Tobago Maritime Archaeology




“Descending through the warm, crystal clear water, the wreck site quickly came into view. As we drew closer, details of the ancient fighting ship were apparent and it was almost as if I could hear the cannon fire of the historic battle that sent this proud ship to the bottom. Later, from the balcony of our luxury villa our group watched the tropical sun fall behind the coconut palms and into the azure Caribbean Sea. We reflected on the importance of this expedition, and wondered what mysteries we will unlock tomorrow…”


Join Extreme Dive Adventures for a true expedition of a lifetime as we take you on a luxury dive adventure to the tropical island of Tobago, where our group will complete a professional maritime archaeological project on the ships of an historic 1677 naval battle, under the guide of one of the most experienced and prolific Maritime Archaeologists of our time. This is not your average wreck diving, these sites are considered historical treasures, and only through special permission are we able to visit them. Expedition members will participate in all phases of this project and will be given full credit for the fieldwork performed during this trip.


John William Morris will be the expedition leader and principle investigator of the project. Mr. Morris (also known as Billy Ray) will provide historical briefings as well as full instruction for the fieldwork to be performed. As with all Extreme Dive Adventures, the accommodations will be luxurious and your guide will be with you every step of the way to insure a fantastic, world-class dive travel adventure.



Guide: J. W. (Billy Ray) Morris


In March of 1677 a Dutch fleet commanded by Admiral Binckes attacked and defeated a French squadron riding at anchor in Roodklip Baai (Rockley Bay), the present day Scarborough Harbour.  This was one of the final naval engagements in a series of conflicts known as the Dutch Wars, which lasted from 1652 until 1678, and encompassed battlefields on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean.  Although the Dutch triumphed in this battle, the French returned in December, seized the Dutch Governor, and sacked the island.  The Treaty of Ninequen, signed in 1678 returned the island to Dutch control.

The direct results of the battle of Roodklip Baai were ambiguous, with both sides claiming eventual victory.  Several vessels were lost by both sides during the close action and today are scattered across the bottom of Scarborough Harbor.  Initial archaeological investigations in 1990 and 1991 located and recorded some of the wrecks as part of a harbor dredging operations for the new ferry terminal.

CannonThe significance of these sites, both as a thematic study group and as a tightly dated collection of naval architectural remains, is impossible to overestimate.  The follow-on investigations to be undertaken this year will focus primarily on site relocation, delineation, and non-disturbance recordation.  The results of these endeavors will be published and presented at the 2010 Society for Historical Archaeology annual conference to be held in Amelia Island, Florida.

 The specific methodological approach for the first phase of these investigations will entail detailed site mapping predicated on baseline triangulation and datum webs to insure accurate recording of vessel specific construction details and hull dimensions.  No excavation will be conducted during this process with the data acquisition goals to be achieved through photography, videography, and detailed scale mapping.

Participants in this series of operations will be involved in all phases of the archaeological site recording process, under the direct supervision of the Principal Investigator and the project photographer.  Hands-on training will be provided by the professional staff to insure that all data recorded is in keeping with international archaeological standard.  Participants in this project will be invited to attend the Society for Historic Archaeology (SHA) conference to see the final results of the fieldwork that they conducted.
All archaeological projects will be conducted to internationally recognized standards for research design and methodological approach. Please see the Extreme Dive Adventures ethics statement for more detailed information.



Tobago Trip ScheduleDay 1

Depart from Miami. Flight to Port of Spain Trinidad.
Night 1 spent at Trinidad Hilton -King Suite

Day 2

Regional flight from Port of Spain Trinidad to Crown Point Airport, Tobago
Private transportation to our home base - “Paradise Found Villa” A luxurious, private waterfront residence. 

Day 3

Morning transport from villa to private dive vessel. Briefing on dive conditions. Archaeological diving.

Day 4 -6

Archaeological diving with the option for afternoon reef dives available on select days.

Day 7.

Relaxation and off-gassing day of sightseeing the island on our private tour.

Day 8

Transported to airport.
Flight from Tobago to Trinidad
Overnight at Trinidad Hilton. 

Day 9

Return to Miami, close of expedition.



