situated on the Windward Road, on a cool airy
site overlooking the sea, and within easy reach-half a mile--of the town,
churches and business houses. It is open to the four winds-lying about
fifty yards from the ocean and has a little rustic pool in the sea.
There are but eleven bedrooms, thus limiting the number of guests
for greater comfort and convenience It is therefore suggested that early
reservations be made.
A warm welcome awaits you at the Della Mira Guest House. You are
a stranger here but once, with the promise of a delightful, restful and
CLUB LA TROPICAL
Tobago's cosmopolitan club. Do not be misled: all visitors are welcome
to the club. It is the only night club in Tobago where you can fraternise
with the cosmopolitan population.
Floor shows, steel bands, calypsos, dancing and dining.
For further details and reservations write to: Neville T. Miranda,
Della Mira Guest House, Tobago, West Indies.
WELCOME TO TOBAGO!
SEE THIS CARIBBEAN PARADISE
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WEEK (6 DAYS)
MONTH (30 DAYS) 2
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TOBAGO TRAVEL SERVICE
CROWN POINT HOTEL
DRIVE No. 1. SCARBOROUGH AND SURROUNDINGS
This covers the points of interest to see in the town of Scarborough.
Drive up to the Old Fort overlooking the Bay. Here you can see the
Lighthouse and Wireless Station and have a splendid view of Trinidad and
the surrounding country from a height of 452 feet above sea level. To the
north is the site of the French Fort, though there is nothing left of the
The ruins of the old Barracks also are here, relics of the days when
Tobago had a garrison; and an eighteen-inch mortar gapes upwards at the
sky close to the Lighthouse.
As you come down you pass the old bell tank, a domed structure on
the right-hand side of the road made of stone. To the left you can see a
row of ancient cannon standing in the ruined embrasures and pointing
mutely out over the town in silent contemplation of the past.
You then come to the Hospital, which, it must be agreed, has a perfect
situation. It now contains a total of ninety-four beds, divided as follows:
a maternity ward with fourteen beds; the children's ward with seventeen
beds; medical (male and female with thirty beds; surgical (male and
female) with thirty-three beds. In addition there are three private rooms.
It also has a fully qualified resident surgeon, twenty-nine trained nurses
and thirty-two assistant nurses. There are three doctors-one surgeon, one
Grade II medical officer, one anaesthetist and relief M.O.
Below the Hospital, on the left is what used to be the old Prison and
behind it the condemned cells. In 1801 a slave riot was quelled by a clever
strategy. The ringleader and a number of his associates were caught and
taken to the prison. The ringleader was hanged in full view of the town
and, when dead, his body was lowered. A few minutes later the crowd saw
another body go swinging aloft, to be lowered in due course, and followed
by another and another until, to their terrified eyes, all the captured men
had been hanged. Actually, however, only one man suffered death, the
ringleader, for it was his body which was raised and lowered repeatedly
on the gibbet.
This building, however, is no longer a prison with condemned cells.
Whether the Government of the time was cynically humorous I know not,
but they decided that it was a good place to give to the Warden as a
residence! The cells for the public are now behind the Police Barracks in
the town itself. Since Independence, the Warden has been replaced by the
Permanent Secretary, who has a more congenial residence.
After coming down from the Fort, you pass the Methodist Church on
your right and you then take a turn round the Market Square, on the north
side of which are the Library and Government Offices. On the other three
sides are the principal shops, and in the centre is the Market.
Drive out on to the Windward Road and you will pass over Gun
Bridge, the railings of which consist of old rifle barrels embedded in
concrete: another reminder of Tobago's warlike past. On your left are the
new R.C. Church and County Council Offices
THOMAS PHILLIPS & CO.
"HIGHMOOR", SCARBOROUGH, TOBAGO
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FISH & VEGETABLES
COCOA, COFFEE, CURRY
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MILK & CREAM
U.S. ROYAL TYRES
SERVICE IS OUR WATCHWORD
For All Classes of
INSURANCE AT LL OYD '
Corner Queen & Chacon Streets,
Port of Spain, Trinidad
Beyond the bridge are the Anglican Church, the Police Barracks
and the old Roman Catholic Church, which having been replaced by the
new church was fortuitously demolished by hurricane FLORA!
Turn back into the town and go along to the Botanic Gardens. These
are well worth a visit and it may surprise you to find such attractive ones
in so small an island.
Down on the waterfront is the Post Office (dose to the jetty). About
a mile beyond the docks you get to the Hotel Robinson Crusoe, beyond
which those interested in cattle will find the Government Stock Farm.
DRIVE No. 2. SCARBOROUGH TO STORE BAY AND MOUNT
You leave Scarborough by the road running south-west along the edge of
the Bay and pass Petit Trou Beach, nearly two miles of firm, hard sand,
on which the races used to be held before the Race Course was built; after
which you turn inland and run straight through to Store Bay and the
Crown Point Hotel.
The land here is perfectly flat, and is planted mainly in coconuts.
Store Bay is one of the finest bathing beaches in the West Indies. It is
the sort of bay with white sand and clear green waters that you lie on your
back and dream about on cold nights in northern climes.
It is fringed by low cliffs, about twelve feet high, and has firm, white
sand. To the left, in front of the Crown Point Hotel, lies a coral reef
ideal for schnorkel and mask.
The bay faces due west, and sunset seen from here is worth while.
The sun appears to fall right into the sea, and the lights in the sky change
every second, passing through countless combinations of beauty in a few
A few hundred yards along the Hotel Road you will find an old
five-gun emplacement commanding the bay. The thickness of the five
embrasures will give you an idea of the thoroughness which they used in
those days of fortifications. On the ground are three old guns close together,
on which there is no marking. A fourth gun lies by itself, close to the
farther wall, on the breech of which is the date 1793, and the name "Roulle"
revealing it as French. Behind the emplacement is the ruin of the magazine,
and alongside it what was probably the Guard House for the magazine
when the guns were not manned. You will notice that the walls of the
magazine are pierced through their entire length, probably for ventilation.
From Store Bay you can make a pilgrimage to Robinson Crusoe's cave
if you so wish. It lies about a mile and a half away and can only be reached
on foot. A local descendant will take you there, but it is only fair to warn
you that there is not very much to see!
GRELL & CO, LTD,
33 HENRY STREET,
20 POINT-A-PIERRE RD.,
When travelling to TOBAGO on holiday, do not
burden your limited Air Baggage with excess freight
on Fishing Gear.
We carry a full range at comparable home prices of
American & Continental Make Rods, Reels, Lines, Lures
Swim Masks & Snorkels etc.
See our English "Wedgwood" Crockery with the
Fascinating "MAN FRIDAY" Footprint theme.
GORDON GRANT & CO
Successors to James A. SCOTT
SCARBOROUGH TOBAGO, B.W.I.
From Store Bay you pass through Golden Grove to Mount Irvine Bay,
another lovely bathing beach fringed with palm trees. When the wind is in
the north-west, the breakers here sometimes come curling in to a height
of some eight to ten feet, gathering themselves together into a solid wall as
they approach the shore. Down they thunder on to the sand, and send out
a roar of baffled fury as their onslaught is brought to nought and they are
sent sprawling up the beach in a whirl of shattered water and foam.
From Mount Irvine Bay you proceed to Plymouth, passing Black Rock
on the way, where Hamilton defiantly worked his solitary gun against the
invading French in 1781 (see History Section).
It was at Plymouth that the French landed on this occasion and drove
the British back up the valley towards Scarborough. The town of Plymouth
was for many years somewhat pathetic to look upon. It appeared to be a
town abandoned, but in recent years it has put on a "new look" and has
a number of "self-help" houses with well-laid-out gardens. New roads and
new signposts mark out the various streets, and they are all named after
Chatham's second Ministry in the Napoleonic times.
There is an interesting old grave in this town; the inscription on it
reads: "She was a mother without knowing it, and a wife without letting
her husband know it, except by her kind indulgencies to him." Date:
November 25th, 1783, and lies at the extremity of the road opposite the
Leaving Plymouth, the road runs inland through a valley, the same up
which the retreat took place in 1781. One can well imagine how a small
force, knowing the country, could harass a larger one ignorant of it.
The hills are undulating, the highest point being 679 feet, about half-
way between Plymouth and Scarborough, and make a very pleasant drive
in contrast to the flat country over which you have come. The Amos Vale
Beach Hotel lies along this road. A stop here for a refresher is always
welcome. A bathe on its private beach can be obtained with permission,
and the tropical fish here are a wonderful sight amid the breath-taking
CRAIG HALL FALLS, NEAR MASON HALL
DRIVE No. 3. SCARBOROUGH TO MORIAH AND LES COTEAUX
You leave Scarborough by the road passing the Botanic Gardens, and
mount a long gradual hill, eventually reaching Government House, which
is used by the Governor and other important Government officials when
they visit Tobago. The grave of Sir William Young, Governor of Tobago
from 1807 to 1815, is within the grounds, as also are those of the wife, son
and two daughters of Sir Frederick F. Robinson, K.C.B., successor to Sir
William in 1816. He lost his entire family within five years.
After passing Government House, you skirt the heights of Concordia,
on which Governor Ferguson made his first stand against the invading
French in 1781, and enter Mason Hall Village. Not far from the village
is a fine waterfall with about a 100-foot drop, which can be visited on foot,
called the Craig Hall Falls.
Between Mason Hall and Moriah, you dip down into a valley and
cross the Courland River. Pause on this bridge, for you can almost imagine
that it is an English rill, save for the masses of tropical foliage sprouting in
profusion on the banks.
Moriah was the chief village of the Moravians, of whom there were
once well over 4,000 in Tobago.
From Moriah to Les Coteaux the drive is very picturesque, winding
about between hills on which Indian corn, vegetables of all kinds, some
sugar and cocoa is planted. It is quite a different type of scenery from
other parts of the Island. Most of the hilltops are bare, for nearly all the
timber was felled here when sugar held sway. This area was one of the worst
hit by hurricane FLORA, but the scenery is gradually recovering.
From Les Coteaux you return via the Providence River and Govern-
ment House to Scarborough.
DRIVE No. 4. SCARBOROUGH TO OLD GRANGE TOWER AND
THE BUCCOO REEF
Leaving Scarborough, you start off on the south-west road and go up the
Orange Hill road which passes close to Patience Hill, from where there is
a beautiful view of Scarborough and the Fort. Then go along the top of
the ridge through Prospect Estate and soon start to descend, past Mont-
gomery and the Grange Tower and on to Buccoo Bay. The tower is an
old windmill which is now used as a residence. From the knoll on which it
is placed, or from the Police Station near by. you can see the Buccoo Reef
in the distance and below is spread a forest of gold-green glorn-thousands
of palm trees soaking lazily in the breeze like a leafy carpet.
Bucc o Bay is the starting-off point for the reef. but arrangements
inmut be made beforehand for a boat. Your hotel management can make
the InrLc.sars arrangements. It is necessary to go to the reef at low tide, so
>our trip must be timed accordingly. This outing is one which should
certainly be made if possible. It is very beautiful, and if you have never
,stcn the bottom of the sea through a rmisk you will be pleasantly thrilled
and astonished. Take a picnic basket \with you and make a day of it.
A word, however, about clothing. Do not wear only a bathing suit
when you go on the reef. Wear an old shirt, as the sun is hot and there is
no shade on the reef. Also. ear canvas shoes, being more practical than
other kinds. After seeing the fish on the reef you will feel like having a
drink and lur h.
If allanged bleforlehand and the necessary permission obtained, you
(an start oil for the ricef fromn the Golden Grove Point instead of Buccoo,
and at this spot you can hleae your lunch basket in safety, picnic and swim.
