|Pamir swim through, Barbados|
Barbados is a friendly little island with a great dive community. The dive centres based on the West Coast are blessed with easy proximity to a selection of wrecks, including the jewel in Barbados’s wreck-diving crown and some argue the most impressive wreck in the Caribbean.
The whole wreck is encrusted with corals and sponges and also features a healthy population of territorial sargeant majors who will nip the fins of passing divers if they sense the diver is too close to their eggs, which they lay on the many flat surfaces of the wreck. Sadly the bridge is no longer accessible as it is too fragile following hurricane damage. There is a small sign on a chain hanging across the previous access point to warn divers. Due to the depth of the Stav, the penetration element and the site’s susceptibility to the effects of currents the Stav can be quite a challenging dive. It is amazingly atmospheric though as you descend down the height of mast and full sight of the wreck appears before you.
|Sargeant Majors, Stavronikita, Barbados|
The Pamir is a photographer’s dream. She is a 65m freighter and was sunk in 1985. The hull lies in 15m depth and the bow in 12m. It is possible to descend into the cargo hold and swim through to the front portion of the boat. The combination of several years beneath the sea and lying at a shallow depth has resulted in the wreck being covered in colourful sponges and corals. There is a lot of fish life too including soldierfish, grunts, gurnards and sargeant majors. One of my favourite critters lives here too. If you look very closely you can see tiny little holes in the coral growth over the surfaces of the wreck and inside those tunnel-like holes live gobies. These shy little creatures play a fun game of hide and seek with divers and frustrate photographers. The Pamir lies on a sand patch in the reef. Sand eels can be seen in the sand around the wreck and I have seen squid and large crabs in the surrounding reef, so by all means dive the wreck, but don’t turn your back on the nearby reef.
|Porthole, Pamir, Barbados|