Dive #272 - Rich Torkington's Dive Log
Copyright 2012 Rich Torkington Mesa, Arizona

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Bottom Time to Date:

238h
39m


Dive Info:

Dive Start:
10:45 AM

Bottom Time:
35 minutes

Maximum Depth:
60 feet

Safety Stop:
3 minutes

Beginning Air:
3000 psi

Ending Air:
1600 psi

Weather Conditions:
Sunny 84F

Surface Conditions:
2-3' swells

Surface Water Temperature:
81F

Bottom Water Temperature:
81F

Visibility:
50-75 feet

Gas:
Air
272
TITLE
* * *
October 25,
2012
ASTA REEF
BRIDGETOWN, BARBADOS
BOAT DIVE, Westside Scuba
 
Linda, other divers on boat
West Side Scuba Centre
westsidescuba.com
Barbados
More yellow tube sponges
Photo by Rich in Barbados 2012 
Barbados
Squirrelfish, Linda's favorite
Photo by Rich in Barbados 2012 
Dive Journal: This is a dive that never should have been.

Linda and I were staying in Oistins at the far southern end of Barbados. A look at the map revealed the dive shop to be 10, maybe 15 miles away. So for good measure, we budgeted 45 minutes to get there.

Big mistake. Rush hour traffic on Barbados is a nightmare. The island is very densely populated, and a great many commute into Bridgetown. While our planned route avoided Bridgetown, it still put us on the "freeways," and I use that term loosely, that run near and around Bridgetown.

Our first mile took more than 20 minutes - we were in trouble right away. Barbados extensively uses that lovely quaint invention called the roundabout. They're perfectly fine when traffic is thin-to-moderate, but they become parking lots in heavy traffic. We were stuck.

Very soon, by necessity, we became resigned. We'd just have to miss the first dive. With any luck, we reasoned, we'd arrive in time for the boat to come in and pick us up for the 2nd dive.

After more than 90 minutes of painful crawl, we arrived at the dive shop. Linda ran in while I parked the car. Very soon I heard my name called, spun around, and saw a man running my way. I met Peter, owner of the dive shop, who jumped into the driver seat of our rental and said, "Get in! I figured this might happen!"

We swung around, picked up Linda, and were soon off gunning our way south. We learned that today's dives were planned right off Bridgetown, and that Peter had radio'd the boat to wait for us.

What? You've got to be kidding me! The situation was incredible on several levels. 1 - We had clawed our way all the way up to Holetown only to learn that our dives would happen down at Bridgetown, practically next to our hotel! 2 - The dive shop had anticipated that we'd be late. 3 - Peter was personally driving us to meet the dive boat, and 4 - the diveboat was going to wait for us! I could not believe it - now this is a dive shop that really really cares.

Peter explained that the passage through Bridgetown is actually much better than the "freeway" we took, and we arrived at Carlisle Bay next to Bridgetown in only 20 minutes. The boat indeed was waiting for us in the shallows. We parked our car and locked it, and in the next minute we were wading out into the waters and hopped onboard. Peter explained that he would be able to get a ride to his office from drivers he knew. Completely awesome how this all worked out, in the face of calamity. Immeasurable thanks to Peter and West Side Scuba Centre.

The boat powered a bit south to a place called Asta Reef. The plan was to drift dive over this reef and eventually reach a wreck, which we'd explore to finish the dive. The morning was absolutely beautiful again, and the surface gave us two to three foot swells, which is sort of fun in my book.

The drift was very nice. A brand new diver had joined us, a newly certified British fellow. Although he looked awkward underwater, we could also tell that he was very enthusiastic about it all, so it was fun to dive with him.

A very beautiful spotted eagle ray cruised by mid-dive. Uncharacteristicly, it swam past, then reversed course and checked us out again, giving us all a good view. More turtles, and more southern stingrays, too. We found this reef a bit healthier than those up on the west side.

The dive was again cut short due to some divers running out of air, so we never did reach the wreck. No big deal, because my camera lens was giving me fits. Ever since I dropped the poor thing from about 9 feet (onto the concrete floor of my in-laws basement), the lens deployment has been temperamental. From inside the housing, it repeatedly gave me "Lens Error" late in this dive.

Still, when the divemasters called for us to surface, Linda gave me a big "What gives?" sign underwater. She had over 2000 psi left (I had 1600).

Check out the rest of this day on Barbados, and if you want, read further about the whole trip.



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Dive
Info:
Fins:
Tusa Xpert Zoom Splitfin
Computer:
None
Tank:
80 ft3 Aluminum
BCD:
Rented
Dive Type:
BOAT, West Side Scuba Centre
Body of Water:
Carribean Sea
Mask:
Tusa Visio Tri-Ex
Protection:
3mm Oneill full
Regulator:Rented
Weight:
10 lb
Water Type:
Salt
Video Equipment:
PowerShot S95 in housing