THIS GUIDE-BOOK came out in 2005 through another publisher but has now been updated and republished by underwater photographer Lucy Agace’s ScubaChannels, primarily a photo-sharing website for divers.
I would venture to suggest that it’s the author’s exceptional wildlife images that make this a standout Caribbean dive-guide. However long it might have taken her to collect them in reality, browsing through the book was enough to make me feel that I might see more good stuff in Barbados than elsewhere.
My diving experiences around the island are limited and occurred a while back but the book did make me want to return, if only to check out bold claims such as that the island “undoubtedly has the best collection of wrecks in the Caribbean”.
I remember seeing a shedload of very colourful artificial reefs on a single dive in Carlisle Bay but regretted not having time to dive the signature wreck Stavronikita.
The intro pages are informative but, as in many such guidebooks, they contain a lot of advertorial, including for the author herself, and too often it isn’t immediately obvious where ads start and editorial finishes.
This is a bit of a bugbear of mine, because in the end it means that the reader is forced to take everything with a pinch of salt. After all, there is a difference between an independent assessment of a dive-centre and one written with or by the centre itself.
But the important part of the book is its guide to the 39 dive-sites on offer, with a spread per site including full-page image. Six of the sites are new to the edition, including two on the more challenging east coast.
There is also talk of a long-mooted marine park finally being set up this year, says the author, while invasive lionfish seem to be challenging flying-fish as a Bajan restaurant favourite.
What I already knew was that Barbados is an enjoyable place to visit – if I get to go again, I’ll be taking this guide with me.
Softback, 144pp, £12