Barbados has two skin-diving establishments, each equipped with 12 tanks and all the other required gear. Both have guides who instruct all grades of scuba enthusiasts. At Coral Reef Beach—center for the Coral Reef, Colony, Miramar and Sandy Lane hotels—Les Wotton, an English diver with 12 years in Barbados, teaches scuba with two assistants, for $10 per hour, all gear and a trip to Coral Reef included. At the Aquatic Club, one mile from Bridgetown, American Gene Tinker, a diver with 15 years' experience, and his partner, Harold King, serve the divers in south coast hotels. He charges $15 per person, including equipment, for a half-day excursion. The east coast and North Point are the best places for spearfishing. Special for sightseeing is the wreck of a World War I freighter, which even beginners visit—its highest point is only six feet below the water.
The Grenadines have very primitive facilities, excellent underseascapes. The thing to do in Grenada, Les Tantes, Carriacou or Bequia is to take your own equipment or, as in Antigua, explore from the comfortable deck of a charter boat containing all of the facilities for diving. The 106-foot steam yacht Xebec, which books out of Nicholson's in Antigua, specializes in skin-diving trips to these waters. Its charter fee is $35 per person per day for a party of six. The waters of the Grenadines are exceptionally clear and the spearfishing is first rate. The best diving is on the reefs surrounding the Tobago Cays, and in Tyrrel Bay on Carriacou. At Point Saline on Grenada, there is a beach which is white sand on one side, black on the other, where you can find sizable mackerel, crevalle and snapper.
Trinidad has poor diving, but nearby TOBAGO is superb, from the Giles off the north shore to the fabulous Buccoo Reef on the south. The Buccoo Reef is about two miles offshore. To reach it look up Cecil Anthony, an experienced fisherman of impressive girth. He will either take you himself or send you out with one of his boys. On the way you cross the Nylon Pool, a body of water so named because it is so clean. On the reef, when the tide is out, even nonswimmers stand knee-deep in tennis shoes to protect their feet from the coral and peer through goggles at a display of reef life as stunning as can be found in the entire Caribbean. Anthony rents all gear, but divers should bring their own masks and regulators.
The Dutch islands called the ABCs, ARUBA, BONAIRE and CURACAO, far down in the Caribbean, are just developing their skin-diving facilities. Bonaire has the best spearfishing—for both beginners and experienced divers. Don Stewart is the local guide; he has a compressor for refilling tanks and equipment for hire. He will take you to reefs that are only 20 feet from the Hotel Bonaire or down to sunken cannon fragments off the southeast coast.
In Aruba, Dr. Dolfi Oduber is the best authority on skin diving. He will take you (or put you in touch with someone who will) to the wrecks off the northwest tip of the island. They are fairly deep. On all the ABCs, the best diving is on the west coast, for the winds from the east make for choppy water on the windward side of these islands. Cura�ao is best for advanced scuba, and there is good spearfishing around Spanish Bay. Robert Schouten is a licensed guide who rents gear and takes experienced divers on tours.