Barbados Reef Diving
Barbados is surrounded by a colorful array of patch and fringe reefs and two distinct barrier reefs running along the west and south coasts.
With a little bit of everything, diving in Barbados is a buffet of underwater delicacies.
Most reef diving on the south coast will undoubtedly be a drift dive. Currents range from gentle flows to heaving pulls making for an exhilarating ride along the Barbados dive express!
The way it works is like this, you board a boat out to the reef where you enter the water. The dive master will generally carry a reel attached to an inflated buoy or marker which allows the driver of the boat to follow the divers underwater path. Usually, the dive will end at a pre-arranged location and time where the boat will then pick you up.
During the dive, you and your guide will swim with the current to avoid over exertion and maximize bottom time. In the case of an early ascent, divers should surface with their dive buddy staying close to the marker to allow for easy identification and pick up.
While the idea of a drift dive might seem intimidating at first, there are many benefits to this kind of diving. Sediment kicked up by other divers is quickly pushed away often allowing for increased visibility. Currents also transport nutrients into the reef which foster a diversity of coral colonies.
Furthermore, by allowing yourself to be effortlessly carried by the flow, the diver is able to cover long distances underwater. By lowering activity levels, the diver is able to conserve air and extend the period of time underwater while providing ample opportunity to see a broader and more diverse range of sea life.
Drift dives, however, are certainly not the best conditions for macro photography. The movement of the water prohibits the underwater photographer from maintaining a steady position which could cause coral damage and clumsy shots.
Barbados offers an outstanding variety of reef dives. The only Caribbean island built on solid limestone and coral, surrounding waters are characterized by shallow slopes merging into the deep ocean recess.
Divided between strips of reef and sandy lengths, surrounding waters are endowed with a number of both hard and soft coral species nurtured by the abundance of sunlight filtering through the crystal clear waters.
Popular drift dive sites in Barbados include:
» The Deep
» Lobster Reef
» Pieces of Eight
» The Boot
» Mount Charlie
» Asta Reef
At varying depths, these sites fulfill every range of capabilities from the recently certified PADI diver to the more advanced scuba divers.
East and north coast dives are not for the faint of heart. With cold Atlantic waters, breaking waves, intricate channels and heaving currents these dive sites should only be attempted by experienced divers guided by local dive operators familiar with the areas.
Consett Bay is a popular south-east location. Situated off of a small fishing village, this Bay is an ideal spot for viewing rough and rugged coral formations, lobster and big fish such as nurse sharks. Conditions are best during the summer months between June and September.