It is a glorious placebo foi sulch a pastime, for the sand shelves sharply from
the point so that you ian, if you wish, dive straight into almost six feet of
\\atcr from thte beach. Short palm trees shade you from the sun, and you
might well imagine yourself in the South Sea Islands, with the lagoon on
one side and the Bi t coo Reef ion the other, street thing round the horizon
Inio a attlle of somen two miles, completely enclosing you from the outer
iiiia. \oU can also l.te fromll the Qlueen lBee Chlu
()ii embarking, th boat takes soii to a point where you can step out
of the boat straight onl to the ltef. A stop .it Nylon PIool ,on the way is well
Swolth w while.
Back again to the point for lunch or tea (or perhaps something a trifle
stronger and then back to Scarborough. And so to bed, and after this
outtilig \ou will sleep soundly.
It is not really necessary for you to go via the Orange Hill Road on
,our way to the reef, but it is rather pleasant to obtain this view and to
see the reef from afar before you actually go on it.
The charges made by the boatmen to the Buccoo Reef are $3.50 per
head from the Queen Bee Club or $5.00 from Pigeon Point.
on the beach in
Bata carries the widest range of
footwear for the beach . .and
for all other occasions too.
This tropical barefoot Sandal is
cool, comfortable and ideal for
all beach occasions. Visit your
Bata Store in Scarborough
and Roxborough and be in
fashion for the Easter Holidays.
the ideal tropical Sandal
SCARBOROUGH & ROXBOROUGH TOBAGO
DRIVE No. 5. SCARBOROUGH TO GREEN HILL AND
Start on along the Windward Road, up several rivers and turn off at
Mount St. George. The original village was called Georgetown, and was
the first seat of Government in Tobago in 1768, when Tobago first had a
Governor of its own. The Legislative Council and Assembly was opened
here on April 16th of that year under Governor-General Robert Melville.
The capital was, however, transferred to Scarborough in 1769, and prac-
tically no traces of the original Georgetown are left.
Uphill now, with the view opening out more and more as you approach
Green Hill. All this part is heavily wooded, and you get your first impression
of what to expect in the northern end of Tobago. Down in the valley,
towards Green Hill, is a very fine waterfall which cascades into perfect
On into the heart of the mountains, with the road twisting and turning
like a corkscrew, you come to Caledonia. It was here that Governor
Ferguson surrendered Tobago to the French in 1781 in a house called "The
Retreat". It was only coincidence that this famous retreat should have ended
at this house, for it was named before, and not after, the event. There is
nothing left of the house but a few pillars. The house on a knoll to the left
is of more recent origin.
Winding down, skirting the base of the Main Ridge, you might well
think that you were no longer in an island, as the sea, although a thousand
feet below, is no longer visible. Another of the little bits of variety which
Tobago gives you.
Eventually you come out at Mason Hall, and run back to Scarborough
via Government House.
DRIVE No. 6. SCARBOROUGH TO SPEYSIDE AND MAN-O'-WAR
This is the longest drive of all, and offers some of the finest scenery in
Tobago. Starting again on the Windward Road, do not turn off at Mount
St. George, but continue on the Lower Road along the coast. This road, in
sight of the sea nearly all the way, passes through cuttings and rivers, round
small valleys-along the sheer cliff edge, as the scenery becomes progres-
sively more mountainous.
After passing through the village of Pembroke and Belle Garden you
come out on to the old French Military Road, cut out of the living rock.
Cliffs rise sheer up on your left, and drop straight down into the sea on
your right, while the broad Atlantic Ocean stretches away before you as far
as the eye can see. The French are said to have cut their way through this
rock in a single night.
From the Military Road you drop down on to the flat and pass
through Roxborough, the only town in the Windward district. A large
open roadstead lies to your right, and to your left is the majestic sweep of
the Main Ridge.
After Roxborough you lose sight of the sea for a short while and pass
through Louis d'Or Estate to Delaford. There is a fine view to the left,
just before entering the village, of the Louis d'Or Valley stretching to a
considerable distance into the heavily wooded mountains. There is another
view from the village of Delaford. Below lies King's Bay, in which the
first Lieutenant-Governor of Tobago, Alexander Browne, Esq., landed on
November 12th, 1764. It is the first of the beautiful, semi-circular bays of
this end of Tobago. The waters are clear blue and green, framed by wooded
hills. A long sandy beach lies at the foot of a battalion of palms on the
northern side, beyond which the mountains tower upwards, crowned by
Pigeon Peak, 1,800 feet high.
After leaving Delaford you drop down to sea level and pass through
the coconut plantation you saw from above, then cross King's Bay River,
and upwards steeply through cocoa plantations, obtaining glimpses now
and then of the bay below, until after a two-mile climb you reach the
summit. Here there is a side road which goes to Merchiston. This estate is
owned by Mr. Robert Alefounder. Then, if the bush is not too overgrown
and if you have time, the view at the end of the road is well worth seeing.
The road is a secondary one and therefore somewhat rough, but the grade
is very gradual and is firm enough when dry. The height at the far end is
837 feet above sea level, and on a clear day Trinidad can be seen clearly
in the far distance, with the coast of Tobago stretching away, bay after bay,
towards it. The Atlantic sweeps away before you to the east, while to the
north-west is the grand panorama of the Main Ridge, capped by Pigeon
Peak, with lesser ridges running down from it towards the sea.
MAN 0' WAR BAY
GOOD FISHING SEA-BATHING BOATING etc.
IDEAL FOR CHILDREN
$8.00 per day
$7.00 per day
$6.00 per day
under a week
over a week
a month or over
Prices are subject to alteration
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all other Classes of Insurance
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OVERMAN. THOMAS & CO. LTD.
"Highmoor", Scarborough, Tobago
The Duke of Mantua once owned this estate, but there is nothing left
of the Great House save a few drip-stones, some crumbling bricks, and a
half-buried pile of empty champagne bottles!
A coach-and-four once traversed the road over which you have come,
carrying My Lady of Merchiston on her journeyings. An old servant, Polly
Arthur by name (now dead), was a freed slave on this estate and saw the
coach go thundering by on many occasions. Imagine the brakes and drags
screaming in protest as the coach, with the horses straining back on the
harness, went clattering down the hill!
Returning to the main road and continuing your journey, one of the
finest views in Tobago opens out: Speyside or Tyrell's Bay.
Here is a vantage point, where visitors can rest, have their picnic
lunches and enjoy the view surpassing all views.
A wide half-moon bay, with a string of small islands across the mouth,
collectively called Goat Island or Little Paradise, on the centre portion
of which nestles a white house. Beyond is Little Tobago (Bird of Paradise
or Ingram Island), and dotted round the entrance to the bay are rocks and
reefs with the white foam spraying up around them.
The currents, seen from this height of 600 feet, show up clearly as
they swirl past the islands, and the colours in the waters range through
all the greens from deepest emerald to palest aquamarine. The bay is
24 fathoms deep in the centre, being shaped like a funnel. On the landward
side of the bay is a long strip of sand, with the breakers sprawling up it,
fringed with palms and backed by the mountains, with Pigeon Peak once
more towering majestically over all.
The scene spread beneath your eyes reminds one of Peter Pan, and
you can imagine that you are in the "House in the Treetops", looking down
on the world of mortals. How glorious if one could, like Wendy, spread
one's arms and swoop out over the waters, just as the man-o'-war birds do!
Come back to earth and roll down the two miles of hill in your man-
made car until you reach the village of Speyside on the shores of the bay.
Up another long hill, steeper than the last, out of sight of the sea,
but with wonderful scenery of wooded slopes. Trees of all kinds, chief
among them being the immortelle. This fine tree is planted purposely to
shade the cocoa, and when it flowers, in February, it is a mass of reddish-
gold which gives a vivid splash of colour to the prevailing green.
At 600 feet you have reached the crest of the hill and the top of the
Speyside Estate, and as you start to descend you see the last, and the
greatest, of Tobago's harbours, Man-o'-War Bay. This is a corruption of
Jan van Vear, who owned the lands around the bay. These lands now
comprise the Charlotteville Estate and have been in the Turpin family for
It is one of the finest natural harbours in the West Indies, being nearly
two miles across and a mile from entrance to centre, with a depth of water
of 40 fathoms at the mouth. There are no obstructions, and a ship can come
up to within a hundred yards of the shore in 10 fathoms.
IDEAL BATHING AND ONE OF THE SCENIC SPOTS
IN THE CARIBBEAN
LIMPID LAGOON WATERS SHELTERED BY CORAL REEFS
PALM THATCHED SHELTERS AND JETTY
IDEAL FOR CHILDREN PICNICS etc.
The full sweep of the bay cannot be seen from the road. You would
have to go to Signal Hill by the Lighthouse on your right in order to obtain
a clear view. The road to Signal Hill is a secondary one and runs in for
about two miles. If the weather is dry it can be negotiated by a car, but
if there has been heavy rain it is best not to try it as you may get stuck.
The view from the end is magnificent, and you can see from the Sisters
right round past the Giles to Little Tobago (see map inside Song).
Steep, rugged ridges run down into the sea, breaking up the coastline
into bays and coves, chief among which is Pirate's Bay, on the east side.
This can be seen from the road, an arc of deep emerald water fringed by
thick bush, and it can only be reached comfortably by boat.
A long sandy beach runs round the south side of Man-o'-War Bay,
with the village of Charlotteville (the largest village in Tobago) scattered
all over the hillside down to the water's edge.
To the west is Hermitage Estate, and the village of Campbell Town,
both of which can be reached by car or by boat.
The whole picture is grand and entrancing, and must be seen to be
The return journey is made over the same route, for there is no driving
road at present encircling the Island. However, it is planned to complete
the Leeward Road to link with Charlotteville and Scarborough.
DRIVE No. 7. PIGEON POINT
Pigeon Point is on the south-west comer of the Island. You drive along the
coast from Scarborough, passing the Race Course and continuing to the
end of the Milford Road. On reaching Milford Beach (Store Bay), branch
off to the right on a road running through the coconut plantation belonging
to Bon Accord Estate.
The road winds along a track, with the sea on your left, until suddenly
you arrive at the Aquatic Club on Pigeon Point, with the wonderful spread
of green-blue water encircled by the Buccoo Reef.
This is one of the most magnificent bathing places in the West Indies.
It is a repetition of Store Bay but with the added attraction of absolutely
calm waters owing to the reef. A small pier juts out into the sea from the
pure white sand of the beach, and there are bathing huts placed along
the beach. All the huts arc thatched with palm leaves and made to blend
with the tropical scenery as much as possible, and are most attractive.
This is the great meeting-place for residents and visitors alike, and although
I have included it among "Drives and Outings" it is the type of place that,
if you are staying at the southern end of the Island, you are likely to visit
more than once. On Sunday mornings the Aquatic Club is the local social
Any of the hotels will give you information about this club at Pigeon
Point, and a ticket, costing one dollar per head, has to be presented at
COAL DEPOT COMPANY Inc
PORT OF SPAIN TRINIDAD
P. O. Box 89
Telephones: 34716 & 34366
Canadian Pacif Steamshps
The "White Empress" fleet. Regular sailings
between Montreal and Liverpool with Cruises
to the Caribbean during the winter months.
Regular sailings from New York, Philadelphia
& Miami to Trinidad via Curacao, Aruba, La
Guayra and Puerto Cabello: accepting general
and refrigerated cargoes.
Tobago's great attractions are her many beautiful beaches. Along most
of the coastline one comes across some beautiful spots-just perfect for
picnicking and a "dip". Among the most popular are:
STORE BAY, near the Crown Point Hotel-just eight miles from
Scarborough. Not far away is the famous PIGEON POINT-which is called
"The Aquatic Club". Tickets can be obtained at any of the hotels or from
the "man at the gate" for a dollar per person. Here the sand is a golden
colour and it feels good just to sit in the sun and absorb its warmth-then
plunge into the calm water and idly float into a world of peace and then
It was here that our famous Princess Margaret spent her honeymoon.
