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

Hightide Watersports/Coral Reef Club, May, 2007,

by David Komessar, MA, USA ( 1 report). Report 3499.

No photos available at this time

Ratings and Overall Comments 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Accommodations 5 stars Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 3 stars Shore Diving 3 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 5 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments 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 chapbooks.
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 operator.

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

Weather sunny Seas calm
Water Temp 80-85°F / 27-29°C Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 70-120 Ft/ 21-37 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile ?
Enforced diving restrictions Divers were instructed to adhere to the depth limited stated by the divemaster.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks None Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 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
UW Photo Comments 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.
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Note: The information here was reported by the author above, but has NOT been reviewed nor edited by Undercurrent prior to posting on our website. Please report any major problems by writing to us and referencing the report number above.

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