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Top 5 Caribbean Wreck Diving Destinations

Nick and Caroline Robertson-Brown

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Love wreck diving? Love diving in clear blue warm water? Then here are our top 5 wreck diving destinations in the Caribbean.

The Bahamas

Want to combine some wreck diving with seeing sharks up close? Then The Bahamas is the destination for you. The islands have both ancient and modern ship wrecks to explore on most of the islands. Some sunk for filming movies, some sunk to make artificial reefs, even a crashed plane in water shallow enough to snorkel.

Stuart Cove’s Dive Bahamas offer shark dives on two different wrecks that offer underwater photographers & divers to enjoy the best of both shark diving and wreck diving (and you can even do this at night!).

Still on our Bahamian Wreck Diving wish list is the SS Sapona off Bimini – a large wreck that lies part submerged which offers some amazing split-shot opportunities.


Barbados

The island of Barbados is popular with divers and snorkelers alike. Amazing beaches, great food and a friendly welcome are what you should expect. But it is below the waves that makes this island stand out from the crowd. Probably the most famous wreck of Barbados is the Stavronikita, a huge and fairly deep wreck that takes several dives to fully explore. Its structure is now covered in coral growth and plenty of marine life has made this artificial reef its home.

But our favourite wreck diving location on the island has to be Carlisle Bay, where several wreck have been sunk in a rough circle for both divers and snorkelers to explore. Turtles are plentiful in the bay and if you drift off the wrecks and onto the reefs you are sure to spot seahorses too. The wreck of the Bajan Queen offers divers the chance to explore inside a wreck, in shallow water, which is a real highlight. Carlisle Bay also makes a great night dive!


Cayman Islands

The most famous wreck in the Cayman Islands has to be the Kittiwake. This wreck used to stand upright but a powerful storm has since knocked it on its side. It is a big ship, sunk deliberately to make an artificial reef on a sandy seabed. It can take several dives to fully explore both the outside and inside the wreck. It is always an impressive dive.

However, sometimes it is the smaller wrecks like the Doc Poulson that can make for a magical dive, simply because of the abundant marine life that call this wreck home. Huge sponges adorn the bow and large green morays and lobster can be found in every crevice.


Grenada

Grenada is probably most famous for the wreck of the Bianca C. It also boasts being the wreck diving capital of the Caribbean, with a host of wrecks suitable for beginners right up to technical divers. Divers with a lust for rust flock here each year to spend their time underwater exploring the wrecks on offer. Our favourite wrecks included a small tug boat off Carriacou, with a perfect little wheel. The wreck was perfect for taking shot both into and out of the wheelhouse.

Off the main island of Grenada, our favourite wreck was actually the Veronica L. In the daytime the wreck was covered in schools of bright fish, sometimes so dense it was hard to see the structure of the ship. At night it is even more impressive, as the orange cup corals that cover one side come out and glow under torch light. Octopus and crustaceans came out to hunt. We could have done this dive every day and been happy.


St Eustatius

The island of St Eustatius, or Statia as it is locally known, sits between St Kitts and Saba. You might not have heard of it, but if you love Caribbean wreck diving then you should add it to your wish list. The diving is great and unhurried on this quiet island where you may only a couple of dive boats operate.

The biggest wreck is the Charlie Brown. This wreck is very dear to our hearts as we were part of the team that sank it when we lived and worked on the island. She lies in 30m of water and can be explored both inside and out.

A series of wrecks has also been sunk near to the harbour area. These were sunk as artificial reefs, initially to encourage fish into the area to help out the local fishermen, who are not allowed to fish in the marine park that surrounds the rest of the island. However, over time, these wreck also became stunning dives. At night huge sea turtles come to sleep here and make this a very special dive indeed.

There are even ancient wrecks to explore, with most of the structure now covered in coral and only the anchors remaining. Treasure is still found on these dives, but you cannot take it home with you – unless you are lucky enough to find a blue bead.