In these lovely waters she threw off all the cares and worries of her world,
and enjoyed the most peaceful and lovely holiday. It was here that many
"shots" were taken by film companies. Three pictures were made in
Tobago: Fire Down Below, with Rita Hayworth; Heaven Knows Mr.
Allison, starring Deborah Kerr and Bob Mitchum; and the latest was the
famous Swiss Family Robinson by the Disney Film Co. During these times
this little Island prospered-but it is back again to its peaceful and relaxed
atmosphere, which is its greatest asset.
Another wonderful spot is the GOLDEN GROVE LAGOON. This is private
land, and so one has to get permission from the owners, Mr. and Mrs.
Frank Latour. The hotels will tell you how to go about this. It is a drive
right through their private estate, but when one gets to the Point-with the
lagoon on one side and the calm inviting sea on the other side-this is
truly "Paradise Regained"! Not "Lost"!
Still on the western side of the Island, one comes to a very secluded
and private beach called BACK BAY. It is about 81 miles from Scarborough.
MOUNT IRVINE between GRAFTON then COURLAND BAYS. The road runs
parallel with these bays. Then to the Amos Vale Hotel, with their own
private beach attached to the hotel. One has to be a guest staying there or
get permission from the owners of the hotel to use this beach.
Back on the eastern side, there is a long stretch of beautiful hard
sandy beach called PETIT TRU. In the old days races used to be held here,
till a proper race course was built. Goat Races are sometimes held here
and at Buccoo-at Easter and on August 1st. This is a sport not known
anywhere else in the world-only Tobago would think of doing a thing
like that! At these Goat Races there is an interlude, and the latest sport
is Crab Racing! Naturally, they go in all directions, much to the delight
of the onlookers. Great betting goes on both with goats and crabs!
One gets nearer to Scarborough now. One can bathe opposite the
Robinson Crusoe Hotel-and a little farther on at the Coconut Grove.
In fact, most of the beaches offer a "pleasant dip". Then there are private
swimming pools at three of the hotels-the Crown Point, Bluehaven and
the Amos Vale.
Coming out of Scarborough towards the northern end on the Wind-
ward Road there is the beautiful HOPE BEACH with rollers coming in con-
tinually. As one can see, this is more for paddling as it is very shallow for
quite a way out.
On along the coast we come to the BELLE GARDEN BEACH. This is a bit
off the main road. The sand seems very much darker along these coasts.
Then on to Roxborough and Speyside, passing through the private estate
at King's Bay. There is a very picturesque waterfall here. Permission is
gladly given by the owners. All beautiful bays, but privately owned, as the
estates run right up to the beaches along here.
Finally, at the extreme end of the Island one comes to one of the most
magnificent bays in the West Indies--MAN-O'-WAR BAY, which has the most
perfect little secluded bathing beach, PIRATE'S BAY. Permission has to be
obtained from the owners of the Charlotteville Estate to go there. It is
best to cross over in a boat-as it is a steep walk, via a path that has been
cut along the edge, and one has to be a good climber to get to the beach
There are many other beautiful beaches in the Island, but one has to
explore to find them. This is a very interesting and adventurous pastime
-just exploring this unspoilt and romantic Island of Tobago. Come and
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'hell collecting is quite a healthy outdoor pursuit. This Section
is written for the amateur wishing to know something of the
,hells he picks up on the beaches of Tobago. I am by no means a
conchologist, but I have enjoyed collecting shells and have got
to know many of the names with the help of shell friends and
books. When I first became interested, I used to send most of my
shells to a well-known conchologist in Florida, who very kindly
classified them for me. On one of these occasions I sent a shell
that he did not have in his collection, so he named it after me-
Voluta Musica Alfordi, a very handsome shell sometimes caught
in traps in shallow water. The shells one picks up on beaches are
known as "dead" shells; the animals that once lived in them are
there no longer. Collectors are only interested in live specimens,
with their colours unfaded and polished naturally.
These are in two halves, hinged, opening like a book.
COQUINA or "Butterfly Shell" (Donax variabilis), called "Chip-chips" in
Trinidad. These come up with the tide on some beaches. Small; about
three-quarters of an inch long; some have radiating bands, in different
colours. In Trinidad (Manzinilla Beach) they come out of the sand at mid-
water line by thousands: they are often made into a chowder or curried,
and are delicious.
TURKEY WING (Arca Occidentalis). Sometimes called "Noah's Ark"
shell. Two to four inches in length; also a bivalve; hinged; with colourful
sort of tigerish streaks zigzagging across the shell. Many "dead" ones are
found on beaches.
AMERICAN BITTERSWEET (Glycymeris americanus). Size, about an inch
or so; it is round and smooth and is creamy white with yellowish-brown
JEWEL BOX (Chama macerophylla or Chama Sarda). An oyster-like
bivalve-about three inches in length, the "Sarda" being smaller. This shell
is generally attached to other shells or bits of coral; the colours vary from
pinks and yellows; some have frilly scaley-like formations. Plentiful on
Pigeon Point Beach when the tide comes in.
COCKLES (Cardium). These vary in size and variety. Some are speckled
and heavily ridged. The ones found on beaches are usually very bleached
with hardly any colour left.
SCALLOPS (Pectens). Not a very common shell. Sometimes found on
Pigeon Point Beach. A flattish bivalve with reddish spots on a whitish
background. The "wings" are generally unequal in size. A very pretty little
shell about an inch long.
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BABY'S TOOTH, BLEEDING TOOTH (Nerita). Hundreds of them found holding
on to rocks between tides. The Baby's Tooth is usually vari-coloured and
has tiny little "teeth" at the entrance. The Bleeding Tooth is larger and
has a reddish stain where the "teeth" are. Plentiful up at the north end;
Speyside and Bateau Bay (this latter is a private beach).
PEEP-HOLE (KEY-HOLE) LIMPET (Diodora listeri). Easily picked out, as
it is a limpet with a hole in the centre. I should say it is the most common
of all Tobago shells; found on nearly every beach. It is with this limpet
that shell work is done.
COWRIEs. These are either small or large. The small yellow or brown
ones are about an inch in length; while the larger variety, the MEASLED
cowiy, is a handsome fellow of three or four inches long, strongly spotted
often in rings. This shell in the good old days used to be used as a "darning"
shell, as it is smooth with a high polish. The "teeth" are ridged down the
centre of the shell (like a hair parting).
COFFEE BEAN (Trivia pediculus). This little univalve is like a tiny cowry
with six spots, in pairs, on the dorsal surface. It is only half an inch in
length. It is rather dull and not so polished as the Measled Cowry.
FLAMINGO TONGUE (Cyphoma gibbosa). This little gastroped is often
white and bleached when found on the beach. The live ones are orange,
with a spotted orange-coloured animal inside. The shell is long and
narrow, about one inch in length, with a hump in the centre extending
squarely across it.
BABY BONNET (Cypraecassis testiculus). A really lovely and exciting
shell to pick up. It is one of the Helmet shells, and is two or three inches
in length. Its colour is pinkish-buff, mottled especially near the margin
MAGPIE SHELL (Livona pica). Another very handsome shell with
beautiful mother-of-pearl inside. The colour is black, heavily splashed
with zigzag markings of white. About three to five inches in diameter.
Many "dead" ones are found buried in gardens not far from the sea.
These are called Whelks, and are often curried by the local inhabitants.
GREEN STAR SHELL (Astraea Tuber). This shell also has a lovely mother-
of-pearl inside. The green colours are most attractive when first picked up
on the beach. About two or three inches in length; shaped like a turban.
LITTLE MOTTLED DOVE SHELL (Pyrene mercatoria). Size: half-inch; grey
in colour, mottled with purple or brown. This short and blunt little shell
has a long and narrow aperture. Many hundreds of these shells can be
collected in a few minutes-when the tide comes in. Plentiful up at the
north end of Tobago (Speyside).
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WIDE-MOUTHED DYE SHELL (Purpura patula). Length about three inches.
A dull brown in colour; the interior salmon pink. The aperture is very
large and has a thin lip. It lives close to the shore; often seen in numbers
on the rocks. It gives off a purplish ink when picked up alive, which is
difficult to remove.
CONES (Conus Mus [Mouse], Conus Regius and others). Shaped like
cones with aperture long and narrow. Mouse Cone has a distinct line
across the centre, a dull greyish colour. Conus Regius is mottled, generally
with brown like marble. Very attractive shell.
PARTRIDGE SHELL (Tonna Maculosa). Size: about five to eight inches.
Colour: a pale rich brown, heavily mottled with darker shades. The shell
is thin and the aperture is very large.
VIOLET SNAIL (Janthina Janthina). A lovely shade of violet; two-toned,
pale violet above and deep purple below; small, about one and a half
inches long. Thin and fragile.
Besides the Voluta Musica Alfordi as previously mentioned, there is
the Voluta Musica Tipica. The difference between the two is that in the
former the nodules are more raised. Both markings-like bars of music-
are the same. Size: about three inches.
MUREX (Brevifrons). Not easily found. Size: around four inches. It is
a greyish-white with yellow and brown. A spiky shell, but exciting to find.
Now for a couple of large shells:
THE HELMET SHELL (cassis Tuberosa). Large and heavy; triangular from
below. About nine inches in length. Colour: buffy or rufus yellow; mottled
and blotched with various shades of brown.
CONCHS (Strombus Gigas)-Queen Conch. The largest of this family.
About a foot in length. At Buccoo there is a pile with hundreds of "dead"
conch shells. The colours are wonderfully still there even with the sun
blazing down on them. The interior is a beautiful rose-pink. Several gardens
are decorated with these shells. Many visitors want to take home some
beautiful Conchs, but most husbands lift up their eyes in horror-extra
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Birds of Tobago
These are only a few notes on some of the birds of Tobago, as
space is limited. Mention is made only of the common ones found
(a) by the roadside; (b) farther inland and on mountain paths;
and (c) sea and water birds.
Every visitor to Tobago just must see our beautiful KING-CF-THE-WOODS or
MOT-MOT. His call is a low-noted "Hoot" and he also has a purring sort of
sound, which can only be heard at close quarters. The colouring is a
metallic mixture of green and bronze on the body, a brilliant turquoise-blue
patch on the top of the head, a russet-brown breast with two little black
dots in the centre. The outstanding part of this beautiful bird is its tail;
it is as long as the body and just an inch above the end is a bare patch.
Some believe that the bird plucks out these feathers, but this is not so.
It is amusing to see it move from side to side like the pendulum of a clock.
These birds can easily be tamed to come and eat very near a house if food
is constantly put out for them. The Mot-Mot is a fairly large bird, about
fourteen to fifteen inches in length. They build their nests in the banks
by the roadside, as do so many brightly plumaged birds.
Another of Tobago's little gems is the JACAMAR. This is a smallish
bird of only ten inches long, including the long bill and tail. His plumage
is very much like the Mot-Mot, and he also builds his nest in the banks
by the roadside. He has a longish beak, and feeds on flies and insects,
darting from his perch and returning to the same place. His call is a high-
pitched thrilly sort of whistle, as he moves his head from side to side. His
body is a greenish-copper, with a white throat, and rich buff under-parts
including the tail. The chest is chestnut brown. The Jacamar is not quite
so easily tamed to come for tit-bits as is the Mot-Mot.
