Diving With… Andre Miller, Barbados Blue, Barbados, West Indies
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?
Jeff chats to… Christopher Bartlett, MD of Indigo Safaris, about scuba diving in Dominica and Mexico (3 of 5)
In the third in this exclusive series of five videos, Jeff Goodman, Scubaverse Editor-at-Large, chats to Christopher Bartlett, Managing Director of Indigo Safaris, about their diving and wildlife adventures, and some of their top destinations. In this episode Christopher talks about Dominica and Mexico.
For more information, please visit www.indigosafaris.com
Rather listen to a podcast? Click on this link to listen HERE.
Reefs Go Live returns for new season
CCMI brings the ocean directly to classrooms around the world through live-stream lessons from underwater
In 2018, the Central Caribbean Marine Institute (CCMI) launched Reefs Go Live, their innovative, flagship education programme that live-streams directly from underwater on the coral reefs in Little Cayman to students in classrooms around the world in real time. For the 2022 season, the four episodes of Reefs Go Live reached more than 107,000 viewers in 22 countries. CCMI’s Reefs Go Live team hopes to expand their reach with four new episodes and supplemental teaching resources to help integrate the material into classroom lessons.
Science Communications & Development Manager for CCMI, Beth Chafin, is excited to be part of another year of Reefs Go Live:
“Knowing we have an audience that spans the world, our team is energised as we plan and implement our Reefs Go Live season for 2023! We feel that creating a connection to the ocean and sharing the beautiful coral reefs of Little Cayman with others, both locally and abroad, is one of the most important ways to increase support for critical, timely issues such as marine protection and sustainability. At CCMI, we are fortunate to have these stunning reefs at our doorstep; not everyone is so lucky to be this connected to coral reefs, but healthy coral reefs are vitally important to everyone on earth. Bringing the ocean into classrooms and homes through Reefs Go Live allows us to share the work we do at the Little Cayman Research Centre, facilitate real-time interactions between viewers around the world and our experts in the field, and inspire the diverse audience to take positive action for the future of coral reefs.”
The first episode of 2023 will take place on Friday, 31st March at 10 am Cayman time (UTC -5h). The episode, ‘Finding Hope on our Reefs’, will feature what CCMI’s long-term monitoring of Little Cayman’s reefs shows us. The data from the annual surveys reveals important trends in reef health over time that reflect global threats and the benefits of strong local protection. Reefs Go Live hosts will explain why this annual monitoring is important and what the results tell us about the future of our coral reefs that we all depend upon. Viewers of each episode will be able to ask questions of the diver and participate in polls through the online platform to make Reefs Go Live an interactive experience.
Additional episodes for this year will run at 10 am (UTC -5h) on the following dates:
Thursday, 11th May: Adaptation on Coral Reefs
Wednesday, 24th May: Reef Resiliency & Restoration
Thursday, 8th June: World Ocean Day – 25 Years of Coral Reef Research
Registration for Reefs Go Live is free and is only required once to receive access to all episodes: https://donate.reefresearch.org/rgl2023.
Reefs Go Live provides an opportunity for students from all over the world to engage with the stunning ocean environment in its most natural format. As coral reefs around the world face unprecedented pressure, generating increased engagement with these precious ecosystems creates an opportunity to promote marine sustainability in a positive and fun way.
Reefs Go Live utilises streaming technology with underwater video and audio equipment to enable real time broadcasting from Little Cayman’s stunning coral reefs. Little Cayman, a Mission Blue Hope Spot, hosts one of the healthiest reef ecosystems in the Caribbean, which overall remains healthy and shows resiliency to climate change impacts. The broadcasts and education materials draw connections from CCMI’s current research conducted in Little Cayman to the national science curriculum and key ocean literacy principles, making CCMI’s work relevant and accessible to students and viewers of all ages, and emphasizing the relationship that we all have to coral reefs, no matter where we are.
Reefs Go Live is a free education programme that is made possible by the generosity of The Edmund F. and Virginia B. Ball Foundation. To register for the broadcasts and teaching resources, please visit: https://reefresearch.org/what-we-do/education/reefs-go-live/