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Dive Review of West Side Scuba/rented apt in
Barbados/West & South Coast

West Side Scuba/rented apt: "Plenty of good diving and some bottles of rum", Jun, 2015,

by Mark A. Magers, CA, US (Sr. Contributor Sr. Contributor 20 reports with 23 Helpful votes). Report 8278 has 3 Helpful votes.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 3 stars Food N/A
Service and Attitude 4 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 3 stars
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 3 stars
Comments After more than 2 decades of drinking Mt Gay rum, we finally made the pilgrimage to Barbados, to dive and to taste the local rums. There are 4 distilleries on the small island, and they are justifiably proud of the tradition.
We rented a 1 bedroom apartment in the Oistin’s area ($500 for the week, with small pool), maybe 10 minutes from the airport and, depending on traffic, 25-45 minutes from the capital of Bridgetown, from whence the dive boat left. While buses are plentiful, looked easy and are definitely cheap (around $1 US per trip per person), we wanted to explore the island and its history, so we rented a car, left hand drive and all. Not sure how a couple of bags of scuba gear would work on a bus, either.
We went diving with West Side Scuba, now based in Hastings, near Bridgetown, though formerly based just south of Holetown, a little further up the western coast of the island. The former location was probably better (so said Peter, the owner), but times change and there you are. After we met at the shop, filled out paperwork and showed C Cards, we drove a few more minutes toward town to the public beach at Carlisle Bay. The parking lot always had spots, and is a decent public restroom (bring your own toilet paper, just in case, always a good idea!) with outside showers. We met there each morning we dove.
The boat was a 34’ fiberglass dive special with a powerful inboard diesel, which we heard but never really saw get cranked up full throttle. All fine, likely due in part to the fact that we were there (in June) in off season, and there were only more than 3-4 divers, including us, on 1 of the 4 days we went out. Getting on the boat required wading out from the beach about 15-20 feet, in 3-4 feet of water to reach the boat, which was fine except the first day when I forgot to put my wallet in our dry bag first (my mistake). There was a lot of Sargasso seaweed on the beach, and in the water, and while no big deal it was marginally icky.
Divemaster G and Captain Roy were great. G is a man never at a loss for words, always entertaining, and it turned out he grew up with a divemaster we had great experiences with in Dominica, at Nature Island Dive a few years ago. We spent the first 2 days more or less close in near Carlisle Bay, which was not a bad thing. In particular, the Carlisle Bay wreck dives are really nice. There are 6 wrecks of various sizes, more or less in a circle, and you can tour each of them in one dive. The depth is 20-40 feet, so there is plenty of light and you can easily do a 50-60 minutes dive. If anything, we generally had more air when we got on board than we wished we had, meaning a few more minutes would have been great. If we had spent a few more days there we likely would have talked our way into more bottom time, but we were sensitive to the fact that on a couple of days we were more or less the only divers on the boat. Economics of the dive shop do matter. We did the wrecks twice and would have gladly done them a few more times. It seems they are reachable from shore, though we were not there long enough to check that option out.

On our first dive we saw 4 turtles and a couple of brown spotted morays, and it seemed filefish of all colors and sizes were everywhere. The coral growth was good, looked like new growth on top of old dead coral. We discussed with Peter and he confirmed that the commitment to better runoff policy many years back was paying off. The 2nd dive on the aforementioned Carlisle Bay wrecks yielded lots of sponges, many schools of smaller fish, brown chromis and creole wrasse, and a 100+ school of French grunts. Squirrelfish lurked under the shady sots of the wrecks, and we saw a “colony” of arrow crabs, maybe 6-7 in one sponge. And a couple of banded coral shrimp. Therte were also a couple of lionfish, which G dispatched whenever he spotted them. There were also a lot of sergeant majors, mostly nesting, and darting out all purple and angry to keep us at bay from the nest.
We did a dive on Day 2 called Under the Pier, but G called it The Cathedral, and his name is both better, and accurate. Average depth was about 50 feet, plenty to see at 40 and above. You basically swim inside the pilings of an abandoned cargo pier, and when the light is right the rays of sunlight coming through the piers indeed reminds you of a church. Great sponge growth, good schools fish, trumpetfish, a stonefish, houndfish, and more filefish everywhere.
Rivaling the Carlisle Bay wrecks is the wreck of the Stavronikita, though rather deep. We stayed near the deck at between 70 and 80 feet for the most part, and that was more than great. The black coral on the Stav is amazing, the biggest and thickest stands we have seen. Two turtles were grazing on the sponges, including a very large green turtle 4-5 feet. A school of at least 500 creole wrasse accompanied us, swimming back and forth around us. It was a great dive, and very memorable. The overall coral rating here is 3 due to the ongoing recovery, but the black coral on the Stav was an easy 5 stars, though.
Overall we found Barbados diving exceeded our expectations. Vis was generally from 20 to 50 feet, and varied some even on the same dive. West Side Scuba was great, they were very service oriented and even loaned us a regulator when one of ours’ started free flowing and would not respond to the usual fixes.
Websites West Side Scuba   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving GBR, most of Hawaii, Dominica, ABCs, Cabo Pulmo, La Paz, Cozumel, Montserrat, BVI, St John, Saba, many othger Caribbean, Panama
Closest Airport BGI Getting There via ATL or JFK or maybe IAH; from California it took 14+ hours

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, windy Seas calm, choppy
Water Temp 81-83°F / 27-28°C Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 20-60 Ft/ 6-18 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions We generally followed a divemaster and were allowed to more or less manage our depth and air with our computers
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks None Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 3 stars Tropical Fish 4 stars
Small Critters 3 stars Large Fish N/A
Large Pelagics N/A

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter N/A Boat Facilities N/A
Overall rating for UWP's N/A Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments [None]
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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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