Our plan for 2021 is to visit the British Virgin Islands, as we hear this is a great destination for wreck diving too – watch this space…

  • Big Crab

  • A Caribbean Reef Shark swims over the wreck of the Ray of Hope

  • Inside the Bajan Queen

  • Diver on the Stavronikita

  • USS Kittiwake

  • Doc Poulson

  • A tug boat off Carriacou

  • Night dive on the Veronica L

  • The Charlie Brown

  • STENAPA Tug Boat

  • Big Crab

  • Caribbean Reef Shark on the wreck of the Ray of Hope

Nick and Caroline (Frogfish Photography) are a married couple of conservation driven underwater photo-journalists and authors. Both have honours degrees from Manchester University, in Environmental Biology and Biology respectively, with Nick being a Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society, a former high school science teacher with a DipEd in Teaching Studies. Caroline has an MSc in Animal Behaviour specializing in Caribbean Ecology. They are multiple award-winning photographers and along with 4 published books, feature regularly in the diving, wildlife and international press They are the Underwater Photography and Deputy Editors at Scubaverse and Dive Travel Adventures. Winners of the Caribbean Tourism Organization Photo-journalist of the Year for a feature on Shark Diving in The Bahamas, and they have been placed in every year they have entered. Nick and Caroline regularly use their free time to visit schools, both in the UK and on their travels, to discuss the important issues of marine conservation, sharks and plastic pollution. They are ambassadors for Sharks4Kids and founders of SeaStraw. They are Dive Ambassadors for The Islands of The Bahamas and they are supported by Mares, Paralenz, Nauticam and Olympus. To find out more visit www.frogfishphotography.com

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Blogs

Seahorse Sunday in Barbados

Nick and Caroline Robertson-Brown

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I had heard that it was possible to see racehorses relaxing and being washed down in the sea after a race day. It was on my Bajan bucket list. And so imagine my delight on our first day, when from the dive shop I saw them further along the beach. Camera in hand, I dash along the golden sand to ensure I was in with a chance to experience a whole other type of Sea-Horse! 

These magnificent beasts seem to love their Sunday swims, being cooled in the calm coastal waters. Their handlers wash them down, and even swim alongside them if they venture into deeper waters. They are there in the early morning before the day gets too hot, so if you want to experience this you need to be on the beach early. It is a magical way to start the day and, for me, a dream come true on our first day.

Of course, as divers, it is a whole other type of seahorse that we are usually pleased to encounter and Barbados has plenty of your “normal” seahorses too. If you can drag yourself away from the wrecks of Carlisle Bay (more on these in our next blog) and look around the coral bommies that are scattered on the white sandy seabed, then you may be lucky enough to find one of these enigmatic marine creatures.

Another great location to test your seahorse spotting skills is under one of the piers. Once you get your eye in, you can find them on many of the small sponge fingers at the base of the pier legs. Or even clinging to discarded items dropped from the boats above! 

For someone who loves both horses and seahorses, this was a real treat. To see the horses being bathed in the ocean at the very start of the day and then to spend two very different dives looking for their marine cousins. Magical. 


To find out more about visiting Barbados click here.

We dived with Barbados Blue and you can learn more about them here.

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The Stav: A wreck dive to fall in love with

Nick and Caroline Robertson-Brown

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We have dived the wreck of the Stavronikita in Barbados a number of times and it just seems to get better and better. Already one of the most popular dives in Barbados, it should be known as one of the best wreck dives in the Caribbean.

The Stav, as she is lovingly known, is over 100 m in length and sits in around 40m of water. Don’t let this depth put you off, however, as the masts sit just a few meters below the surface so there is plenty to explore in more shallow waters. This is perhaps what makes this wreck so special. It is big enough to take several dives to explore fully, but your ascent back to the surface follows the A-frame structure into the shallows and here life has fully taken hold on this artificial reef.

Sunk in 1978, nature has had time to make the Stav home. From the bow upwards every inch of the wreck is covered in corals and sponges. Beautiful gorgonians reach out into the blue, and when you shine a light on any given area the incredible colours are revealed. Schools of fish will suddenly appear, circling the mast, and then just as quickly swim off into the blue. Look more closely and you will discover small fish and critters that also call the Stavronikita home.

There are few wreck in the world with coral growth a prolific as it is here. The Stav seems to have been sunk in the perfect location. It is also testament to the local dive centers that the coral is in pristine condition. The wreck is a just short boat ride from shore, so as long as conditions and currents are good, it can be dived very easily.

On our most recent dive on the Stav we barely moved away from the mast structure. You can easily spend on hour or more here marveling at vibrant reef it has become. If you are not a photographer, bring a powerful torch to really experience the incredible colours of the marine life that lives here. You buddies will appreciate it too!

We would happily dive the Stav every day. But there are plenty more wrecks to explore in Barbados, as well as reefs, piers, coral conservation schemes and the rugged east coast. Watch out for more from Barbados coming soon.


Thank you to BTMI for making our trip possible. To find out more about visiting Barbados click here.

Thank you to Barbados Blue Watersports for looking after us so well and providing excellent models. 

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