Waterfalls and Watercourses
Blue Basin Waterfall
There are numerous waterfalls in Trinidad & Tobago. I have visited a grand total of two. I intend to visit more, as time permits, and photograph the ones that I like. This page will therefore be updated from time to time.
My first waterfall experience in Trinidad was the famous Maracas falls with its multiple levels. The falls can be reached by following the road north at the St. Joseph intersection, opposite the police station. There is a steep climb from the road to the falls. I kept thinking to myself that the falls had better be wonderful after twenty minutes of uphill slogging with 30lbs of camera gear. As I neared the falls, I was greeted by 400 secondary school students heading downhill. I was at once filled with dread at what they must have left behind. My first reaction upon reaching the falls was one of homicidal ideation towards the secondary school students and their teachers who used the site as a dump. My next reaction pertained to the falls itself: it looked disappointingly lame. I mean, where was it? The fall was no more than a wispy tendril of water and mist floating down from a great height. The guide noted my look of disappointment and hopefully suggested that the next level was better. As I probably narrowly missed having a heart attack in getting to the first level, I prudently decided to skip the next. Unfortunately, the pictures I took of this waterfall did not make the cut for this site.
Located in Diego Martin, the Blue Basin waterfalls offered some photographs. I deliberately went after heavy rains hoping that the falls would not turn out looking like Maracas falls. The sound of thunder as I approached the waterfall was startling, immediately indicating the volume of water rushing down. No wispy water here! Finally! Something for you to see. I have yet to visit other falls in the country, but it will take a lot to top this one.
The shot at left was taken while I was knee deep in water. While I was setting up for the shot, some people arrived with their bicycles to smoke 'herbs'. They happily parked their transport right in the middle of the photograph; I took the picture anyway.
Shark River is formed from one of the watersheds in the Northern Range. The river winds its way through the Matura National Park. The park comprises 9000 hectares of Mora forest and is home to many protected species. The Pawi, Trinidad's only endemic bird, has its habitat along the Shark River and is on the endangered species list. Trinidad's Ocelot can also be found within the confines of the park boundaries.
This brief glimpse of the river is confined to the estuary where many pools form due to eddies that arise from mini-rapids. The river navigates through many streambed rocks to eventually deepen before entering the sea.
Shark River can be reached by following the road to Toco. Upon reaching the intersection at Toco road near the light house road, bear left to head towards Grande Riviere. Shark River will appear ten minutes after Grande Riviere.
We have made our first tentative visit to this long river. The Caura river originates in the Northern Range. This river drains the Caura Valley, and passes through Tacarigua after which it eventually joins the
Caroni River. A portion of the river is designated as a recreational site as well as
a site for religious hindu ceremonies: there is a newly added shaving
facility located downstream at the far end of one of the recreational
sites. The portion of the river photographed is located away from the main recreational areas.
The river is shallow throughout, barely 5ft in depth in the deepest
areas or pools. The surrounding landscape is a changing one: clear
indicators of this are toppled trees on the bank, as well as trees
submerged, or woody snag within the river.
An artificial dam has been built by
bathers to increase the depth of water in a pool.
The river's water is physically confined to a channel which is made up
of a stream bed between banks. Most rainfall on land passes through a
river on its way to the larger body of water. The river conducts water
by constantly flowing perpendicular to the elevation curve of its bed;
this creates currents, which are changes in the velocity of the
running water. Changes in the velocity of the water give rise to the
sloping gravel bars seen here.
Currents also have a direct impact on the flora and fauna contained
within rivers. Living things must be adapted to the moving water.Many
invertebrates can be found living on the surface or the underside of
rocks such as water pennies: you really have to look for them since
they camouflage themselves so well.
The fish species that can be found here is the locally known 'mama
teta' or sucker mouth catfish Hypostomus robinii
For more info on the biodiverstiy of animals in T&T click here.
The Maracas Waterfalls - Lower Level
The Maracas Waterfalls in the Maracas Valley is the highest waterfall in Trinidad and Tobago. At 298 ft (91m) high, it plummets off a sheer cliff face to eventually drain into the Naranjo River. The waterfall is actually made up of three levels, the lowest level being the most well known. The second level consists of a deep pool which supplies the water for the last 298ft drop. The pool is itself supplied by the highest portion of the waterfall diving off its third level. The volume of water is quite low, especially during the dry season, and the descending water can take on a misty appearance. The trail to the lower level is pretty straight-forward and easy to traverse, although care must be exercised over slippery rocks (which we always find out the hard way). The trek to the upper level requires a guide, however, and the trail is a difficult 3-hour hike uphill.
The pictures below are certainly not our definitive attempt at capturing this waterfall and the trail leading to it. Additionally, only the lowest level is depicted here for now. Our photographer has suggested that a View camera will be necessary to photograph the waterfall properly with the use of perspective control. We'll try during the rainy season. We had to cut short the photo-shoot as our photographer slipped and sustained a serious injury; we therefore apologise for supplying only a single photograph of the waterfall itself.
Please note that the last picture (of the waterfall itself) is a large file, and is 1600 pixels in height. You will have to scroll up and down to view the entire image, unless you've got a monitor with a lot of real estate.
The Rio Seco Waterfall
The Rio Seco Waterfall can be found on its own page here