Barbados 2016 Part 3 – Scuba Diving Week 25


Barbados.  A slice of Heaven on earth … If you’re just joining me, I published the first part of my Barbados 2016 series here and the second part here.  This third part in the series covers days 6 through 11 where we did most of our scuba diving.

scuba diving

I mentioned previously that on day 3, we only did the one dive.  It really wasn’t until the following week did we actually get into the diving.  Beginning on Monday, July 11th, we did 10 dives during the course of the week, bringing the total amount of dives to 11 in just six days, with approximately 10 hours of bottom time in the ocean.

We are fairly beginner divers, only being open water certified for about six years now but we left this trip having logged our 36th dive in history, which is kind of exciting.  Some divers like to keep track of the dives, some don’t.  Some divers like to log their dives in book, some like to log them electronically.  But for me personally, I enjoy looking back at past dives to see how deep we went and what we saw.  It’s also fun to compare dive locations from one trip to the next.  On this trip, many of the reefs and wrecks we dove were where we’ve been before so it’s cool to compare marine life and what you’ve seen

scuba gear

This my friends is 50 pounds of diving gear.  The only thing that isn’t in this photo is our weights and air tanks (we don’t travel with those for obvious reasons).

Monday, July 11 – Dives #2 and #3 – Carleynes Reef and then we did a drift dive that took us towards Asta Reef

Carleynes – Depth of 81 feet, 34 minutes bottom time. 82 degrees bottom temperature

Ha! Not so funny, my BCD (buoyancy compensator device aka the vest I wear that makes me inflate/deflate my vest or sink or float) malfunctioned at the surface when I was putting a bit of air in my vest before I rolled over the edge of the boat.  You normally put a bit of air in your BCD before you jump in the water, so you can bob in the surge while waiting for other divers from your boat to get in the water and going down all together.  My inflator/deflator up and down switches, one way to add air, one way to dump air.  Most BCDs you see at dive shops you rent have the button you press and they are idiot proof.  With the new style BCDs like I have, a tiny grain of sand can get into their pieces and mess up the air line.  So, moral of the story: good that this happened while in the boat and not while I was at depth and could have potentially shot up to the surface and really hurt myself.  I had to disconnect those hoses and manually inflate/deflate by blowing into my hose if and when I needed it.  Mental note:  I need to get my vest serviced when I get home.

Saw black spade fish, about 4 green sea turtles one that particularly large.  Parrotfish (stoplight and rainbow), redbands, barracuda and trunk fish.  Don’t know what a trunk fish is?  Check out my short video below.  They are one of my favorite tropical fish.

Drift towards Asta Reef – Depth of 51 feet, 46 minutes bottom time. 84 degrees bottom temperature

At times throughout this dive, I thought to myself, “What current?” But it was only when I’d stop and struggle to kick my fins and catch up to where Jeff was.  It wasn’t drastic but it was noticeable when you had to fin your butt off and seemingly would get nowhere fast.

On this dive, we saw Blue Angelfish, Big Eyes, a frog fish (they camouflage in real well with their surroundings), Blue Tang fish (mature and juvenile), bar jacks, trumpet fish and a red seahorse.  I should explain right here that our friend and DiveMaster, David, his nickname is Seahorse Diver because he can find seahorse almost every dive or nearly every dive.

We had a lot of surge today and the idiot diver from our hotel tagged along again today and once again, tried grabbing onto turtles backs like a flippin moron.  The man makes me furious and I find it difficult to not want to throttle the man.

Speaking of favorite fish, some of my favorites are: trumpet fish, trunk fish, drum fish, file fish, parrotfish and spotted flounder (see below).  What about you?

spotted flounder

green sea turtle

Queen Angelfish

scuba diving

Scuba diving

sand dollar

lobster

Tuesday, July 12 – Dives #4 and #5 – Fork Reef and Friars Craig

Fork Reef – Depth of 75 feet, 41 minutes bottom time, 82 degrees bottom temperature

Saw several Barracuda, yellow trumpet fish, two turtles, one of which we saw swimming in the distance and the second was sleeping under a big piece of coral.  We also saw blue tang, scrawled file fish, parrotfish, angelfish, trunkfish and some juvenile spotted drum fish.

scuba diving

This is a trumpet fish

Friars Craig – Depth of 59 feet, 47 minutes bottom time. 82 degrees bottom temperature

This is a wreck and reef dive and on this dive we saw small mouth grunt, porcupine fish, spotted drum, flying gurnard, crabs x 2, scrawled filefish, blue and yellowhead wrasse, big eyes, Tiger Grouper and Angelfish.

turtle

Flying Gurnard

flying gurnard

Wednesday, July 13 – Dives #6 and #7 – Boot Reef and Accra Reef

Boot Reef – Depth of 52 feet, 60 minutes bottom time, 82 degrees bottom temperature

Saw porcupine fish, yellow goat fish (but didn’t get a picture), green sea turtles, small mouth grunt, spotted drum fish, trunk fish, stoplight and rainbow parrotfish, Rock Beauties, angelfish.

