In this ongoing series, we speak to the people who run dive centres, resorts and liveaboards from around the world about their businesses and the diving they have to offer…
What is the name of your business?
What is your role within the business?
How long has the business operated for?
How long have you dived for, and what qualification are you?
More than 25 years; PADI Master Scuba Diver Training and Freediving Instructor
What is your favorite type of diving?
Education diving – when we are teaching about the health and importance of the reef and its creatures. Or when I am learning about my own inner ocean peace on a freedive.
If you could tell people one thing about your business (or maybe more!) to make them want to visit you what would it be?
We legitimately love what we do. Barbados Blue is run by marine biologists and built from a crew of ocean-loving, happy people. As small island people we grew up at the beach and it means more to us than just a job or just a pastime. Our hearts are in the ocean and we consider ourselves lucky – even on those extra days – to be able to share what we do with you.
Uniquely we also have a sister dive shop, Grenada Blue, better known as Eco Dive in Grenada so we can offer a two island holiday, or a repeat Caribbean destination built on the same values, education and principles.
What is your favorite dive in your location and why?
Carlisle Bay Marine Park – an amazing series of wrecks and patch reef right off the beach, two minutes from the dive centre. This dive never gets old, with history, wreck swim throughs, the new MV Trident, great marine life including a hot zone for seahorses, frogfish, rays, turltes and more. This is a gem of a training site, an amazing site for photographers and the perfect location for Freedivers, beginners to advanced. I really do LOVE my backyard Marine Park.
What types of diving are available in your location?
Wrecks – Stavronikita, Bajan Queen, Cornwallis, Berwyn, C-trek, Pamir, Brianna, Trident, Friar’s Craig
Reef Diving – all over patch reef and bank reefs around our coral island
Adventure Diving – East Coast and North coast in calm conditions
What do you find most rewarding about your current role?
The ability to share my passion, to teach, and to help the next generation set the stage for a better Barbados to come.
What is your favorite underwater creature?
Sea Turtles – we have tons of them! But if that is too obvious I am going for a ‘Thumb Splitter’ mantis shrimp. With some of the most amazing eyeballs, colourings and their sneaky powerhouse, I love their stealth and the challenge of finding one.
Are there any exciting changes / developments coming up in the near future?
Along with our sister shop Eco Dive in Grenada we are the only shops in the southern Caribbean offering the PADI Coral First Aid coral nursery specialty course. This is designed to give our juvenile corals at risk a fighting chance, a place to grow big and strong before being outplanted on the reef, while providing our skilled guests the chance to get involved and help make a real difference on the reef and in our marine parks. We need more marine parks and Barbados is just getting going. There are exciting chances in the works, stay tuned.
As a center what is the biggest problem you face at the moment?
- Oxybenzone based sunscreens that prevent the corals from reproducing properly (please get your hands on reef safe – zinc – based sunscreens before arrival)
- Ocean plastics (help us reduce our plastic use by refusing single use bags, straws, cups and any unnecessary plastics.
Is your center involved in any environmental work?
Eco Dive (Grenada) got us signed up for Project AWARE’s 100% AWARE programme, with them as a sister dive shop challenge a number of years ago and we’ve never looked back. Between our sister centres we have donated over $12,000 US to ocean conservation efforts and are not done yet. Inspired by the progress we have opened our own non-profit NGO’s called Eco Blue that allow us to give back locally with learn to swim, mega fauna (shark and ray) marine education, permanent mooring, invasive species lionfish outreach and more. Within Barbados Blue itself, on top of the 100% AWARE, we are also running the Coral First Aid nursery specialty course, and we help the Barbados sea turtle project with turtle tagging and rescue.
How do you see the SCUBA / Freediving / snorkeling industry overall? What changes would you make?
Incorporate more conservation info as mandatory course info into training programmes. We would love to see an ECO Open Water that builds more conservation into the course from the first time you hit the pool. Many of our fellow centres are on board – but not all… and not all enable it to be easy or obvious. Our divers are our messengers. Divers that make a difference could be all divers (you did ask me to dream)… Remember the effect of a butterfly’s wings, all of our actions matter!
And we are LOVING the freediving. An amazing way to connect with the ocean on a different level, and a ‘greener’ way to dive.
What would you say to our visitors to promote the diving you have to offer?
Welcome! We are here to help, here to build a connection with our divers and here to share the ocean love in beautiful Barbados.
Where can our visitors find out more about your business?