Pros: Unique dive sites, full length dives
Cons: A lack of full service - no drop off to hotel and hard to get on boat
The second dive shop I visited in Barbados was "The Dive Shop" for 2 fun dives. In the words of Barack Obama, I chose to "spread the wealth around" by using a different dive shop even though I was quite pleased with my first one (ROger's Scuba Shack). This shop seems to offer the lowest prices on the island and offers up to 3 dives a day. It also tries to accomodate all its divers to visit different places that they haven't seen so that is a real plus if you plan multiple dives with them. Unfortunately, by doing so, they do not always know where they are going to dive the next day and that may cause many people to avoid choosing them if they have a particular spot in mind. I'm glad I did go with them because they frequent Carlisle Bay, which provides a unique opportunity for wreck diving in the shallow and lots of turtles with this company!
The boat has covering to protect you from the sun - which is good if you want to avoid it but bad if you'd like to sunbathe. Some reviews complain of a small boat but we were 10 people and there was more than enough room on the boat. In addition, the dive groups themselves are small and spread into 2 groups with different divemasters. The equipment is average quality for a rental but well maintained with some signs of wear and tear. They fill their tanks up with plenty of air and let you stay until you the computer says to come up - this is the way diving is supposed to be done but most dives in Barbados have <3000 psi or timed dives. So this was a real positive.
Additionally, they took us 2 really good dive sites. One is right off their shore - Carlisle Bay Marine Park where you can dive 3 wrecks between 30 and 50 feet and can actually penetrate one of the wrecks - cool! The park actually had schools of fish, a baracuda, and some other interesting critters! The other dive site - THE BOOT - had visibility of only about 30 feet with a strong surge but I saw 6 green sea turtles and the largest hawksbill I have ever seen! It was tearing into a big piece of coral. This dive site had the most life I saw in Barbados with schools of small fish. Really great despite the lower vis and high surge.
Finally, the divemasters really do a good job of finding turtles and other creatures including what may or may not have been a manta (too far to tell). The flying gunards were also a unique sight that I had not seen before anywhere.
The main drawbacks to this shop are that they do not provide a car ride home (although they can pick you up) and you return to the shop after the first dive. They did not pack a second tank for those doing 2 dives, so we had to trudge it back to the shop, drop off and pick up new divers, and drag a tank on board again. Also the boat requires some effort to get onto if the waves are strong, and some of the older people struggled to get aboard as you have to lift yourself up out of neck deep water onto the boat. The ladder is only for climbing after a dive as it's too shallow to use to get on initially.
After 7 dives in Barbados, the diving is average for the Caribbean (6.5/10). There are few large fish to be found as unfortunately they seem to be fished out. You'll see snapper and grouper but never more than 12 inches long. On 1 dive with another shop I even saw a fish trap (a cage where fish would swim in but could not swim out). Most of the reef fish did not get to a large size as spear fishing and regular fishing is popular. Stories of famous, extra large barracuda living at The Stav were told but also mentioned that someone spearfished that particular guy.
Having said that the corals and reefs themselves are of great quality and visibility is typically good with generally calm waters. There is still plenty of small life and things to see and the turtles, stingrays, and wrecks are pretty cool features. If you are a diver in Barbados, you must dive the Stav - and not just to say you did it. If you can only dive 1 day, call around (there are many dive shops) and find out which shop is diving the Stav and go with them. Beautifully preserved wreck with hard coral all on it.
Sea turtles are protected in Barbados and we saw them on half the dives. There are also sting rays (some get big) and typical reef fish (goat fish, bigeyes, parrot fish, angelfish, triggerfish). It would be great if the country put some more effort into sustainable fishing and offer some protection it gives the turtles because the diving here could have been so much better. The quality of the reefs is high and visibility was pretty good depending on the day / location.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.