On this dive, for whatever reason, I felt too buoyant like I had trouble going down so Jeff came me some of his weight from his back pockets and that helped.

scuba diving

Accra Reef – Depth of 60 feet, 56 minutes bottom time. 84 degrees bottom temperature

Saw two sting rays on this dive.  One I barely missed that was hiding in the sand with a bit of his tail sticking out and his eyes.  I learned on this dive that when you see obvious divets in the sand, often times they are spots that a sting ray has stopped and covered themselves in sand where they’ll wait it out for food.  They’re being sneaky.  🙂

We also saw many pork fish (something I hadn’t previously seen), blue stripe grunt, 2 spotted eels (one was small and the other was very large)

On the previous dive, I felt too buoyant. On this dive, I felt too heavy.  Not sure what the hell was going on.

sting ray in sand

scuba diving

spotted eel

See that thing in the middle of the photo? That’s a spotted eel.  Eels are one of the most misconstrued fish out there.  People often assume when they see their mouths gaping open and closed that they are going to bite but it is quite the contrary.  It’s how the breathe.

Thursday, July 14 – Dives #8 and #9 – Old Fort Reef and Carlisle Bay (Marine Park)

Old Fort Reef – Depth of 47 feet, 61 minutes bottom time, 82 degrees bottom temperature

Saw garden eel (I’ll have to find a picture of these guys for you, they’re kind of comical when you realize what you’re seeing), one sting ray, a slippery lobster, one very plump cushion star fish (love these!), a flying gurnard, file fish and more.  I can’t find any good pictures but picture this:  if you look out into the sand, particularly in spots where there aren’t a lot of coral, you’ll see these skinny little things popping up out of the sand as though they’re spying on you.  As soon as you swim close, they fuck back into the sand.  They can’t be bigger than your finger and they’re kind of comical to watch as they leer at you, then quickly hide.  🙂

cushion star fish

I noted that on today’s dives in particular, I didn’t feel rushed or any anxiety, I just felt incredibly mellow and such peace and tranquility.  I think that’s what they call feeling blessed.

scuba diving

Carlisle Bay – Depth of 49 feet, 61 minutes bottom time. 82 degrees bottom temperature

Carlisle Bay is a natural harbour on the west coast of Barbados and is the main harbour adjoining the capital city of Bridgetown and it contains both wrecks and reef.  Years ago, Carlisle Bay was once full of merchant vessels but today you will find find catamarans and luxury yachts and plenty of water activities suitable for all ages.

The bay lies in the heart of UNESCO World Heritage Site, which I talked about here in Part 2 and the marine park located at Carlisle Bay is a hotspot for scuba diving and snorkeling. There are 7 shipwrecks in the bay, the newest being The Trident, a Barbados Coast Guard ship that was sunk in late April of this year.  Wrecks range in depth from 12ft to 90ft, the Trident now being the deepest.  With it being sunk only earlier this year, there isn’t much marine life or coral but give it a few years and it should look pretty spectacular.  It is pretty impressive anyways on its own, with a gun bolted to the ship’s floor so divers will be sure to pose for pictures with the gun in hand.  Hopefully on our next trip there, we’ll dive to see this beauty.

Saw a red sea horse immediately at the bottom when we descending (David is always able to find these little things), a frog fish, two spotted eel (one small one in a wreck and the other nestled into a pile of coral), blue angelfish, rock beauty, one barracuda, parrotfish and grunt fish.

scuba diving scuba diving

scuba diving

scuba diving

scuba diving

Friday, July 15 – Dives #10 and #11 – Top of Boot Reef and Accra Reef

Top of Boot Reef – Depth of 52 feet, 59 minutes bottom time, 82 degrees bottom temperature  — OUR LAST DAY OF DIVING

The current was more noticeable today so we started at the top of Boot Reef and then drifted down the reef.  We saw two turtles coming up for air as we descended.  We also saw shell fish, blue and yellow trumpet fish, mackerel, spade fish, 2 sting rays, parrotfish, 3 lion fish (which might seem like a lot but the population has gone down drastically, which is good for the entire species of fish since lion fish, although pretty, decimate entire species of fish).  We spotted one turtle having a snooze under coral, totally oblivious to us onlookers, we also saw one spotted eagle ray and a lot of schools of fish just swimming or eating.  It was beautiful.

spotted eagle ray spotted eagle ray

The one spotted eagle ray that we saw took our breath away.  They are such peaceful creatures just gliding through the water.  You can’t get too close to the spotted eagle rays and I’m not sure why but it’s just as well since they have those long tails that trail behind them and at the very tip there is a barb.  At one point Jeff saw this guy in the distance and raced to follow him on video (which you’ll see when he finishes the videos).  They’re incredibly fast as just gliding away….

turtle

scuba diving

Jeff

Accra Reef – Depth of 54 feet, 59 minutes bottom time. 82 degrees bottom temperature

Our very last dive.  It’s always bittersweet on our last day of diving.  We always, always, always contemplate about adding more but alas, there are other things to do and see on the island so we just left it at eleven this trip.

David, our divemaster, found yet another red seahorse when we descended and the three of us spent a good five minutes trying get the perfect shot of the little guy but he kept moving and we kept stirring up the sand trying to get still.

We also saw a porcupine fish, trunk fish, a very large turtle, two cuddle fish that look a lot like squid, file fish, spotted flounder, spade fish, blue and yellow trumpet fish, lots of garden eel and one scorpion fish.

scuba diving

scuba diving

scuba diving

porcupine fish

And last and but least, here’s my swan song, my last hurrah on our 11th and final dive of the trip.  We were at our decompression stop and I just felt so happy and at peace within, I just couldn’t help myself. 

My Happy Place
We ended up concluding our trip with our 36th dive logged and a total of almost 27 hours underwater (for the entire 36 dives, not just this trip).  I can’t wait to get back in the water!
If any of you are still with me, thank you for sticking around.  I hope you enjoyed the pictures as much as I enjoyed the diving. 

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