Carlisle Bay Shipwreck Snorkel . . .

Published: February 8th 2008
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Even though my teen count this week is the lowest it’s been since I signed onto the Destiny, I had three sign up for the tour! This week’s adventure: the Carlisle Bay Shipwreck Snorkel tour. It was stellar. I’ve done plenty of snorkel tours, but none of them even fall into the same category as this one. Absolutely awesome.

What was mind-boggling to me however, was where this stellar snorkeling experience was located - only a 5 minute boatride from the ship. Most times we’re in Barbados, myself and other crew go to the Boatyard beach club. Just down the shore to the South is the hotel where I stayed after my hospital stay. Halfway between these two places and just far enough away from shore that you couldn’t swim out lies an underwater marine park!

On this spot, nearly 100 years ago, a French military ship came into the harbour. “The Berwyn”. The crew really enjoyed the island of Barbados and wanted to stay longer. The captain said over his dead body and a sunken ship. Well, they all got to drinking, got into an argument and the crew sunk the ship. That became the first ship that
Our Guide and Oh-So-Many Fish!Our Guide and Oh-So-Many Fish!Our Guide and Oh-So-Many Fish!

How absolutely incredible is that?!?!?
makes up the marine park.

During World War II, a ship named the Cornwallis was sailing near Barbados where a German U-Boat hit it with torpedoes. The Cornwallis was taken ashore and repaired. On it’s way back out to sea, the same German U-Boat hit it again, this time sinking the ship. The Cornwallis sunk in the deeper waters off the shore of Barbados. Then, when this marine park was set up, they moved the hull of the Cornwallis closer ashore.

A newer ship, named The Elion, came to Barbados from Columbia. For some reason (I missed this part of the spiel - the guide was spieling as we snorkeled), the ship was seized by local authorities and searched. They pulled off the interior wall of the ship to discover that the walls of the entire thing was lined with marijuana. Obviously, the government maintained control of the ship. After all the legal stuff was taken care of, the Elion was brought out to the marine park and sunk there.

In addition to these three ships, we saw various smaller pieces of wreckage like anchors, a larger piece of a barge ship and a fourth ship named The Bajan Queen which had been used for various work projects at building the marine and port area before it was retired to the bottom of the sea.

It was so incredible to look at these ships! You swim along and then suddenly a dark shadow sort of looms ahead in the water and as you get closer, suddenly you see this ship appear, covered in marine life. I literally gasped when I saw the first one. There is something ghostly and eerie yet completely beautiful about these ships.

In addition to these fascinating sites, there was so much marine life! Hundreds and hundreds of fish. I’ve never seen so many! And they were just swimming all around us. I used to get a bit freaked out by lots of fish swimming around me, but this was just too cool. I’d just float there and everywhere I looked, these bright stunning gorgeous fish! Then for an extra treat, a sea turtle decided to pay us a visit. I got far closer and a far better look at this friend of mine than any of the ones when I snorkeled with them earlier in my contract.

This tour left so early (8:30am which after working until 1am the night before and then socializing is really bloody early!) and I was really not feeling well when I woke up. I have to admit, it took some self-convincing to get myself ready to participate in the tour as anything other than a chaperone for the teens. But wow. One of the best tours I’ve done. And all this time, this incredible site was just beyond where I’ve been hanging on the beach . . .

Additional photos below
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Looking Back to Bridgetown & "The Boatyard"Looking Back to Bridgetown & "The Boatyard"
Looking Back to Bridgetown & "The Boatyard"

Who knew all this was so close all that time?

8th February 2008

Oh Yea!
There's the underwater pics!
9th February 2008

Say 'Hi' for me!
I miss my friend, the sea turtle. Looks like a hawksbill. Jealous.
5th August 2009

not sunk
The Cornwallis was repaired temporarily after being hit by a German torpedo at Bridgetown and sailed to Trinidad for permanent repair. It was eventually sunk by the Germans off Maine in 1944.

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