Each year the magical, Caribbean island of Barbados holds a festival to celebrate scuba diving, free diving and marine conservation. This year, Nick and Caroline went along to see what it was all about…
Friday 6th July: Day 3
The third day of Dive Fest Barbados saw us diving with our old friends from Barbados Blue. A warm welcome from Andre, Christie and Keira at the dive shop was a great start to the day, catching up on all that we had been up to since we last saw them. Andre had a glint in his eye, which is not uncommon, but we knew he had something up his sleeve for the day’s diving. He had decided to take us out on our own boat, with just the three of us from Scubaverse, and he and Christie from Barbados Blue. “How do you fancy diving on a submarine?” says Andre.
It turns out that Atlantis Submarines Barbados run submarine tours off the reef and we had been given permission to dive alongside the sub as it hovered above the reef. We jumped at the chance, and as we dived down to greet it, we saw a group of local school children pressed up against the windows. They were being introduced to the wonderful underwater world that surrounds their island, and we were there to add to the fun. Nick and Andre went along each window, waving and bumping fists against the glass. It was smiles and laughter all round.
But our adventures were not over for the day. Between dives, Andre had been on the phone and radio while we basked in the sunshine. Suddenly there was a cheer from Andre – we had been given permission to “ride” the submarine to the bottom of the sea! Yes, you heard me right – it was going to come to the surface to take on a new group of guests. Then we were going to stand on the top, hold on, and ride it to a depth of around 20m. Never have we done anything quite as mad as this before; truly bonkers!!
We started with a serious briefing before we crossed to the Atlantis. It was an epic ride. As the sub started to descend we had to hold on to the railing tight, as the water rushed up past us. We were in an ocean of bubbles, holding on with one hand, trying to take photos with the other, along with equalizing! Soon we were able to let go of the railing and just hang out on the deck as the descent became easier once we were fully submerged. The bubbles died down and we could take some photos, finally swimming off the top and around to wave at and thank the captain, as well as entertaining the visitors inside the sub. You can watch the video below:
It was a dive we will talk about for a very long time to come! After a pause for breath we tied up the boat, and stopped for some lunch at The Beach House, with plenty of talk of what it was like to ride a submarine to the bottom of the ocean. Our post lunch dive was to go and see the coral nursery that the team from Barbados Blue have been nurturing and to see Andre and Christie (who is a coral biologist) transplant staghorn coral from the nursery to the reef.
To top off an amazing day – with it being a Friday – it was time to head to the famous Friday night “Fish Fry” at Oistins. Here huge crowds gather to enjoy the food, music and entertainment that kicks off every weekend in Barbados.
Want to join in on all the fun at Dive Fest Barbados 2019 – put the dates in your diary: 3rd to 7th July 2019
- Nikon D800, Nauticam housing, INON Strobes
- Olympus OMD EM-1 mkII, Nauticam housing, INON Strobes
- Paralenz Dive Camera