From diving and fine dining to history and wildlife, Barbados has it all. TTG visited the newly all-inclusive Tamarind by Elegant Hotels.
A shadowy mass looms out of the blue A below as I slowly descend, the number on my diving depth gauge climbing from 10, to 20, to 30 metres.
The top deck of the shipwreck comes into focus as I get nearer, and the vastness of the 111-metre long vessel begins to reveal itself.
Shoals of sergeant majors dart beside me as I explore the colossal hull, bedecked with pink rope sponges and yellow tube sponges.
The front mast of the ship stands upright, with fish dancing around it like a maypole.
I marvel at ladders and chains encrusted with sponges and corals, at grouper, parrotfish and portly boxfish, and get a fright when an octopus uncurls suddenly from its hiding place.
The Stavronikita is a Greek freighter that caught fire in 1976 on its way from Ireland to the Caribbean, and was purpose-sunk to be used for recreational diving.
The “Stav” is one of the Caribbean’s largest and most famous wreck-dives, but Carlisle Bay Marine Park alone is home to another six purpose-sunk wrecks.
Here, some are at depths of only six to 10 metres, meaning even snorkellers can enjoy them, and I’m lucky to see a ginormous trumpetfish, a shoal of squid, a menacing moray eel tucked into a hole, a turtle and a friendly southern stingray.