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Dive Review of Hightide Watersports/Coral Reef Club in
Barbados/St. James

May, 2007, an Instant Reader Report by David Komessar, MA, USA (1 report)
Report Number 3499
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
51-100 dives
Where else diving
Moorea, Bora Bora, Huahine, Hawaii (big Island), Maui (twice), Kauai, Cape
Ann Massachusetts
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

Water Temp
80   to 85    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
70   to 120    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Divers were instructed to adhere to the depth limited stated by the
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
Whale Sharks
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  4 stars
Tropical Fish
4 stars  
Small Critters
  4 stars
Large Fish
2 stars  
Large Pelagics
  1 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
3 stars  
Boat Facilities
3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
3 stars  
Shore Facilities  
2 stars  
The camera table is under the covered area.  There was also a dry storage.
We are not photographers nor was anyone in the dive party but it seemed
that they were capable of handling it.
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
5 stars
5 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
3 stars  
Shore Diving  
3 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
5 stars   
4 stars    
 My wife and I started diving in French Polynesia and the Hawaiian Islands.
 We've always considered ourselves spoiled by the large pelagics and the
Pacific diving.  We knew Barbados was not a dive destination based on the
limited amount of literature and also sparse mention in the past five
 Barbados is the most easterly of the islands in the Caribbean and is the
only coral island in the region with all white sand beaches. The
temperature was between 75-85 F every day.
  We rented a house called Oyster Bay which is an elegant 4 bedroom villa,
fully staffed, with swimming pool located on the beautiful Lower Carlton
Beach on Reeds Bay.  We snorkled off our beach and saw hawksbill turtles
every day.  Having stayed at Oyster Bay, we will never stay anywhere else
on Barbados.  It truely was 5-star for food, service, and accommodations.
  We chose to dive with Hightide Watersports based on a recommendation from
Bajan Services, the concierge service that served the house we rented. 
Hightide Watersports is located just north of Holetown at the Coral Reef
Club.  We checked in with Tricia at the shop and having brought our own
gear, didnt need to rent any of their ample supply.  I guess the two of
were spoiled by the folks at Ed Robinsons in Maui, when we realized we had
to carry our own gear onto the 37' aluminum catamaran, grab two tanks and
then set up.  Their brochure says "The best diving is always at
Hightide," but forgot to mention that it was also self-service.
  We both thanked each other for the wisdom in taking a refresher course
three weeks prior to diving because it sure helped us familiarize the
intracacies of setting up your own tank and gear when you hadn't done it in
several years.  Ryan drove the boat on our first two dives while Neal was
the divemaster.  On our four remaing dives Ryan was the divemaster.  The
briefings were detailed and as there was only three people going down we
were just told to watch our air and depth, follow the leader, and come up
at the same time.
  Barbados seems to get slighted when it comes to publicity about its
diving.  The water was warm and visibility fantastic. The first day we
dived Brightledge and The Cement Factory.  At Brightledge we bottomed at 80
feet and The Cement Factory 33 feet.  We were used to volcanic islands so
this coral island was new and exhilarating.  The reefs were healthy with no
bleaching.  We were highly encouraged about our Bajan diving vacation
because we saw sponges and coral in all shapes and sizes.  We never
imagined finning through forests of fan coral before Barbados.  We also saw
smooth trunkfish, fairy basslet, several hawksbill turtles, barracuda and
plenty of wrasse, trumpet fish, jacks, butterfly fish and parrotfish.  The
dive at The Cement Factory was perhaps the best dive of the trip.  The dive
site is actually located under the cement factory's pier and pilings.  The
dive is shallow allowing for a nice long leisurely swim.   We marvelled at
the numerous sightings of sea horses.  We also saw several spotted eagle
rays and some turtles.  The dive site does have some debris like tires and
old rum and beer bottles but the reef critters have colonized them.  The
other highlight dive was "The Stav" as its commonly referred. 
Considered the jewel in Barbados' wreck diving crown, the 365ft Greek
freighter was deliberately sunk to form an artificial reef and has now
become home to numerous fish and corals. The Stavronikita lies in 120ft of
water with the stern at 100ft and the bow at 70ft. Our divemaster Ryan
stated we were to max our depth at 100 feet.  It was a little chilly at 100
feet and we were glad we wore our 3mm wetsuits.
  We really enjoyed Barbados and plan on returning again in 2008.  We
travelled in May this year, which is considered off-season and a lot less
crowded from what we have read in previous chapbooks. We would higly
recommend Barbados for both the beginner and the experienced diver.  There
are quite a few dive operators on the island and even though we had good
diving and reasonable prices with Hightide we will perhaps find another
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