The cocRIco or RUFOUS-TAILED GUAN. (This is now one of the National
Birds, together with the SCARLET IBIS of Trinidad.) This bird does not occur
in Trinidad but is plentiful in Venezuela. It is the only game bird we have
here, and is often called the Tobago Pheasant, and is protected. It is about
fifteen inches in length and is a slaty colour and a long rufous brown tail.
It has red around the sides of the mouth, and can open its tail like a
peacock when preening itself. They generally go in flocks of six to eight
and call to each other from different trees. A very good eating bird but
getting rather scarce, due to their almost all being shot out before the war.
CORN BIRD (Cacique), commonly called the "Yellow-Tail" or some-
times the "Hang-Nest", is seventeen inches in size. It is a Troupial and
builds its nest in colonies hanging from the ends of palm fronds or immor-
telle trees. The body is darkish, appearing black with a brown tinge at the
end. The most conspicuous parts of this bird are its bright yellow tail and
yellow beak. It is rather destructive to corn plantations and is shot by
many irate gardeners. Its call is very musical, it sounds like "Da-da-da-
dah" repeated three times and accompanied by a flapping of the wings,
while turning itself upside down, on the bough of a tree. At dusk they are
often seen flying to their homes in flocks of thirty or forty at the north
end of the Island.
The AMl-sometimes called the "Tick Bird" or "Old Witch". It is a
black bird about fourteen inches in length, and has a peculiar parrot-like
beak and rather short wings and long tail. It is usually seen in company
with cattle, and they go about in flocks of six to eight crying out a long
whistle that sounds like "Sweet"-a rather noisy bird.
The MOCKING BIRD is also locally called "Day Clean". It is nearly
always the first bird to start the day off with its singing. It rings the changes
continually and doesn't seem to copy any other bird, but has its own songs.
The colour is a dull whitish-grey, darker on the wings, which it sometimes
opens and closes continually. Seen nearly everywhere in Tobago. It is
related to the Thrushes.
The BARE-EYED or GOLDEN-EYED THRUSH. Not a very big bird-about
nine inches long with a dullish olive colour-but is conspicuous by its
bright circle around the eyes. It also is one of the first callers in the early
dawn with a loud "Tooree-too" repeated continually. It builds its nest in
bushes or twigs tidily put together-generally laying three eggs in a clutch.
This bird is rather deceptive as it has more than one call, and it is interest-
ing to track it down.
Tobago's Blue Bird or TANAGER is bluer and larger than the Trinidad
variety. The breast and under-parts are a lighter shade than the back.
Among the Flycatchers, the KING BIRD is the commonest. It has a
yellow breast and is often seen sitting on telegraph wires. It flies off, catching
insects, and returns to its original perch-fascinating to watch.
The little SUCCRIER or "Sugar Bird" is a friendly little fellow. It builds
its nests generally very close to a dwelling-house in some hanging ferns
or bushes near by. As its name indicates it loves sweet things, often being
daring enough to come right on to a sugar basin on the table! Usually it
is seen sucking the nectar out of the back of hibiscus flowers. He is a chatty
little fellow, and always looks very busy flitting from stem to stem. They
make several nests before deciding on the final one in which to lay the eggs.
The male is also known to make nests which are often only used for sleeping.
A pair may have three or four nests at once.
The little HOTSE or VENEZUEI.AN WREN, sometimes called the "God-
Bird", is another \ery busy little bird. They generally build their nests in
ledges under houses and often insist on coming right into a house to build
-much to the annoyance of housewives. Their song is one of the sweetest
and loudest in Tobago, even though they are not brightly coloured.
The GRACKLE. This is a shiny black bird, about ten inches long, with
an outstanding bright eye It has an extraordinary tail which is keel-shaped.
They come round a house for tit-bits, all shouting together, and sometimes
come right into the house and wait to be fed. They are rather a nuisance
when one is trying to tame the beautiful King-of-the-Woods to come and
eat near by; these noisy Grackles chase them all away. The female is slightly
off-black and smaller.
HUMMING BIRDS. These little "beauties" should have a chapter all to
themselves. They are not difficult to spot, as one sees them in nearly every
garden-flitting from flower to flower. The usual ones seen are the
EMERALD and the RUBY. It is difficult to distinguish the sexes, but often
one comes across one of their beautifully built nests, generally between
forks of either rose bushes or hibiscus. It is the humming sound that attracts
the attention of the bird-watcher. It is the only bird that can go into reverse,
and the speed with which it darts across a valley is most breath-taking.
Birds not often seen by the roadside are:
The RED-BELLIED TROGON. The head and upper-parts are dark green;
wing coverts grey; throat black with a white ring; and belly bright red.
The tail is checkered, while the bill is yellow, eyes red, and legs are yellow.
Quite a lot of colouring if seen close up or through strong binoculars. Seen
up in the woodlands.
Another brightly coloured elusive little bird is the BLUE-BACKED
MANAKIN. A dumpy little black bird with a bright red crown and turquoise-
blue wing coverts and back; legs red. If lucky one can see it in thick
bushes, or can track it down by its loud clear whistle.
The BUSH SHRIKE, or "Cocoa Bird". The male is quite a different
colouring from the female, which is rufous. He is checkered, black and
white, and both have top-knots. Their call is likened to either laughing or
stuttering, and, while calling, the tail wags up and down continually.
The TOBAGO PARROT is green with orange patches on the wings. It is
generally seen flying in pairs, the wing beats being short and rapid.
The BONAPARTE WOODPECKER has a loud, resonant call, and is generally
seen running up coconut trees. Its colouring is a bright red patch on top
of the head, with a black-and-white checkered body. In another variety,
sometimes called "Carpenter Birds" or "Tree Climbers", both male and
female are plain rufous.
SPINETAIL. A small rufous coloured bird, often seen picking over fallen
leaves, with a resounding call of what sounds like "Me-Too, Me-Too"
repeated continually. Builds a very untidy nest of twigs just put together
roughly, and looks much too big for such a small-sized bird!
There are not many river birds. The usual ones seen by rivers and
on beaches are the Herons or GAULINS. The colouring is a slaty blue,
while the young and immature ones are usually pure dazzling white. There
are also the BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT HERON and the YELLOW-CROWNED NIGHT
HERON. These appear to have a mask by the eyes and a plume half-way
down the back of the neck.
Sometimes seen on beaches or river mouths are Waders such as the
YELLOWLEGS, TURNSTONES, STINTS, SANDPIPERS and SANDERLINGS. An odd
Plover, and there used to be a few Ducks-that was in the days when
Tobago had a few swamps, which have since been cleared up, making
Tobago a much healthier place to live in!
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First we have the PELICAN, with his large beak and pouch in which he
stores his fish. It is always amusing to watch the Pelican dive into the sea;
then (if he is lucky) he throws up his head and lets the fish slither down
into his pouch. Often one sees a seagull pounce down and try to grab away
the fish before it has time to go down the hatch.
The most graceful sea bird is the MAN-O'-WAR or FRIGATE BIRD. It has a
wing span of nearly six feet, and is seen gliding through the air, sometimes
very high up. It has a fork tail which opens and shuts while flying. There
is a large colony of sea birds to be seen on the Giles Rocks at the north
end of Tobago. It is quite an expedition to get on these rocks, as the tides
are nearly always very tricky around there. The BLACK-HEADED SEAGULL or
LAUGHNG GULL is often seen here, as well as TERNS, the ROYAL TERN being
one of the most common. The ROSEATE TERN is sometimes seen, but not
often. BOOBIES are also very common on the Giles Rocks, but the most
attractive sea bird is the RED-BILLED TROPIC BIRD, seen probably on Bird of
Paradise Island or Little Tobago. It has a long flowing white tail, twice
the size of the body, which is also white. They nest in the rocks on a very
steep cliff on the north-east end of the Island. BIRDS OF PARADISE are
described in the chapter following.
An amusing tale is told of:
HOW THE PELICAN GOT ITS LARGE BEAK
When God was creating the earth and all the birds, etc., He by
error gave the Pelican's large beak to the Seagull and vice versa.
The poor little Seagull could hardly fly with the heavy burden as
a beak, so he arranged to exchange beaks with the Pelican, who
had been given the Seagull's small beak by mistake. The terms of
the exchange were that the Pelican, after getting the large beak,
would give half of his fishing catch to the Seagull. That is why
you will always see the Seagulls hovering around the Pelican and
crying "HALF! HALF!" to remind the Pelican of the agreement.
GREATER BIRD OF PARADISE-Paradisea apoda OF LINNAEUS
Bird of Paradise Island
This island, also known as Little Tobago or Ingram Island, is
the only place in the world where Birds of Paradise have been
acclimatised and can be seen wild outside of the region centring
in New Guinea to which they are indigenous. In 1909 Sir William
Ingram, who then owned Little Tobago, brought twenty-six pairs
of Birds of Paradise (Paradisea apoda of Linnaeus, the Greater
Bird of Paradise) from Dutch New Guinea and set them free on
the island. In 1929, after the death of Sir William Ingram, his
sons presented the island to the Government of Trinidad and
Tobago, on condition that it was kept as a bird sanctuary and that
provision was made for the preservation of the Birds of Paradise.
These conditions have been faithfully kept, and a small grant is
allowed yearly for the upkeep of the birds.
Little Tobago is star-shaped, about a mile long, and is thickly wooded. It
rises to a height of nearly 500 feet above sea level and has an area of some
450 acres, and lies about a mile and a half from Speyside-on-Sea on the
north-east corner of Tobago.
The island is not too well supplied with water, although other birds
on the island appear to have survived droughts; but in order that there
should not be any question of a lack of water, a tank was built at the rear
of a bungalow, situated about half-way up, and water is caught from the
roof. Bottles have been placed on platforms in the trees, in an inverted
position with the neck :n a small basin. The bottles are filled with water
and automatically syphon down into the basin as the birds drink the water.
A guest house and the caretaker's house were built in 1957. Also a concrete
jetty on the beach which is seldom used, unfortunately. There are two
400-gallon drums with pipes leading to different parts of the island, which
provide additional water for the birds.
Fruit trees have been planted specially for the birds, so that they can
have the food to which they were accustomed in their own land, and hawks
are shot whenever seen. (Oh foolish hawk, who, through your bloodthirsty
habits, is the only bird not welcome on this beautiful sanctuary!)
A caretaker now lives on the Island of Little Tobago, now named
Ingram Island, after Sir William Ingram, but more commonly called Bird
of Paradise Island, to refill the water bottles, tend the trees, and keep the
paths leading to the nesting grounds clean and tidy.
Visitors take a boat from Speyside and are landed in a small bay on
the west side of the island. A path mounts steeply from the bay by a zigzag
route to the bungalow. From here it is advisable for the visitors to split up
into groups of not more than three before going on to the vantage points.
The birds are wild, and therefore timid, and a large party of people is
bound to make a noise when approaching.
BIRD OF PARADISE ISLAND (INA ISLAND)
BIRD OF PARADISE ISLAND (INSRAM ISLAND)
Guides take you along the tracks to the points where the birds are
generally to be found. You will hear them calling. Keep still, and watch
the treetops. A shadowy form sweeps across from one tree to another. Walk
like a woodsman, and try to spy a patch where the sunlight strikes through
the trees. You hear the quaint little call again, and a splash of yellow as a
cock goes overhead. It is the cock bird, of course, who has the glorious
golden plumage. In the bird world it is always the male who is the most
handsome. (Perhaps that is why Miserable Man likes to dress himself up
in uniforms!) The spray of golden feathers, which are long and thin and
like silk to touch, come from under the wings (not the tail), and when
dancing they are thrust upwards by the raising of the wings.
