Barbados – Diving the Stavronikita

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The Stav, as it is affectionally known here, was a 120m long Greek freighter. She had a fateful end. On the 26th August 1976, when crossing from Ireland to the Caribbean, she caught fire and 6 of her crew perished, while 24 others drifted for four days before eventually being rescued. The ship was towed to Barbados where she remained for two years, before being bought and stripped by the Parks and Beach Commission to be sunk as an artificial reef. She lies in 40m of water, with her forward mast, at 18m, looming out of the blue as you descend.

We had one dive on this magnificent wreck, but really you need at least 3 dives to do her any justice. The first thing you notice, as you drop into the clear blue water, is just how big she is. There is just so much to explore, and having been underwater for nearly 40 years, she has an incredible abundance of growth and just teems with colourful marine life. One of the highlights is the forward mast, which is caked in coral, sponges and some of the sea fans appear to reach out to you, to embrace you. As this part is relatively shallow, this is where many divers spend a lot of their dive-time. You could spend a whole dive just on this mast, as we mostly did, photographing the owner of our dive centre, Barbados Blue.

We did, however, also venture to the bow, and completed a quick tour along the port side to get a feel for what else there was to see. Huge sponges and black gorgonians adorn every feature on the deck, and we would have loved to drop down to the bottom to photograph the props, but there is only so much you can do on a single dive.

But there can be no doubt, this is a fantastic wreck, and one we hope to get the chance to dive again before too long; it is right up there with some of the top great Caribbean wreck dives.

www.divebarbadosblue.com

www.visitbarbados.org

For more from Nick and Caroline, visit www.frogfishphotography.com.

Nick and Caroline Robertson-Brown

Nick and Caroline Robertson-Brown

Nick and Caroline Robertson-Brown are a husband and wife team of underwater photographers. Both have degrees in environmental biology from Manchester University, with Caroline also having a masters in animal behaviour. Nick is a fellow of the Royal Photographic Society in underwater wildlife photography and he also has a masters in teaching. They are passionate about marine conservation and hope that their images can inspire people to look after the world's seas and oceans. Their Manchester-based company, Frogfish Photography, offers a wide range of services and advice. They offer tuition with their own tailor made course - the Complete Underwater Photography Award. The modules of the course have been written to complement the corresponding chapters in Nick's own book: Underwater Photography Art and Techniques. They also offer equipment sales and underwater photography trips in the UK and abroad. For more information visit www.frogfishphotography.com.

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