It has to be said at the outset, I am terrified of open water following a childhood incident, therefore this was a huge step into the unknown for me – and not one I was looking forward to, however ‘when in Rome’ as they say…
We had booked this through our Sandals resort so transport was provided for us via a mini bus. From the Castries area, it was a 25-minute journey to Pigeon Island, just located at the back of the Grand Hotel. There was no walking involved as the taxi took us right to the beach.
There are some changing facilities if you go up in shorts rather than swimming costumes, but be warned they are extremely basic indeed.
We were given a briefing in advance of what to expect, given a disclaimer to sign and then kitted up for the big event.
The helmets are heavy but only when put on at first. Once you’re actually in the water that weight disappears. Air is fed into the helmet from a floating tank above you meaning that water cannot rise above your chin level – unless you tilt your head! But, even if you forget and look down to see something and water starts to creep up all you need do is straighten your head and the level goes down again.
There are two divers in the water with you at all times along with a further safety diver up top manning the airlines and supplies and ensuring no boats get too close.
The max depth you will be at is 20 feet, but even at that, it feels you are deeper. I’d say try to relax and chill out and simply enjoy the experience. It took me at least ten minutes before I was comfortable enough to use my camera and was happy to have a look about a bit. The tour divers showed us various starfish, sea urchins, sea horses, and various other small fish. They even have a picnic set consisting of a stone bench and table set up as a feeding station so fish will congregate. Great opportunity for pics.
And before you know it, the 25/30 min tour is over and you’re walking back up the beach.
As I said, I’m a fully paid-up, card-carrying, non-underwater type of guy, but that said, even I have to admit to not only enjoying it but being so glad I took the plunge – quite literally! Just for those who may read into that something quite different, it’s a walk in over a gently shelving shore and the same on the way back out.