A genuine commitment to protect the sea and its inhabitants
Some fifteen diving sites are available all around the island, most of them within the marine reserve. Their accessibility is a major advantage for St Barth Diving, which is located a few minutes away from the reserve. Fixed moorings – in the form of white buoys – have been placed at the most popular sites by divers who can now tie up safely without damaging the seabed. Only motorboats less than 15 metres long are allowed to use these buoys. The use of a mooring is limited to 2½ hours and centres must ensure not to have more than 13 divers per site. The rich marine biodiversity that one can see during explorations is an indication of the effectiveness of these measures. Among the main sites within the reserve, Gros Islets and Pain de Sucre are the most popular with divers. Monitoring carried out by the Sustainable Ecosystems Institute (SEI) has shown an enrichment of the fauna since the setting up of the reserve in 1996, thus demonstrating the positive impact of the reserve.
Birdie is present on the site since many years and knows every corner of the reserve. He really likes to share his knowledge of the marine fauna and flora of the island. Don’t miss one of his interesting debriefing sessions, which will help you better understand the behaviour of certain species and to view the seabed with a different perspective.
Optimum diving conditions
The sandy bottoms around Saint Barth are less than 30 metres deep, which is an additional guarantee of safety for divers who also enjoy the good diving conditions at most of the sites: good underwater visibility and weak sea currents. Diving is most of the time carried out along the reefs between 0 and 20 metres deep, where there is the greatest wealth of biodiversity. Not less than 51 species of coral and 183 species of fish have been identified in the waters of St Barth. The sites burst with colours and life and the encounters are various and surprising, whether with lobsters hiding in crevices in the reef or with a nurse shark hidden in the sand, or event with predators such as mako sharks, groupers, barracudas or threadfins, which hover around the reef in search for prey.
But the spectacle is not limited to the seabed; during navigation the boat sails along protected islets that are home to a multitude of seabirds including pelicans and gannets. These enchanting sights continue the magic of the underwater exploration.
A desire to pass down the passion to future generations
Birdie has the ambition of passing down his passion for the sea and his commitment to protect the marine environment to as many people as possible. The diving instructor did not hesitate a moment when it came to participating in sensitisation operations carried out by the Gustavia college in order to make seventh-grade teenagers aware of the fragility of ecosystems and of the need to protect them. St Barth Diving is aware of the importance of passing on the passion to future generations in order to ensure the preservation of the natural heritage of the island and thus offers them 45 trial dives every year.
Sensitising the youth of the island
Sensitising the youth is complementary to the general policy of local authorities. According to Birdie, it is easier to sensitise the youth than to change the bad habits ingrained since years in the local populations.
The strategy seems to be successful as teaching staff are now considering the extension of the operation to primary schoolchildren. Hence, all the youth would be sensitised to the preservation of the marine habitat at least twice in the initial stages of their schooling. On an island, this appears both logical and beneficial.
Furthermore, St Barth Diving works closely with the filmmaker Tony Duarte, who manages St-Barth Video Live, for better communication using images. A partnership has also been set up with the botanist and biologist, Anne-Lise Finot, for the supervision of the diving activity during weekends.