Scuba Spotlight: Barbados

The diversity of scuba diving options in Barbados is almost crippling were it not so exciting! Look at a map in a dive shop of all the sites you have available around this one island and you’ll be amazed that this hasn’t been overrun as a scuba destination already. I chose to dive with Reefers and Wreckers in Speightstown, on the west coast, and I had a really great diving experience with them!

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There are many dive sites along the coral reef that stretches nearly the entire west coast of the island. The massive coral reef structure is home to a great diversity of fish and other animals, as the reef has been well-protected and remains quite healthy. How lucky for us! The fish we saw ranged everywhere from rainbow fish to parrot fish to atlantic swordfish and fish that blend with their surroundings and enormous schools of fish.

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Unfortunately Barbados does suffer from the invasive species of lionfish that damage this ecosystem. They were brought here from Florida and have been a pest ever since. Every dive though, people will kill a couple of lionfish, to help keep their population numbers down. Apparently they’re quite tasty too!

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Among the shipwrecks around the island is a massive 170’ shipwreck! This ship somehow sunk in such a way that it rests perfectly upright, which allowed us to go swimming in and out and through its interior. It is a challenge to fit yourself and your equipment through the windows and openings but the sensation of exploring a former ship now turned into coral reef habitat is unlike any dive I’ve done before.

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At one particular dive site on the northern section of the west coast, there is a large population of sea horses. A favorite among regular divers, this site offers the rather unique opportunity to swim up close and personal with these sea horses. So yes, your childhood dream of swimming with sea horses can come true!

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Further south on the coast, there is a sea turtle breeding ground where divers can swim with the large old turtles that move so gracefully through the water despite their clunky body and shell. There is a symbiotic relationship at play too, because some turtles there act as a safe home to fishes that swim beneath their shells and eat the parasites off the turtles. Other turtles have been less lucky as to be damaged by fishermen or boat propellers, which reminds us to take caution and be aware of how our visit impacts them. Bring along some fish meat if you want them to get really active when you visit!

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The diving in Barbados was so fun and beautiful, definitely a place I would return to. This certainly is true for others as well, because one diver on my dive was returning for his fifteenth year of diving in Barbados. It’s not a destination to be missed!

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