Dancing, however, is a privilege you are not often likely to see. This
is the performance given by the male in front of his admiring circle of
females before mating. A description by a group of privileged visitors of
what may have been the mating dance runs as follows:
Four males were perched on a branch by themselves in a small cl daring,
while the females flew up and down on either side of them continuously,
sometimes swooping in close to their suitors to obtain a better view. The
males uttered loud cries, and then threw up their wings, displaying the full
arc of their magnificent plumage, so that their bodies were covered with a
golden mantle which they kept in a state of vibration. They then proceeded
to strut up and down along the branch in a sort of side-step dance, cocking
up their tails every now and then and displaying their golden side feathers
to the full. Their antics were described as being somewhat humorous, yet
the whole picture was enthralling to watch. Crouching rigidly in the bush,
the visitors watched the performance for a considerable time, and they are
probably some of the few people who have seen it. The time was about
5.30 in the evening in the month of November 1917.
Bird-lovers will appreciate this trip to the full, for here they can visit
their feathered friends, knowing that they are free, well cared for and
protected in a sanctuary which no zoo can rival. There are numerous other
species of bird on the island, including a number of domestic fowls gone
wild! These were imported by an old man who lived there years ago and
left them behind after his departure. They survived and multiplied, with
the result that they can now look with pity on their less fortunate brothers
and sisters ashore.
The Government make a small charge of 50 cents to land on the
island, which helps towards the grant given for the upkeep of the birds.
Information concerning the hire of a boat to go to the island can be
obtained from The Permanent Secretary's Office, Tobago Affairs, Scar-
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The Flowers of Tobago
by MAJOR CHARLES D. GREGSON
This short account of the wild flowers of this Island of Tobago is
intended to be concerned only with the trees, shrubs, vines, herbs,
etc., that are, so far as the writer knows, truly indigenous to the
Island, with the exception of a few odd plants, once imported, but
growing so naturally for so long as to be looked upon as now truly
wild. However, to a newcomer or visitor there are to be seen so
many beautiful plants throughout the Island that it becomes
necessary to make a very short mention of those that are not
indigenous. When this is done we can, without further preamble,
move to our truly wild plants.
The visitor arriving here during the winter months will gaze with delight
upon the steep slopes of the innumerable valleys in which cocoa is being
cultivated and in which occur masses of the two trees, the Swamp Immor-
telle (Erythrina glauca), in bright salmon, at the lower levels, and the
Mountain Immortelle (Erythrina micropterix), a rich scarlet, higher up,
both used as shade trees for the cocoa beneath them. Two other trees
commonly used for the same purpose are the Nicaraguan cocoa shade tree
(Gliricidia sepium), carrying long sprays, densely crowded, of lilac-coloured,
pea-like flowers, and the Cow Tamarind or Saman (Pithecellobium
saman), a native of Central America but established here now for over a
century, a large spreading tree with handsome deeply cut leaves and pink
flowers, the stamens of which are the showy part as they stand up erect and
look like small circular brushes.
Other trees which cannot fail to attract attention in their season are
the Flamboyant (Delonix regia), a native of Madagascar but to be seen
commonly today throughout all tropical regions, with its masses of scarlet
flowers coming into bloom before the new leaves appear; the Tulip tree
(Spathodea campanulata) of West Africa with its bunches of cup-shaped
flowers of a brick-red tint in the summer months; and Peltophorum ferru-
gineum with its upright spikes of bright yellow flowers and its reddish-brown
sprays of seed pods and of young leaves which succeed the flowers. There
are two fine specimens of this tree at the lower covers of the Market
Square in Scarborough. Several Cassias-yellow or pink or apple-blossom.
In addition to these imported trees there are, of course, numerous
shrubs, etc., which are grown in private gardens. To mention but a few,
there are the many varieties of Hibiscus, the Allamandas, Cape Jasmine
(Gardenia jasminoides), Purple Allamanda (Cryptostegia grandiflora), the
white and pale blue varieties of the vine (Thunbergia grandiflora) from
India; and its near relative, Black-eyed Susan (Th. alata), orange with
a black throat; the Lady of the Night (Cestrum nocturnum), with its sprays
of small greeny-coloured flowers-nothing to look at but so sweet at night;
the Moon Flower (Ipomoea bona-nox), a vine with very large pure white
flowers of the common Convolvulus type and also very sweet-scented at
night; the Ixoras of different shades from common crimson through red,
pink and yellow to white; and many, many others. The only book the
writer knows that is published with descriptions of such plants is The
Useful and Ornamental Plants of Trinidad and Tobago by R. O. Williams,
obtainable from the Government Printers in Port-of-Spain.
To go on to the real subject of this article, "The Wild Plants of
Tobago", the writer proposes to take these in alphabetical order of their
genera. It is to be noted that only the more striking and easily seen plants
are remarked upon throughout. This means that many genera that would
be found in any botanical treatise are not even mentioned, just because
they do not happen to contain any species worthy of note to be found in
this Island. The same applies to species of any genus. Many more species
do actually occur in all the genera mentioned, but are left out since the
writer does not consider them of sufficient importance or beauty.
BLACK STICK (Pachystachys coccinea). A handsome herb found under cocoa,
growing about three feet high. The flowers are two-lipped and scarlet, with
protruding yellow anthers. They spring rather close together from a green
cone-shaped terminal spike of leafy bracts. This plant is not by any means
common in Tobago.
MINNIE ROOT (Ruellia tuberosa). A very pretty petunia-shaped flower
of a deep violet-tinted blue. Not above a foot high and very common in
May, June and July in dry pastures and waste ground. In places it is so
thick, making the ground so blue, that one is reminded of the wild hyacinth
of the English woodland glades. There also occurs, not very commonly, a
very pale pink, almost pure white, variety.
Furcraea gigantea. Long, stiff, sword-shaped leaves with sharp spines along
their edges, in rosettes. After a time the plant produces a large central spike
up to twenty-five feet high which bears pretty white hanging bells profusely.
Very like a Yucca on a large scale.
Agave sisalana, the source of Sisal Hemp, a near relative but has not
proved a success in these parts, is now to be found growing wild.
COCOA LILY (Hippeastrum equestre). Flowers in the dry season, the
leaves not appearing till later. A very handsome lily, the flowers are of
the open trumpet shape on a long tube, scarlet shading down the tube
through pale green to yellow and white. Usually two flowers per stalk. A
double form is sometimes found. Not uncommon under coconut trees but
much more plentiful in the north-western and more undisturbed parts of
SPIDER LILY (Hymenocallis declinata). Smooth sword-shaped leaves,
flowers pure white, consisting of a long narrow tube carrying a perianth
of long and narrow segments drooping over. The pollen pouches are gold
and below them the stamens are pale green shading to white at their lower
ends where they merge into a pure white, fringed-edge cup. Found in
various localities, both wet and dry.
WIND FLOWER or WILD CROCUS (Zephyranthes spp.). With narrow rush-
like or grass-like leaves about a foot high, the flowers are white, pink or
yellow and about the same size as, and not unlike, our common crocus.
It flowers at intervals almost throughout the year. A very good stand of
this flower is to be seen on the headland at Plymouth.
The CASHEW NUT TREE (Anacardium occidentale). A medium-sized tree
fairly commonly cultivated in groves for its nuts. The flowers are not very
conspicuous but the ripening red and yellow fruit is striking and a handsome
object as it hangs on the tree.
The HOG PLUM (Spondias mombin). A large and handsome tree quite
common in many parts. Flowers small, white, in loose bunches all over the
tree, and the fruit, about the size of a large date, is a golden colour and
litters the ground when it drops. It makes an excellent jam and is quite
good as stewed fruit, having a tart flavour entirely its own. The natives
make no use of it but their pigs are very fond of it.
APOCYNACEAE (a fairly well-represented genus here)
WILD ALLAMANDA (Allamanda cathartica). Flowers yellow, showy, not so
large as the cultivated species. Is found as a low rambling shrub in wet
places, and also as a fairly strong climber when it has medium-sized trees,
such as Mangroves, to clamber up. Bears blunt-spiny fruits about the size
of an orange.
Mandevilla hirsuta. A fairly common vine. Bears very handsome bright
yellow flowers about three inches in diameter. The tube is about two inches
long and the petals open out wide at the end of the tube and rather flat.
For about one-third of the full extent of the flower, from the tube centre,
the colour is a deep red. The two colours are very distinct from each other,
the shading and blending between the two being very slight. The flowers
are borne in groups but only one flower is open at a time, the rest being
buds in distinct stages of development. A conspicuous object in the bush, as
the flowers show up well in the sunlight on the bushes over which it is
A genus of plants which may be entirely terrestial, half-terrestial, half-
epiphytic, or almost entirely epiphytic. Related to the arums, having the
same type of flower consisting of one large spathe, either white, cream or
yellow, from the base of which rises the large spadix which carries the
seed. Very interesting are the lines or markings on the spadix which show
the divisions between the numerous seed receptacles. Some are perfectly
octagonal like the combs of honey-bees, some consist of lines running
diagonally across and up the spadix, others consist of small square-angled,
dark-coloured oblongs running in the same way, up and diagonally. These
markings are best seen when the spadix is but half ripe.
Terrestial species are Spathiphyllum cannaefolium, found on the banks
of streams. This carries a large spathe which is pure white on the face and
green on the back. And Montrichardia Sp., which consists of a single stem
growing up to twelve feet or so in height, the spathe of which is a cream
colour. This is found in very wet ground under coconut trees or on the
edges of swamps.
Epiphytic, or growing in the first instance from the ground and
becoming epiphytic as soon as they reach high enough up the trees, are
Monstera pertusa and Montrichardia arborescens. The former bears very
large leaves which are curiously perforated by holes of various sizes, running
more or less parallel with the main veins of the leaves. The latter has smaller
leaves which are without these perforations. Both are very common.
BIGNONIACEAE (a large, well-represented genus)
The CAT'S CLAW CREEPER (Bignonia Unguis-Cati). A truly magnificent vine
which covers the whole of large trees and hangs down outside them in dense
festoons. During March and April it is really a breath-taking sight, for the
whole of the tree becomes one mass of glowing richest gold. The pity is
that the flowering period is so very short, lasting for each vine only some
three days or so. The new leaves appear after the flowering is over.
YELLOW POUI (Tecoma serratifolia and glomerata). These are two
medium-sized trees hardly distinguishable from each other. Both give the
same effect when in flower, which occurs during the dry season before the
new growth of leaves appears. They are a beautiful sight when in full
flower, being quite covered with trusses of medium-sized trumpet-shaped
golden flowers. A single tree standing out by itself above the surrounding
vegetation is a lovely sight and can be seen from a long distance off.
Unhappily, this tree is also in flower for a very short period. A tree may
be in full flower one day, and the next day not a blossom is to be seen.
There is a saying in the Island that the rains will not begin until the poui
has flowered three times in succession.
A genus of epiphytic or air-plants occurring on large trees, sometimes in
great numbers. They consist of long sword-shaped leaves all arising from
the base of the plant, and a central flowering spike. Saman and Immortelle
trees are favourite hosts for the larger kinds, but the smaller species may
be found on bamboos and any other kind of host which will give sufficient
support. Some of them bear very handsome flowering spikes, though what
look to be flowers are really coloured bracts surrounding the rather insig-
nificant true flowers.
The largest of them all is the Hohenbergia stellata. This may be seen
growing on large trees at all heights. The large scarlet bracts situated on
the stems below each flowering spikelet are the showy part of this plant.
The spikelets bearing green bracts which nearly hide the real flowers, in
bunches, arise from the upper end of the main spike. The flowers are
smaller tubular affairs in colour yellow, with chocolate anthers. The large
leaves are strongly spined all along their outer edges.
