Category Archives: General

Scuba diving in Barbados

Barbados is an island country in the Caribbean and, like many other islands in the area, it has a lot to offer to scuba divers. This coral island is about 34 by 23 kilometers (or 21 by 14 miles) and has the population of about 280 000 people.

South coast of Barbados, West Indies.
South coast of Barbados (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dive sites

You will find dive sites all along the west coast. There are also several sites along the east coast: starting near the easternmost point of the island — the East Point Lighthouse — and stretching several kilometers north.

Map of Barbados
Map of Barbados (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Reef diving in Barbados is best done by boat. The reefs are several hundred meters from the shore and, in some places, they can be out as far as three kilometers (two miles).

Wreck diving in Barbados

If you want to go wreck diving in Barbados, Stavronikita is a must-see.  It is a 365 foot cargo ship that lies some 400 meters from the shore on the west-coast. While “the Stav” is arguably the most impressive wreck in the waters of Barbados, you may find the Carlisle Bay Marine Park even more intriguing. The park has 6 ship wrecks in close proximity and on a single dive you can visit more than one of them.

Dive operators

There are at least two local dive operators, Barbados Blue and Eco Dive Barbados on Barbados. The cost of diving in Barbados is reasonable even though it is definitely the lowest in the Caribbean.

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Virtual Diving – Courtesy of Google

How would you like taking a peek underwater at your next diving holiday destination right now? Google Maps lets you do just that.

Most of us have used Google Maps and its Street View to explore the interesting locations: famous monuments, the city that we plan to visit, our childhood neighborhood.  Yes, Street View is the little “peg man” that you drop on the map and it opens up a panoramic view of the location.

Already back in 2012 Google announced that they have added the very first underwater panoramic images to Google Maps. The number of available underwater images have grown steadily ever since but, surprisingly few divers seem to be aware of that.

If you’d like to get started right a way, here is a link that takes you to Molokini Crater at Maui, Hawaii and another that takes you to see a turtle at Heron Island Resort at the Great Barrier Reef.

1885 Map of Maui
1885 Map of Maui (Photo credit: sjrankin)

To visit an underwater location of your choice, just open Google Maps and find the location on the map as you would any location ashore. You can then drag and drop the “peg man” onto the location if there are any images available.

There are regions where Google Maps seems to have managed to captured almost all major sites in their underwater imagery but in other areas, such as the Red Sea, there are hardly any.

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Air travel with scuba gear

Sometimes you would love to take your own scuba gear with you to a far away destination but you are afraid of the hassle and cost. Here are a few pointers that will help you along the way.

UPS Worldport Air Hub at Louisville Internatio...
UPS Worldport Air Hub at Louisville International Airport (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A good starting point is to figure out why you want to take your own scuba gear with you. That should help you also in deciding what to take with you. Here are some common reasons and items to pack:

  • Comfort and convenience: Your own regulator’s  mouth piece has been molded to fit your teeth, your mask never leaks unlike most rental masks you’ve tried, you want to use your own dive computer because that way you can download the log to your PC, …. Whichever items give you the comfort or convenience you want, if what you should pack and, to keep cost and the hassle to minimum, nothing else.
  • You are not sure if the gear you need is available where you go: underwater camera, yoke or DIN adapter (which you may need if you are taking your own regulator set with you), gloves,…
  • Safety: You are concerned that rental gear might malfunction or that you would be at risk because you are not familiar with the gear. If this is your motivation, then your packing list should include at least your BCD, regulator set and weight belt.
  • Because you just want to: In this case, you probably would like to pack all you have and then the kitchen sink. In this case, you may want to consider the cost: On most airlines it is the weight that matters so you may want to leave the heavier items behind.

Now that you know what to pack, you have a few options on how to get your scuba gear to the destination:

  • Carry-on: Good for few small items and you can be relative certain that they do not get lost or delayed on the way.
  • Checked luggage: Check your airlines web pages for rules about extra weight and extra pieces of luggage. Some airlines have special pricing for scuba gear that will save you some money.
  • Air-cargo, couriers, shipping,…: There are a plenty of other options that come handy especially if you are traveling long distance with lots of gear.
A Singapore Airlines Cargo Boeing 747 loading ...
A Singapore Airlines Cargo Boeing 747 loading at Copenhagen Airport (Kastrup) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you want to check in scuba gear as luggage you may want to keep a few things in mind when preparing for the trip:

  • Early on, figure out the total weight of your luggage, the number of pieces and the size of each piece.
  • This lets you to compare the total price or, in other words, the price of the ticket plus extra fees between airlines.
  • Also, keep an eye on the absolute maximum limits for checked luggage set by the airline. These are limits that you cannot exceeded; not even by paying extra. If you have more luggage, consider using air-cargo or a similar option.
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