All Inclusive
Round trip airfare from Miami International Airport
Round trip regional flights from Port Au Spain Trinidad to Tobago
All ground transportation, transfers, and departure taxes
All food and drink on site at Tobago Villa
Private dive boat with English speaking captain and mate
All tanks (air or NITROX) Weights


Tobago FlagTobago is one of the southernmost Caribbean islands lying just off the coast of South America. Part of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, it is relatively small at 26 miles long and 7 miles wide. Tobago is known as the “Sleepy Little Sister” to its neighboring island of Trinidad. While Trinidad is a bustling industrial and trade center, the vibe on Tobago is relaxed, and the island is mostly undeveloped. Tourism makes up a large portion of Tobago’s economy and the island is friendly to visitors from all over the world. The geography of Tobago is lush and hilly, with a large tract in the center of the island being protected by The Main Ridge Forest Reserve. This National Park is the oldest nature reserve in the entire western hemisphere, having been established in 1776. It contains thick rainforest and several scenic waterfalls. Tobago’s coastline boasts some of the Caribbean’s best beaches, many of which are virtually deserted.

Tobago is rich in history and culture.  Legend has it that the island was first discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1498. The island was prized for its rich soil and strategic location. European entities fought over the island incessantly, and the island changed hands 31 times before Great Britain was awarded its rights in the 1814 Treaty of Paris.



Tobago is considered a world-class scuba diving destination. The visibility averages 60+ feet year round and water temperatures range from 75 degrees in January/February to 82 degrees in summer. Drift diving over the coral reefs that surround the Tobago coast is the most popular of scuba activities, but several prolific wrecks and rocky pinnacles are also available. The majority of diving for our expedition will take place on the historic wrecks inside of Scarborough Harbor, where we have found excellent visibility, very little current, and depths to 60fsw.


Tobago HiltonArrival and departure days, Port of Spain Trinidad

On arrival and departure days we will be staying at the Tobago Hilton, where we will check into our private king suite.  The Tobago Hilton is a full service resort and conference center with lush landscapes and a breathtaking water view. This hotel features 2 restaurants, a poolside gazebo bar, fitness center and whirlpool. It is within walking distance of the city center where a variety of restaurants, shopping, and Caribbean style entertainment await.


While in Tobago, our group will occupy a luxury private villa. Expedition members will receive their own private water view bedroom and private bath in this 6000 square foot, Mediterranean style mansion.  An opulent covered pool and enormous balconies allow you to enjoy the breathtaking scenery while air conditioning and satellite television add to your comfort indoors. Daily maid service is included, as well as a private cook to prepare all meals. You will truly be pampered in this deluxe accommodation.



Tobago Adventure DetailsDay 1

The expedition team will converge at the Miami International Airport where we will take a flight to Port of Spain, Trinidad. Upon arrival, we will have transportation waiting to take us to our first night’s accommodation: The Trinidad Hilton Hotel.

Day 2

On day 2 we will check out of the Hilton and return to the airport for a regional flight from Port of Spain to Crown Point Airport, Tobago. Private transportation will be waiting to ferry us to our home base on Tobago, “Paradise found” private waterfront villa.

After settling in, we will convene to the villa lounge where our guide will give a lecture on the history of Tobago, centering on the Battle of Roodklip Baai. The lecture will cover the importance and goals of our archaeological project, as well as previous work on the sites and an overview of 17th century ship construction.

Following the lecture, we will do a complete dive gear check and archaeological equipment overview. Afterward, we’ll enjoy an evening of relaxation, taking in the Caribbean sunset, swimming in the pool, and a gourmet dinner prepared by our private cook.

Day 3

On our first full day in Tobago we will wake to a complete breakfast at the villa before our morning transport to our private dive vessel. We will have a meet and greet with the captain and crew and safety briefing on the dive conditions before heading to the dive sites

Days 3-7

The first two days of diving will involve locating and assessing as many of the 19 previously identified wrecks as possible. The following days will be devoted to inspecting sites degree of exposure, examining its overall condition, and installation of baselines to record the site parameters and structural details of extant site remains.

Tobago Trip DetailsDay 7

Our final full day on Tobago will be spent off-gassing. In lieu of scuba diving, we will take a private tour of the islands rainforest, waterfalls, historic forts, and the town of Charlottesville.

Day 8

On this day we will bid farewell to Tobago and catch the regional flight to Port of Spain where we will once again be treated to the Trinidad Hilton.

Day 9

Depart from Port of Spain Airport and fly back to Miami, where we will say our farewells and return home with memories of the expedition of a lifetime.

Dates: June 2010

Cost: $8,455.00

Return to the Surface