A gorgeous, natural bay in the Caribbean Ocean, Carlisle has become a marine park due to its incredible snorkeling and scuba diving opportunities. It is also the bay in which Bridgetown, the capital city of Barbados, is located. The beach front here is fine, glorious pale sand, but this is not where the underwater adventures take place; this is the stretch of calm, crystal clear waters and easy swimming, where sunbathers revel. It is a short walk from Bridgetown to the beach area where you can rent parasols, beach loungers, and even get free rum punch from the beach bars.
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Cades Reef is the main attraction here if you like to scuba dive or snorkel. It is two miles long, with excellent visibility up to 140 feet, and has been designated an underwater park. Abundant marine life awaits you here, eager to show off glinting scales and carnival colors.
Lying cold and lifeless in these waters are a good number of shipwrecks, as well, some still fully equipped with cannon balls and cannons. There are 6 wrecks to be explored in Carlisle Bay, only half of which were purposely sunk for the benefit of the reef life.
The Berwyn was a French tug boat, sunk by her own crew in 1919 during World War I so the crew could stay on the island (and against Captain’s orders), and sits a mere 7-10 feet below the water’s surface, dependent upon tide.
It is 70 feet in length and easily accessible, making her a favorite in the Bay. The Cornwallis was a translocated wreck, shifted out of a very high marine traffic area and laid for final rest in Cades Reef. Once a Canadian freighter sunk by a German U-boat during World War II, it is now home to coral and tropical fish. Not much is known about The Barge, a Naval Landing barge found in Carlisle Bay, except that the wreck is now home to porcupine fish, which are the bigger cousins to puffer fish.
For dives best appreciated with a tank on, The CE-Trek, Eillon, and Bajan Queen with her bright past, sit in deeper depths, forming an excellent chain of underwater exploration. Sea life to be seen in this stunning location includes sea horses, barracuda, frog fish, moray eels, mackerel, octopus and reef squid, to name a few. Pylons, anchors and cannons loosely mark out the perimeter of the park and help act as a pathway from one wreck to the next. If you are a beginner diver, or a seasoned one, this is an exciting undertaking. Make sure you take an underwater camera, or you will kick yourself later.
Of course, when you finish with the underwater spectacular, there is Bridgetown immediately before you, waiting to offer food and other refreshments. The largest city in Barbados and home to over 80,000 people, it is truly a cosmopolitan town, with every amenity available, from high-end shop, to local boutiques, banks, pharmacies, neighborhood kitchens and gourmet restaurants. Over 300 years as a British colony shows in the afternoon teas, roundabouts and driving on the left hand side. The architecture combines old world charm with modern sensibility, all while maintaining the spirit of the Bajan people. Carlisle Bay is the perfect destination for amazing sights above and below the water, and certainly an experience you will never forget.