The next largest is the Wittmachia lingulata. While the last species
may be found at all lower levels, its place at the higher levels is taken by
this one. The spike is crimson from about half-way up its full length and
at alternate intervals occur the main bracts, which are scarlet. From the
axils of the main bracts spring the scarlet stalks which bear green, white
and purple lesser bracts. From the ends of these minor bracts arise the
small purple flowers with reddish-purple anthers. The whole spike of this
species is as often as not leaning right over the rest of the plant. This is a
particularly striking plant in the forest when the sun shines full on the
spikes and the rest may be more or less in shadow.
A very handsome and striking species is Vriesia longibracteata. This
occurs at the higher levels and does not seem to mind whether it is growing
on the ground at the base of the tree or on the tree itself. The writer has, so
far, found it in but one locality, in the high bush at the junction of Mount
Dillon Trace with the Castara-Mount St. George Trace. The writer would
like to name it the SCARLET DAGGER BROMELIAD. The large spikes are about
a foot in length and two inches across but narrowing to a sharp point at
the end. They are composed of large bright scarlet bracts, each bract arising
alternately from the bract below it, and all these bracts are closely adjusted
to each other. They are a light green at their bases, shading through yellow
to scarlet, the major portion of each bract being this rich scarlet. From
inside the upper ends of these bracts arise, in turn, the yellow flowers,
tubular in shape and considerably larger than the two foregoing species.
The next species worth mentioning is one that up to the present the
writer has not succeeded in obtaining the name of. He would like to call
it the SCARLET POKER. The spikes are not so large as in the last species but
are round in section. They consist of the same formation of bracts, which
are green, shaded with stripes of purple. From these bracts arise the small
tubular white flowers. Above this series of bracts and forming the upper
end of each spike are a series of scarlet bracts, all closely adjusted to each
other and shading off into a sharp pomt. It is the upper portion of scarlet
bracts which, of course, make the flower conspicuous. It is found on all
the lower levels on large and small trees, bamboos, etc. It is particularly
plentiful on the main Les Coteaux road just before this road runs into the
flat part before reaching the Courland river. It, too, is a very pretty sight
with the sun on it.
The next and last to be noticed has been found by the writer in only
two localities so far, of which one is the Mount Dillon Trace. It is named
Guzmania monostachya. In this species the spike is a very open one but
with the same arrangement of scarlet bracts one above the other in a large
open circle, from the centre of which at the top arise the small tubular
flowers. These are a yellowy-green with white tips. This species is not so
showy as the others already described but it is well worthy of mention.
None of these Bromeliads has any particular local name and the inhabitants
of the Island simply call them all "Wild Pine".
CACTACEAE (a very well-known genus represented in this Island by
The TURKS CAP (Cactus Broadwayi). A globular cactus up to one foot or
so in height. Mostly of a green colour but this tint varies to yellow. The very
numerous spines are arranged in groups of six to eight, spaced along the
outer ridges of the segments into which the whole plant is divided. At the
top of the plant arises another circular ball of a chocolate and brown colour
from which spring many small whitey-brown spines. Above this ball again
arises a mass of white fluffy material, and from this spring the small narrow
petals of the flowers, crimson in colour. This cactus is quite common on all
dry rocky cliffs overlooking the sea.
Cereus hexagonus. This is a columnar cactus, consisting of one stem
growing up to a height of twenty feet or so. From this main stem are
thrown out small side stems which turn upwards at some six inches away
from the main stem. From the sides of the main stem, at the top, as also
from these side stems, spring the showy white, pink-tinted flowers which
are not unlike an ordinary water lily flower in shape. They are sweet-
scented and, like the cacti, last only one night, coming out in the evening
and withering when the morning sun reaches them.
Epiphyllum Hookeri. A night-blooming cactus. This is not so common
as the other cacti but occurs in the same sort of locality, i.e. the dry cliffs
overlooking the sea. It consists of rather flat oblong segments, a deep green
in colour, each segment arising from the tip or a side of the segment
preceding it. On the edges of these segments appear the handsome white
pink-striped flowers. Very sweet-scented at night, but here again the indi-
vidual flowers last but one night. It is spineless.
Hylocereus Lemairii. A very long, thin-branched, straggly, spiny cactus,
climbing raggedly over rocks, cliffs, in trees and over and through bushes
either on the sea cliffs or inland. Very common. The same type of flower
as the others, only open at night, when it is very sweet-scented. The fruit is
scarlet, oblong, about the size of a large apple, with white flesh in which
the numerous black seeds are embedded. It is very difficult to obtain a
good specimen of this fruit as the birds are greedy for it and destroy it even
before it is properly ripe.
The COCHINEAL CACTUS (Nopalea cochinillifera). This species forms a
rough bush of flat, oblong, spineless segments, from the edges of which
arise young shoots which carry spines in their early stages and the small
reddish flowers. The flowers are later succeeded by red fruits about two
inches long. Usually to be found around villages, and the mucilaginous juice
is used locally medicinally.
A poorly represented genus in the Island. None of the species is really
worth mentioning except, perhaps, Wedelia triloba, which the writer likes
to call the TOBAGO BUTTERCUP, and which during the wet weather covers
waste ground and road margins with a thick mat of creeping stems and
leaves, from which rise the yellow buttercup-like flowers. Also Wullfia
baccata, very like the former to look at but a climber over bushes, etc.,
at a higher level, and when in full flower not unattractive.
Mostly represented by the Ipomoeas. Ipomoea sp. is a strong straggly vine
growing over bushes mostly along the cliffs overlooking the sea. It is a fairly
large white flower, the folds of which shade down to the centre yellow. The
leaves are large and deeply cleft upwards from the stalk.
Ipomoea reptans is another white flower of medium size growing in
the same position as the above and also actually in the dry sand of the
shore above high water. The centre of the flower is a deep chocolate, shading
outwards to yellow. The leaves are a curious shape, consisting of one long
narrow central lobe with, at the base, one or two, not more, smaller lobes
almost at right-angles to the main lobes. The edges of all these lobes are
coloured with a narrow band of crimson.
Ipomoea Pes-Caprae. This carries a pinky-purple flower of the usual
type with yellow stamens. The leaves are rather large and are divided into
two oblong-shaped equal-sized segments. Hence presumably the name-
GOAT'S FOOT IMPOMOEA. It grows in long runners along the dry sandy beaches
and at intervals upright shoots arise from the main runner which carry the
flowers and a few younger leaves.
Muremia aegypta is another convolvulus which is quite common
climbing over bushes. It bears a medium-sized white flower with a greeny-
yellow centre, which colour runs down the interior of the tube. The main
stems and the flower stalks are very hairy.
Muremia dissecta. Yet another with white flowers, a pale scarlet centre
and yellow in the interior of the tube. From the scarlet patch in the
centre run five sets of very fine lines, four in a set-the sets equally spaced
from each other and reaching the extreme edge of the petals. The leaves
are very ornately divided into several coarsely notched segments. Quite a
pretty vine occurring on many hedgerows.
PAINTS & VARNISHES,
C. LLOYD TRESTRAIL
& CO. LTD.
8 & 10 BROADWAY,
PORT OF SPAIN
Phone: 35722, 6109 & 31332
Ipomoea pterodes. This species is found only in Tobago. It is a hand-
some vine, bearing large bright yellow flowers, and the plant covers bushes.
When in full flower it is a conspicuous sight. It is quite common about the
Bacolet region. The ripe seed pods and seeds form a very handsome table
decoration. The corolla, consisting of five sepals, is persistent and when
fully dry is open like a star. It is of a rich brown and chocolate colour, with
the black, rather shiny, seed capsule standing out in the centre.
CORAILLIE; MAIDEN'S BLUSH (Momordica charantia). A straggly thin-stemmed
vine bearing small pale yellow flowers of the usual cucurbit type. The seed
containers are the conspicuous objects of this particular plant. They consist
of an orange, oblong, warty exterior, about the size of a lime, which, when
ripe, splits open into three segments which curl over backwards. These
segments are coated inside with a bright red sticky paste from which hang
the shiny black seeds about the size of a currant. Chickens and birds eat
this fruit greedily.
The only species of this genus worth noticing is the SLIPPER FLOWER or
NIGGER'S MOUTH (Pedilanthus tithymaloides). It is much used as a hedge
in local gardens. The actual flowers are inconspicuous but the bracts sur-
rounding them are just the opposite, being a bright scarlet. They occur in
groups at the ends of the branches; they stand out in pairs at right-angles
to each other, more or less, and look like small scarlet slippers, or, more
fancifully, someone's brightly painted lips. A variety in which the leaves are
variegated white and green is also fairly common.
There are no ferns of any note in the more generally visited parts of the
A tree fern (Asophila jenmani) occurs on the Main Ridge about
1,000 feet upwards. At the same level is also found a large Pteris, with a
short, typically fern-like trunk, and fine ten-foot fronds. At considerably
lower levels the most noticeable fern is the SILVER BACK (Gymnogramme
calomelanos). The fronds of this fern bear a silvery powder on their backs
and a perfect print can be obtained by laying a frond, back down, on one's
bare arm and giving it a smart smack. The GOLD BACK also occurs in Tobago
but is now apparently exceedingly scarce. A bracken also occurs in certain
areas on the Main Ridge.
A very handsome fern, Achrosticum aureum, is to be found in the local
swamps. The fronds of this fern grow from practically ground level (there
is no appreciable trunk) to a length of ten or twelve feet. The young fronds,
while uncurling and before they are fully grown, are a striking bronze.
Two species, known to the writer but not seen commonly by the visitor,
are worth mentioning.
A white and a purple flowered Gloxinia occurs on the damp banks of
the Silver River and of the Gold River on the west coast where they are
crossed by the bridges carrying the Trace from Bloody Bay to Roxborough.
Nestle's bottled milk is now available in leading stores
throughout Tobago. Nestle's milk goes through a special
sterilization process which retains the full natural good-
ness of milk but removes the germs which cause milk to
turn sour. Nestle's Sterilized Milk is ready to drink and
will keep for weeks without refrigeration provided it is
Tussacia pulchella is found in groups and patches in damp spots in
cocoa plantations. It is a really handsome herbaceous plant. The leaves
are rough and of a dark green colour. The flowers proceed from the axils
of the upper leaves. The calyces are sharply five-angled, tubular, and about
three-quarters of an inch long, of a salmon colour. The corollas extend
from above the calyces for about an inch, are tubular to begin with and
then at their ends open out suddenly and widely to a diameter of about
three-quarters of an inch. They are orange in colour and all are strongly
marked with crimson stripes. This plant is, in the opinion of the writer,
well worthy of cultivation in private gardens. It evidently thrives in damp
shade with its roots covered with rotting leaves.
The only species likely to attract the attention of visitors is Clusia rose,
known as the SCOTCH ATTORNEY or MATAPALO. This large tree starts life
from a seed dropped in a crevice of some other tree by a bird. There it
germinates and throws out roots which slowly grow downwards outside of
its host. These roots eventually reach the ground, when they take root
there and develop as any other tree. They gradually grow thicker, finally
coalescing with each other and surround their host entirely, finally strangling
it to death. The tree bears somewhat small glossy green leaves and rose-pink
flowers about four inches in diameter, having in their centre a grey-coloured,
sticky, globular disc. It is found at all but the lowest levels and is only too
common. Another local name is DEVIL WOOD.
CRAB'S EYES; JUMBIE BEADS (Abrus precatorius). A slender vine climbing
among bushes and common along roadsides. It is not conspicuous except
for its bunches of dark brown seed pods, which when open expose a number
of small, bright, scarlet seeds, each of which is tipped at one end with
Crotolaria spp. A number of herbaceous plants, most of which bear
bright yellow flowers. One-Crotolaria verrucosa-bears small pale blue
flowers. The flowers are typically pea-shaped. They are all common on
waste ground and along roadsides. All the plants are locally called by one
name, SHACK-SHACK, presumably because the seeds rattle in their pods when
dry. There are a number of plants bearing the same pea-type flowers, but
many are grown as food plants or as cover plants, and it is difficult therefore
to say whether these are truly indigenous or are cultivation escapes.
