Submarines and Shipwrecks in Barbados
Updated: May 27, 2021
After leaving the picture-perfect island of St. Thomas, we spent a full day and night at sea travelling south to Barbados. When researching the island prior to our trip, one excursion in particular stood out to us both that completely surpassed the others. We found a company called Atlantis that gives tours in a genuine underwater submarine!!! We realized that if we went on this tour it would prevent us from being able to see a lot of the island, but we couldn’t pass up an opportunity for such a unique adventure so we reserved our spots for this trip! The tour didn’t leave until 10:45am so we were able to wake up slowly and enjoy a nice breakfast before heading out that morning.
After a brief bus ride to the harbor, we arrived at the tour headquarters. Once again, the traffic on the island drove on the left side of the road, which was (sadly) entertaining to us.
We were promptly escorted to a boat docked in front of the building and informed that we would be going on a 7 minute boat ride to where the submarine dive site was located. Soon, we could see the top of the submarine emerge from the water. It kind of just appeared out of nowhere and it was so cool to see!
I have been absolutely enamored with the underwater world ever since I was a kid, so I was really excited for this amazing opportunity to be able to go down and explore it all!
Our boat pulled up next to the submarine and first unloaded passengers from the previous tour and then allowed us to board the vessel.
The submarine could hold up to 48 people in it but we did not have a full tour so there was a little extra space. It was so strange to board above water and then take a seat inside and be able to see the bottom of the boat that we had just been on!
On a submarine, instead of having a captain, he was referred to as a pilot. After loading everyone into the submarine, he told us all to pick a seat and kindly asked that we made sure that we stayed in that seat for the entire tour. He said that if one person moved over by just one seat, it could throw off the equilibrium of the submarine and mess up the pressurization of the cabin. Soon, we started to descend on the submarine’s 15,213th dive! Next to each window, there was a guide showing some of the most common types of fish that we might see.
The first reef was only 35 feet down. Very soon, we began seeing lots of different kinds of coral, schools of colorful fish, lionfish, and even a barracuda right outside of our window! The windows gave all of our photos a bluish tint so unfortunately, we weren’t able to capture the beautiful colors that we were seeing in real life.
After spending some time on the reef, we descended much further to a depth of 143 feet, where we got to see a shipwreck! The water was so clear that even at 143 feet, the submarine was completely illuminated by natural sunlight. The photo below shows how light was, and there wasn’t a single light on inside the submarine!
On our way down to the shipwreck! 124 feet at this point!
This tour encompassed most of my childhood interests-exotic marine life, the ocean, shipwrecks, foreign countries- I was in Heaven! And I got to experience it all with my best friend! The pilot and crew were phenomenal and did a wonderful job narrating the tour and telling us what we were looking at and they made sure to point out unique species of fish so that we didn’t miss them.
After about an hour or so underwater, we went back to the surface and got back on our boat, which took us back to the harbor. On the way back, we were all given Mount Gay rum punch to enjoy. In Barbados, there is a Mount Gay Rum distillery so this is the most commonly served type of cocktail on the island.
Once we reached the tour headquarters again, we were each given a dive certificate with our names, the deepest depth we reached during the tour and the date we went on the tour. It was a nice keepsake and I thought it was a nice touch to add to the tour.
From here, we had a taxi drop us off in downtown Bridgetown so that we could look around the city a little bit. Dustin and I are not really city people and we couldn’t care less about shopping when we are on vacation so we weren’t really that impressed with Bridgetown. Parts of it were pretty run down and there wasn’t a whole lot to see, but the people there were so friendly! Every person that we crossed paths with was very laid back and pleasant to us.
We collect foreign money from the places we visit so we went into a bank to exchange some of our US money for the local currency, and then walked along the boardwalk looking at boats for a bit.
We ended up stumbling on a really nice beach and found a place called Pirate’s Cove that looked pretty inviting. There were hammocks tied between palm trees swaying in the warm Caribbean breeze, a band playing Bob Marley music, and a beach bar serving up some really good-looking burgers!
We decided to grab a tropical drink and a burger and just hang out for a bit and enjoy the sweetness of doing nothing! The burgers were delicious and served with a pineapple on top, which I really liked! Our bartender and server were both really friendly as well.
After awhile at Pirate’s Cove, we took a taxi back to the ship. Our taxi driver said that he had been born and raised on the island and that there are a lot of really pretty places in the northern parts of the island, and we were in the southwest part in Bridgetown. The coast was really pretty, but unfortunately, many of the port cities that are big enough for cruise ships are very industrial.
If you want to see the other, prettier parts of the islands, you have to spend all day in a car driving around to see it all, which stinks when the weather is so nice and you just want to be outside soaking up the sun. I really enjoyed at least getting a taste of so many islands during our cruise though! However, I really wish we would’ve had more time to explore each place. Our driver told us that it takes around 4 hours to drive all the way around the island so perhaps on our next visit, we will drive the entire island to discover our favorite region!
As we were leaving Barbados, we saw a huge freighter just like the one on the Tom Hanks movie called “Captain Phillips”.
In that movie, the pirates that boarded his ship take him captive and deploy the lifeboat and shoot off from the back of the ship into the ocean. This one reminded us of that movie!
Following suit from the night before in St. Thomas, we were sent off with another beautiful rainbow as we departed.
When thinking of Barbados, we will remember it fondly because of the warm people there and the incredible experience we had on our first submarine ride! Next, off to a place that had been on my bucket list for quite some time, St. Lucia!