Carlisle Bay is a mile-long white sands beach known as a snorkel haven with incredibly clear turquoise water. There’s plenty of wildlife with endless soft reefs, tropical fish, sea turtles, black urchins, and moray eels. However, the real crowd-pleaser is the handful of shipwrecks less than a mile offshore. The oldest wrecks date back to the early 20th century, and two wrecks were actually re-located to the area in 2002 & 2003 to remove them from high boat traffic areas.
We swam out to the “Berwyn” shipwreck — a 70 ft. World War 1 French tugboat from 1919, intentionally sunk by its own crew. The Berwyn is covered with sponges and coral, and encircled by dozens of schools of fish of several species. Luckily, we brought our handy dandy GoPro along for the swim and recorded our snorkel trip! (See the video, above)
Thinking about planning your own Barbados snorkel trip?
- Avoid the sea urchins! Luckily neither of us accidentally stepped on an urchin, but they’re notoriously painful and frequent in the area, even in super shallow water.
- If you own it already, pack your snorkel gear and avoid the $10 USD p/p rental fee.
- Load up on the sunblock, as your backside will be soaking up the sun for extended periods of time.
- Ask the locals for advice where the shipwrecks are, and how far out a swim it is. The Berwyn shipwreck was directly offshore from a white and green gazebo, north of the Yacht Club.
- If you’re not prepared to swim for 10-20 minutes (just to reach the shipwreck destination — it can be tiring and a bit scary!), opt for a snorkel cruise instead. They’ll drive you straight out to the wrecks, and there’s plenty of cruise companies in the area.
- Pack an underwater camera to capture your experience, and either attach it to your wrist or attach it to a floating device. (We did neither, but thankfully Shaun kept a tight grip.)
- Our snorkel gear provider (Paddle Barbados) said seeing turtles “is not guaranteed,” and actually more common in the morning — we didn’t swim out until noon, but lucky enough we saw three!
- Additionally, she said if you see a snorkel cruise in the water, swim towards the crowds because they usually feed the turtles and you’re more likely to see several.
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