Roger's Scuba Shack at Carlisle Bay Highway 7, Bridgetown, Barbados, is a great place to learn scuba or to take a refresher course for diving. Ken and I took the in-class instruction and I completed the in-water refresher course. We were hoping the next week to take a dive in Grenada where the facilities are accessible. Hoping to video accessible diving, we took the refresher course to help with that.
Nick was our instructor and was very patient with me as I practiced the in-water skills. The entire staff was very helpful with, and considerate of, my limitations. Roger's facility is not accessible, nor do they advertise such. But I can walk with assistance and was able to complete the refresher course.
For those with medical conditions, be sure to discuss diving with your doctor and to bring the PADI form (available at PADI.com) filled out by you and your doctor to the scuba shop. There you will fill out another form and the instructor will review it with you. If he has concerns he will have you visit the island doctor who oversees the hyperbaric chamber. The doctor either approves or does not approve your being able to dive. If you anticipate having to do this, you might schedule it in advance of your appointment at Roger's Scuba Shack.
To start the course, you watch a video that explains diving and teaches what you need to know. Next, to the water.
With your instructor, in the swimming section of the bay in front of Roger's Scuba Shop, you review the points explained in the video. Nick was very helpful and patient. He showed me several ways to clear my mask, and had me demonstrate that underwater, as well as getting my regulator back when it falls behind. Another important skill is to be able to properly clear your regulator once you retrieve it. We reviewed two ways to do that and I demonstrated that under water.
In the water Nick asked questions to see if I could answer them correctly, to know I understood how to stay safe in the water. For example, he asked, "What is the one thing a diver never does?"
Once everyone in the group has completed the in-water portion, it's time to swim to the boat and get aboard. The staff carried my gear as I have limitations. they also helped carry our cameras above water. The staff was very helpful getting me up the last step of the ladder. Roger's boat has a wide, long ladder that descended far enough into the water for me to get my foothold. This was important for me because I am tall with limited ability to bend my legs.
We headed out to an area near the shipwrecks and learned two ways to enter the water with your gear. The staff helped me load my gear as I sat on the back of the boat. I rolled off the back of the boat into the water.
Nick helped me descend and I made one short dive across the first underwater wreck. We saw lots of different fish and then a stingray swam along the wreck on the right side and then across the top of the wreck just in front of us.
The water was so clear it was easy to see the wreck clearly. I had dived years ago but had never seen a wreck, so this was special for me.
I had not expected to actually make a dive, but just take the refresher course and found myself anxious. So we swam back to the boat and I look forward to being ready for the next dive. I plan to practice my skills in our neighborhood pool in the meantime.
Here is a link to a 360-degree video of some of the in-water instruction. Take a look if you are interested in diving.
Besides learning or relearning the dive skills here, you will be able to see the beauty of the clear Caribbean water and the life it teems with. And there are 4 shipwrecks just past the swimming area you can snorkel above if you are not approved for diving or need more practice.