MOUNTAIN ROSE (Brownea latifolia). Grows fairly commonly in the bush as
medium-sized trees. They bear drooping bunches which consist of a number
of flower heads closely packed together. The calyces are a browny-red, the
flowers scarlet, hanging down below the calyces. The stamens protrude
below the flowers and are yellow.
Cassia spp. A number of trees, shrubs and herbs, all common. Most
carry large bunches of yellow buttercup-shaped flowers which very soon
develop the distinctive scimitar-shaped seed pod.
Cassia spectablis. A large tree with upright spikes of yellow flowers.
Each spike proceeds from the ends of the branches and develops to upwards
of two feet in height. From a distance the tree reminds one of an English
horse-chestnut in yellow.
Cassia alata is a handsome shrub carrying upright spikes of golden-
bronze sepals, closely packed together so as to form a tight spike. As the
lower flowers of this spike develop these sepals drop off, leaving the yellow
petals of each flower exposed in their turn. These petals, however, never
open out fully but remain more or less rolled inwards.
COTrTO (Gossypium spp.). Once cultivated but is so no longer. The plant
is often found, mostly in the vicinity of some village, and can be regarded
as wild. It is rather attractive when the seed pods open and expose their
contents of fluffy white cotton.
SEASIDE MAHOE (Hibiscus tiliaceus) is a common tree of the seashore.
Handsome hibiscus-type flowers which are creamy white when freshly open
but soon fade and crumple up. then becoming a purply-brown.
MANCHINEEL (Hippomane mancinella;. A large handsome tree with
small shiny leaves and green fruit about the size and shape of small apples.
This tree is mentioned here for the reason that its sap and fruit are
poisonous, giving rise to severe blistering if allowed to get on one's skin.
These trees have mostly been removed from the more popular bathing
beaches but are still to be found on most of the less frequented ones.
Visitors should beware of and keep away from them.
WILD PLANTAIN ,Heliconia bihai). The commonest of the Heliconias, and
found in thick masses on most sheltered shady hillsides which are not under
cultivation. Large banana-like stems and leaves up to twenty feet in height.
The flower stalks bear scarlet boat-shaped sheaths, bordered with yellow.
The flowers themselves are inconspicuous, opening in relays from the interior
of the boats and only just visible above the thwarts. They are yellow with
Heliconia psittacorum is a very much smaller plant than the last,
growing to a height of only two to three feet in damp spots at low levels.
The leaves are banana-like in their growth. The flower heads are composed
of sheaths or bracts coloured with red or gold shaded together and tipped
with black. The flowers inside the sheaths are quite inconspicuous.
Heliconia hirsuta. This takes at the higher levels the place of the
former species at the lower. Generally found in shade under forest trees
and amongst other vegetation where force of circumstances may cause each
stem to run up to a height of ten feet or so. The leaves are quite different
from the last two species, being alternate and opposite all the way up the
long stem. The flower heads in general resemble the former species, but
the sheaths are longer and more slender and the red and yellow shades are
rather more distinctly divided.
WILD GUAVA (Psidium Guajava), from the fruit of which is made guava
jam, jelly and cheese. A very common shrub and a troublesome weed in
pastures as it is almost impossible to eradicate. To be found almost every-
where, especially on the dry south-western side of the Island. The flowers
are white with conspicuous protruding white anthers.
The orchids are not at all well represented in the Island. There are perhaps
some dozen species altogether, only two of which are worth mentioning.
The first and the best is known as THE VIRGIN (Diacrium bicornutum). This
orchid is only found north of a line drawn from east to west about half-way
up the Island, except where it has been brought down by human means.
It grows commonly and strongly in large clumps on the rocks, rocky rough
cliffs, and trees overlooking the sea, and undoubtedly thrives under con-
tinuous wind and salt spray. The largest clumps the writer has come across
occur on Goat Island, where they approximate to the size of a full-grown
man's torso. The pure white flowers, with central crimson spots and marks,
are carried to the number of ten or twelve, on very long stems.
The other one, which the writer has called THE SPIDER for want of
any other known name (Brassavola nodosa), is not so common. It occurs
sparingly on the northern end of the Island on trees. It can also stand any
amount of exposure. No proper pseudo-bulbs as in most other orchids, but
the long green rush-like shoots arise direct from the root-stock. The flowers
spring from half-way up these shoots of the year before. They are pure
white with long narrow drooping petals about five inches long and but half
an inch in breadth. Faintly sweet-scented.
One more may be mentioned: Epidendron fragrans, a small orchid
of the ordinary type with cream-coloured flowers. The lip is pure white
streaked with crimson. Found generally on cocoa trees. It is sweet-scented.
[EDITrroR'S NOTE: There is also a small purple orchid found on cocoa
All the above three are true epiphytes, but Diacrium does not seem
to mind being blown off its tree and thrown to the ground. It will flourish
there just as happily.
WATER HYACINTH (Eichornea speciosa). A very pretty water plant but a great
nuisance in canals, etc., though that does not apply in this Island. It is very
uncommon here and the writer knows of only one locality where it is to be
found. The leaves are heart-shaped, about four inches square. The flowers
appear thickly massed on upright spikes about eight to ten inches above the
water. They are a blue-violet in colour, each petal being striped and veined
in a darker tint of the same. The top upright petal carries a large pale blue
central splodge and this, in its turn, has a smaller patch in its centre of
bright yellow. The anthers are turned up at the end and are of a deep
There are several species of Solanum to which as a by-the-way belong the
potato and the tomato', all common shrubs, herbs or vines. None of them is
worth mentioning seriously, with one exception-Solanum Seaforthianum.
This is a long. delicately stemmed vine climbing through and over bushes
to some height and throwing out its trusses of pretty mauve-blue flowers
over the front of the hushes. The anthers of these flowers are the typically
tightly clustered anthers of the Solanum family and are bright yellow.
WILD SAGE Lantana Camara.. A common roadside shrub with rough leaves
smelling strongly aromatic when crushed. Individual flowers are small in
crowded terminal corvmbs of varying tints in red. orange and whi;e. The
flowers var greatly in the distribution of these colours. One variety has
pure orange flowers and does not vary at all. This plant is not the ruinously
troulte,.; ;t; weed in the Island as it is in other tropical lands such as
Stachyt.rpheta ?cmaicensis. A \cry common wayside weed with
coarsely notched rough leaves and long thin spikes of a purple tinge which
bear small dark or light blue flowers of which there are never more than
five. at the outside, out at the same time.
CANE REED Cstus s per:iosus This is not truly indigenous but is now to be
found growing wild in many localities. Stems are cane-like, browny-red, and
up to eight feet in hight Leaves oblong, about one foot in length, and are
inclined to droop. The flowers are very handsome and showy, pure white
and delicately creased. They are formed of one petal only, which is shaped
in the form of a shallow cup. The lower end of this petal is tinged lemon-
yellow. They arise from a terminal cone of brown-red bracts, occasionally
two out at once. more usually only one. A fine plant found under cocoa.
GINGER LILNY Hcdychium coronatum,. A very handsome plant growing
to a height of two to three feet in shady spots, mostly under cocoa. It is
not truly indigenous but is now commonly wild in the few localities where
it is to be found. The leaves are oblong, pointed, and up to about fifteen
inches long. The flowers are pure white on a long thin tube. They rise from
among the green bracts of a terminal cone and as many as four or five may
be out at the same time from the same cone. The petals spread out wide
to a breadth of about four inches and they give the impression of a large
white butterfly sitting down with outspread wings. The individual flowers
do not last very long but are quickly replaced from buds of the same cone.
Very fragrant. Altogether an attractive plant for private gardens.
The writer, not being a trained and skilled botanist, must ask to be
forgiven for all mistakes, omissions, etc., he has made in the article. He has
relied greatly upon Mr. R. O. Williams's book, already quoted, for many
of the botanical names above. He has also obtained much help from the
trained staff of the Imperial College of Tropical Agriculture in Trinidad,
to whom he owes many thanks. But for their ready help he could not have
got so many of his specimens named at all. The subject matter in this article
has come practically entirely from his own notes.
He has noticed many visitors to this Island who are sufficiently inter-
ested in its wild flowers to pick and bring such as they have come across in
their rambles and have asked other people what their names are. To help
such people he has written this article and he will be amply recompensed
for his labours if future visitors find flowers that they pick mentioned
therein, and will be able to identify them from his descriptions.
It will be noticed that very few of the wild flowers mentioned have
local names. This is a common fault in tropical regions. The local inhabitant
rarely gives a name to any plant that is not of economic use to him. All
the Bromelaids are called "Wild Pine", irrespective of their colour, growth,
size or location. Their leaves resemble the pineapple and that is good
enough. He knows a pineapple, so all plants resembling one are called "wild
pines" and there is an end of it. The same with the Heleconias. Since their
leaves resemble banana leaves, all the species, irrespective of size, etc., are
known as "Wild Plantains".
It is well that new arrivals, visitors and guests to the Island, be told what
to be careful of-for instance, the HIPPOMANE MANCINELLA (Euphorniaceae).
MANCHINEEL. A medium-sized native tree found near the sea. All parts
of the tree contain a poisonous milky juice. Leaves ovate, shiny, about
two to four inches long; flowers inconspicuous; fruits rounded, resembling
VERY SMALL APPLES, greenish-yellow, one and a half to two inches in
diameter, produced in great abundance. Useful as a windbreak on a sandy
sea-coast region. DO NOT SHELTER UNDER THESE TREES WHEN RAINING-
the result would be blisters.
STINGING NETTLE (Tragia colubilis, Euphorbiaceae). A small twining
vine found in waste places. Its stems and leaves are covered with badly
stinging hairs. Leaves oblong, up to three and a half inches long by one
and a half inches, with stalks one to one and a half inches long. Flowers
minute, inconspicuous. Ask any local inhabitant to show it to you before
going through the bush (scrub).
DIEFFENBACKIA or DUMB CANE. This is very poisonous if eaten.
Note: Any plants with milky sap are poisonous and burn the eyes if
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Fruits of Tobago
crraIs. Of the thirty-odd kinds of citrus known to botanists, some eight
or nine are cultivated in Tobago. These includes oranges, lemons, limes,
shaddocks, grapefruit and citrons.
Among the sweet oranges are the well-known seedless type and a less
familiar giant tangerine known as the King Orange, with its variant, the
Gwendoline. The only lemon cultivated is a thick-skinned variety, used
for a grafting stock and for the manufacture of lemon oil. But the word
lemon here means the sour orange used for marmalade. The limes are the
famous West Indian type, essential for West Indian drinks and creole
dishes. The Shaddock is a larger and coarser grapefruit with pink juice;
the Pomelo is similar, but white inside. Of the grapefruit cultivated here,
the best market variety is known as the Marsh. Citrons provide the raw
material for the thick, aromatic slices of candied peel that decorate cakes
and flavour plum-pudding.
PINEAPPLE. The best West Indian types are the Black Antigua, the
Sugar Loaf, the Santa Clara, the Smooth Cayenne and the Monserrat,
which is the one used for canning. Wild pineapples are found in the
forests, and so is a poor relation of the Bromeliad family called the Penguin,
which is edible, but only just.
MANGOES. Some of the best mangoes in the world are grown in Tobago.
The favourite varieties are Julie, Graham and Peters; these three can be
divided in half and eaten with a spoon, whereas the common mango can
only be eaten in a bath. Other named varieties are Ceylon, which can be
stewed, Gordon, Number 11 and Dudus, which is the smallest of all.
