Diving And Snorkelling In Barbados

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Barbados has two distinct barrier reefs running along the west and south coasts. Visibility up to 90 or 100 feet makes these waters a pleasure to explore. Although it can be crowded during tourist season, Barbados’ coral reefs are appropriate for beginning to experienced divers.

Popular dive sites are:

Bell Buoy is one of Barbados’ most popular dive sites, a massive coral reef shaped like a bell. These forests of brown coral, which are near Rockely Beach, are home to angel fish, parrot fish and chromis, and it is known as a prime spot for underwater photography due to premium lighting conditions. Good for beginners and intermediate divers.

dive-barbadosBright Ledge has arguably the greatest variety of marine life on the island, including nurse sharks, manta rays, moray eels, jacks and French angel fish. The visibility is great here, and there is even a chance of seeing a Hawksbill turtle. For intermediate and advanced divers.

Dottins Reef, off of Holetown Coast, is home to many varieties of tropical fish and turtles. It is particularly known as a habitat for barracudas. Good for beginners and intermediate divers.

Maycocks Bay, off the northwest coast near Checker Hall is the only reef in the area that runs east to west; this site is home to beautiful coral formations, barracuda, parrot fish, creole wrasse and trigger fish.  For intermediate and advanced divers.

Silver Bank, which is inside Clarke’s Reef off Brighton Beach, is another very popular dive site. Because the glass-bottom submarine frequents this site and fish are fed frequently, there is a huge population of varied tropical fish here. At 60 to 80 feet deep, Silver Bank is best for intermediate divers.

Snorkelling

There are three designated Barbados snorkelling areas on the island. Two of them are located on the west coast in the Folkstone Marine Park and the third on the south coast in the Carlisle Bay Marine Park. The Folkstone Marine reserve was established in 1981 for the promotion of scientific use.You will find that the inshore reef found in the Recreational Zone of the Park is ideal for snorkelling. Also of benefit is its close proximity to the shore. It is located about one-third of a mile offshore. This reef is home to schools of brightly coloured fish and other marine life, including sea anemones, sea lilies, corals and sponges. The second designated snorkelling area is also located in the recreational zone at the Folkstone Marine reserve is set up a little way from the beach at Holetown. There is an artificial reef in this second area which was created from a barge that has been sunk in the reserve. This area has already attracted a wide variety of marine life such as chubs, snappers and squirrelfish. The third designated Barbados snorkelling area is located at the Carlisle Bay Marine Park on the south coast. In this reserve there are no natural reefs, but you will find a number of exciting shipwrecks that are now habitat to marine life. At many snorkelling sites it will also be possible to swim and dive with turtles!

Wreck Diving

Barbados is well known for its diving, and can be considered the best diving area in the Caribbean because of the large number of ship wrecks around the island. Wreck dives range from shallow beginner dives to the more extreme deep dives for more experienced divers.

All wreck dive locations are situated on the west and southern sides of the island. For beginner and intermediate divers, Carlisle Bay is the perfect location to start. There are numerous wrecks that tend to be particularly interesting: the Berwyn, Eilon, C-Trek and Fox. Further up north 100ft Dutch freighter called Friars Crag that was sunk in 1984 and lying in 55ft of water can be found. A magnificent reef is located nearby, allows you to see all sorts of tropical fish, eels, etc. Further north west you will find a 365ft Greek freighter The Stavronika that was deliberately sunk to form an artificial reef, this wreck is now home to numerous fish and corals. The Stavronikita lies in 120ft of water. Finally at the very north of the island freighter Pamir lays in waters, it remains intact at a depth of 40 to 50 ft. Host to a colony of black coral and sea fans; this north-western site is frequented by schools of sergeant majors, white frogfish, squid and large pelagic fish. Great dive for beginners.

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