BANANAS. The banana most commonly exported to Europe is the
one known as the Jamaica banana in the London fruit-shops and as Gros
Michel in the West Indies. The next commonest is the Canary (called
Toco or Governor locally). More delicately flavoured, but too perishable
for shipping, are the Sucrier (pronounced Sikkier) and the Silk Fig. The
red type is known here as the Fire Banana, and its heavy, white counterpart
as the Mataburro. The smaller and sweeter bananas are called "figs".
There are also a number of cooking types called Plantains, of which the
There are also a number of cooking types called plantains, of which the
best known are the Horse Plantain, the Creole Plantain, the Navelless,
the Giant and the Black Martinique.
PAWPAW or BREAKFAST MELON (Carica papaya). An easily recognisable
tree that grows wild all over Tobago, though the best fruit come from
trees cultivated on rich soil. It has a soft-wooded, erect stem with an
umbrella-shaped crown under which the pawpaws grow in close clusters.
The fruit has the shape of an elongated melon; it is green when unripe,
turning yellow as it ripens. The structure is similar to that of a melon-
a layer of orange flesh surrounding a mass of seeds. Eaten with lime and
sugar, the pawpaw is delicious for breakfast and far more easily digested
than the true melon. The unripe pawpaws are cooked as a vegetable, and
resemble vegetable marrow. The latex that oozes from the rind of the
fruit when cut is used for the manufacture of pepsin.
WATERMELON. The familiar, giant, green-skinned, red-fleshed water-
melon is grown in Tobago, and so is the Musk Melon, but neither can
compare in quality with the melons grown in countries more suited to their
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SAPODILLA (Achras sapta). The fruit of a small tree which is perhaps
better known for its other product-the white latex which is the base of
chewing-gum. The fruit is of a russet-brown colour, about the size of a
small peach, with a thin skin enclosing a reddish pulp and black seeds.
The pulp is sweet and slightly gritty. An acquired taste for most people
SOURSOP, SWEETSOP, SUGAR APPLE, CUSTARD APPLE. These members of the
Anona family are all pleasant, but not distinguished. Their green, scaly
fruits can be used in the making of sweet drinks and fruit creams. The best,
perhaps, is the Soursop, which looks like a green hedgehog and tastes like
cottonwool soaked in strawberry juice.
AVOCADO PEAR (Persea gratissima). These well-known fruits grow to
great perfection in the Island. The varieties called Sinclair, Pollock, Frazer
and Lula have huge fruit of a good, nutty flavour, and there are many
seedlings that have excellent and unusual qualities. Main crop: June-
August; late crop: Lulus, December-January.
CASHEWS. The trees from which the "Jumbo Nut" is obtained. The
fruit is like a scarlet pear, with a curved wart on the end. Inside the wart
lies the nut itself, which must be carefully separated from its covering, since
this is poisonous. The fruit can be eaten, but it is acid and highly astringent.
PASSION FRUIT. Two passion flowers with edible fruit grow in the
Island: Passionflaro laurifolia and P. quadrangularis. The fruit of the
former is known as the Water Melon or Belle Apple, and that of the latter
as the Barbadeen or Granadilla. The Water Melon closely resembles the
passion fruit that is found on some European and many sub-tropical mar-
kets; it is acid, fragrant and strongly flavoured, and is useful for adding
an unusual touch to fruit salads and cocktails. The Barbadeen is a larger
fruit, almost as big as a melon, and both its thick, white flesh and the
greyish jelly surrounding the seeds are eaten. The seed covering has a
faint taste of muscat grapes, but the flesh is insipid. It is used for making
ices and fruit creams.
There are a good number of minor tropical fruits, both cultivated and
wild, that the traveller may meet in Tobago, but few of them are of
gastronomic interest. Those most frequently encountered are the GOLDEN
APPLE (Sponias dulcis), a fragrant, greenish-yellow fruit with an agreeable
smell and a less agreeable sub-acid taste; the SPANISH LIME (Melicocca
bijuga), which is not a lime at all; the HOG PLUM (Spondais mangifera),
which grows wild and bears quantities of yellow, strongly aromatic fruit;
the NUTMEG (Myristica fragrans), which encloses its treasures of mace and
nutmeg in an astringent and acid flesh that makes an excellent jelly; the
GOVERNOR PLUM (Flacourtia ramontchi), which is more valuable as a hedge
than as an orchard fruit; the BARBADOES CHERRY (Malpighia glabra), with
beautiful scarlet berries, that astonish and disappoint when eaten; the
POMERAC or FRENCH CASHEW (Eugenia malaccensis), with red, apple-like
fruit that are not unpleasant when stewed; the MAMMEE APPLE (Mammea
americana), which can also be eaten when stewed; and, better than all
the others, the GUAVA (Psidium guajava), the fruit of which contains more
seeds that a fig but is delicious when stewed or made into the famous jelly
Cocoa and copra are the two main products of Tobago. Cocoa plantations
are mainly at the northern end of the Island, while coconuts are mainly
at the southern end. Cocoa trees are planted at a spacing of from twelve
feet by twelve feet to sixteen feet by sixteen feet, and come into bearing
in about three years. The preparation of the land prior to planting necessi-
tates the provision of ground and overhead shade. This consists of bananas,
figs, tannias and cassava in the case of ground shade, and immortelle or
similar forest trees as overhead shade.
The cocoa bean is about the size of a lima bean. The pods are about
six to eight inches long, with about thirty beans in each pod. The tree
grows to about twenty to twenty-five feet and requires shade immortellee)
against wind and sun. It thrives in latitudes only about 20 degrees north
and south of the Equator, the West Indies being very suitable for tempera-
ture and soil. Small, inconspicuous pink flowers form the cocoa pods which
hold the beans from which cocoa is made. The yield of a single pod is from
1l to 2 oz. of dried cocoa beans. Twenty to thirty pods are the average
a tree bears a year. The "pickers" knock the ripe pods off the tree with a
long pole, called a "gullet". The pods are then gathered into heaps, which
are then opened, often by women who scoop out the beans from the pods.
These are covered with a moist whitish pulp and emptied into baskets,
which are carried on their heads to the cocoa works. Here the beans are
weighed, and put into boxes called "sweaters" or "sweat boxes".
Fermentation starts rapidly right away, causing the beans to shed the
white coating and to gradually darken in colour. This takes around five
to six days. The beans are then put out in the sun to dry. In about another
week or so-according to the amount of sun they get-the beans are ready
to be "danced". "Dancing" means the polishing of the beans before they
are put into bags and shipped to Trinidad. From Trinidad the beans are
shipped to England and the U.S.A., where the bean goes through a further
process and made into cocoa powder and chocolate.
Visitors enjoy a trip up the Island, where they can see the cocoa
growing in the plantations, many right by the roadside. The many varied
.colours of the cocoa pods in the sunshine make a very beautiful display.
The start of a coconut tree is-a dry fallen nut. It sends forth a young
green shoot above and throws out roots just below. Conditions being
good, when planted in the right place it takes five years to mature and
bear fruit. Under poor conditions it takes as long as ten years before
bearing. Coconut trees are planted now almost thirty feet by thirty feet
apart. In the old days they used to be only twenty feet by twenty feet apart
in rows. Free drainage is most necessary to produce good crops. A coconut
tree can go on for over seventy years, but its economic life peak would be
past after fifty years. Trees are planted ten feet apart. Their roots are
very shallow and spread to a length of twenty or more feet. A strong wind
of hurricane force is disastrous to a coconut plantation-they fall like
The coconut tree is one of the most useful trees to mankind, as every
part of it can be utilised for some useful purpose. The roots are not used
for anything out here in the West Indies, but in the South Sea Islands
they are used for making a beverage, a medicine and rope. The trunk is of
very hard wood-not good for the saws of carpenters, but furniture has
been made of it. Some years ago, after a hurricane hit the south of Trinidad,
trees that were blown down were used for the making of tables, chairs and
other furniture commercially. There is no real demand for it in these days.
One may still come across a few walking-sticks, which are sold to tourists
in Trinidad by the roadside. The leaves are used still for thatching of
roofs and making of fans, being plaited into fascinating designs. The
number of nuts per tree per year will vary with soils and rainfall. Without
adequate rainfall a coconut tree will not bear heavily. A fair average of
nuts per tree would be around seventy nuts per annum. The nuts are the
main source of income to a planter, the main product being copra, which
is the "meat" extracted from the nut when split open. This is thoroughly
dried before shipping. It takes a very few days if there is strong sunshine.
The copra is then put into bags and shipped to Trinidad. Here it is manu-
factured into many commodities. The vegetable oils go into the making of
cooking oil, margarine, soaps and such like. Other items such as glycerine,
fibre and rope are also manufactured. The fibre is used to stuff mattresses
(though this is hard, and seldom used now). Out in the East, in India, a
wine called toddy is derived from the coconut tree, and is very intoxicating.
The fibre is used for the making of carpets, mats, brooms, brushes, bags
and many other useful articles, and being vermin-free will last for a long
time in use. The hard shell of the coconut fruit is also used for many
kinds of trinkets, such as jewel boxes, ashtrays, etc. The hard shell has
been put to at least two uses. One, during the war, was a type of absorbent
charcoal placed in gas-masks. The other use is fuel, as it gives a great
amount of heat. Recently, a new local idea was evolved by cutting the
hard shell into shapes, such as fish, leaves and animals, and stringing them
together with narrow strips of leather, after being very highly polished,
to make belts and sold to tourists.
Within the last twenty years or so the coconut tree has had to fight a
deadly battle with a disease called Red Ring. This is the only enemy of
the coconut tree. It is borne by a nematode (a relative of the eel worm in
the Irish potato). The disease often attacks young trees, just about the
time they begin to bear fruit for the first time. Red Ring is thought to be
carried by a beetle from tree to tree, in addition to entering it through the
root system. Trees having this disease have to be burned instantly before
it spreads to the whole plantation.
Copra is the correct name for the dried meat and it contains 70 per
cent fat. After the vegetable oil has been extracted, the residue can be used
as stock-feed, and is called coconut meal.
Tobago produces 33 per cent of the total copra (coconut) output of
Trinidad and Tobago. The price of copra, which is controlled locally by
the West Indian Governments by agreement, is now, and has been for
some years, $14.16 per 100 lb. A good average yield of copra from 1,000
nuts would be 350 lb. Young green coconuts produce a good drink.
Some planters let their cattle and horses roam through the coconut
plantation to keep it clean-thus saving labour in having it "brushed"
The Botanic Station, or "Gardens" as it is commonly called, lies within the
town of Scarborough. It comprises approximately eighteen acres, cultivated
mainly under ornamental shrubs and flowering plants. In addition there is
a small orchard of local fruits.
As the name implies, the area was originally intended for setting up a
Botanical Garden. Today it serves as the headquarters of the Agricultural
Division of the Ministry of Agriculture in Tobago.
From the visitor's point of view there are a number of interesting
features. Placed as they are almost in the heart of the town, the Gardens
have a unique setting. The main entrance to the Gardens has been laid out
into a number of terraced beds which are themselves bordered by many
flowering annuals. These include cannas, zinnias, Michaelmas daisies and
In addition there are many tropical blooms of ixoras, hibiscus and
crotons which present a riot of colour when in full bloom. A section of
exotic roses has also been started here and does help to lend enchanting
atmosphere to the area.
To the Tobagonian the Gardens fulfil the function of providing
vegetable seedlings and other fruit plants. Seeds are imported annually
and planting material, both ornamental and economic, is made available
to farmers at a subsidized cost.
There are a number of relics and commemorative stones on the
compound which are appropriately labelled.