Reef Conservation in the Heart of the Caribbean

Caribbean Reef Buddy

About

Our Story in Carriacou is to work closely with the community and people like yourself to make a sustainable difference to marine conservation awareness and education. Caribbean Reef Buddy (CRB) do this through the delivery of environmental and conservation projects which are linked to global ecological and social themes. Our projects include assessing marine species and coral health, repopulation of our reef systems, and supporting greater awareness within our local schools.

You too can write a chapter in our on-going story of how our Reef Buddies took some time and made a huge difference on this tropical island paradise. Your story can not only include your first-hand experience of delivering our projects, but also of your hikes in the tropical forests, your walks along deserted beaches and the bond you’ll make with new friends from all over the world. Join us in the Caribbean as we help you to start a new chapter in your story.

Founded
2014
Headquarters

Main Street, Hillsborough
Carriacou
Grenada

New Program Structure for 2020

Our program for 2020 will commence on 3rd May 2020. We've broken the structure down into a one week 'Training Week', followed by three weeks of project work. If you're already 'Advanced' level you can join the program at any point . This creates an opportunity for you to join us when its perfect for you, and to stay here and continue to contribute to the conservation effort here on Carriacou for as long as you're able to.

Team CRB

Reviews

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Bonita
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

It was the best experience I have genuinely ever had. Everyone there was lovely and helped make the experience as good as it was. The accommodation is good and you are certainly well fed. I believe these guys are genuinely interested in marine conservation and these are not just tick box exercises for them. Great to go away with so much knowledge that I can pass on to others.

All of the teaching be it diving or the various speciality subjects such as Reef watch, underwater photography etc were brilliant. I struggled a bit with diving for the first few days but the instructors were patient and soon I forgot the struggles I had originally had. I may well return there and If I don’t I will certainly be diving more and gaining more PADI certificates.

Thoroughly recommend these guys and would still be there if I didn’t have a job to return to, and mortgage, dogs etc!

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ELizabeth
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I had the most amazing time in Carriacou and am hoping to return in the next few years. Everyone was so welcoming and friendly, I loved that most of the volunteers stayed at the same hotel; on our first Sunday one of the group, who had already been there for 4 weeks, came and knocked on our door to see if we all wanted to go to the beach which was a lovely thing to do.

The diving was amazing and I learned so many new things and want to continue to do so. I also learned a lot on a personal level too, seeing a huge increase in confidence as a person. Everyone back at home know how much of a great experience it was because I don’t shut up about it and still talk about it regularly. In short, the best thing I have done so far!

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
Getting in the water for the first time with scuba. Its all so heavy and I'm really small. Once in the water the weight just goes away and its brilliant
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Harry
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The project was great. I booked with my dad to come for 2 weeks as I didn't know what to expect as I was only 17 at the time. I stayed an extra 2 weeks because of how well it was going. Everyone was really friendly and the project itself was really fun and overall a great experience. There was plenty of activity to do, both during the day and in the evening too, but no pressure to get lairy. Having the accommodation in a hotel was a proper bonus, as it meant all our food was prepared for us, as I probably can only boil an egg! I loved it so much I'm coming back and will do my Divemaster in 2020.

What was the most unfamiliar thing you ate?
Lambi! I thought it was a lamb, and got a bit of a shock to find it was conch!
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Mike
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I came here thinking about changing what I do in life, as I knew I needed to change something. Diving appealed to me, as too did getting more involved in marine conservation.

Coming here has been a revelation! These guys really know what they're doing and have a programme which is structured perfectly to prepare you to become a divemaster. They're thorough, diligent and very very professional. I came away knowing that I needed to continue in this direction because diving is the career choice for me.

While I was here not only did I learn about being a dive pro, but also about coral reef restoration, invasive species and monitoring techniques. I was also able to learn to dive bubble free on their CCR units too - WOW, what a difference that made! I now have some amazing memories and amazing experiences to remember

They offer training using the SSI agency. I'd never heard of them before I came here and was a little bit unsure versus PADI. The guys explain the differences all the way through, and again leave you very well informed. If you want to pay a little bit extra, they were able to certify you as PADI instead, but for the most part no one took up that option.

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
There was a group of divemasters on a new site 'down south' moving through some narrow canyons. The dive leader stopped and got us all the drop down closer to the rocks and he pointed up as a Caribbean Reef Shark was patrolling just above us. I thought my heart was going to explode out of my chest it was so exciting!
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Mackenzie
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I got to Carriacou. Nervous, not knowing what to expect. This may have been because it was my first time doing something like this alone.

But once I arrived at Deefer diving all of the nerves instantly vanished. As I see myself as fairly shy before I get to know people, going to Deefer was perfect for me as I was made to feel so welcome by everyone as soon as I got there. This would’ve been because of the amazing staff! They were incredible to work with, helping me have one of my best experiences ever as well as pushing me to succeed. The staff also do so well to bring everyone into one group, creating a family feel whilst you’re there. This is one of the things that I liked so much about Deefer as it makes you’re time there so unique.

The atmosphere of Deefer paired with the beautiful culture of the island makes it a perfect environment to learn as well as enjoy.

Not only did I learn so much about Marine conservation and Scuba diving, I had so much fun as well as making some great friends and memories.

Because of how much I enjoyed my time at Deefer I’ve been back several times and always have the same awesome experience.

So, coming from a young guy traveling alone. I would 10000% recommend to anybody really. To anyone having doubts about going. Do it! You won’t regret it!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
To make Gary do an elegant flip off the boat, it’s something he’s been practicing for years. Trust me... you don’t want to miss it!

Programs

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Staff Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with program leaders.

Jon Wright

Job Title
Dive instructor/supervisor, skipper, equipment technician
Jon is a CCR and technical diving instructor trainer who brings 30 years of diving and boating experience to the team. He has been involved with scientific diving for the past 12 years, primarily focused on the technical, logistical and safety elements of many varied projects.

What is your favorite travel memory?

I have so many! One that stands out for me is a sailing trip out to dive Bassas da India, which lies about halfway between Mozambique (where I lived for 12 years) and Madagascar.

Bassas is an uninhabited atoll, formed by a volcano, which rises from the sea bed at 3000 meters to just breaking the surface. It is difficult to find a more remote or more pristine part of the Indian Ocean, the diving was out of this world and the fantastic sense of isolation was surreal.

What did your program provider (or university) assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

I love to experience new locations and cultures and it is great to get into the Caribbean vibe! Carriacou has that lovely old-world charm of a bygone age which is hard to find nowadays. Getting back into sailing after a bit of a hiatus is my short term goal, the region is awash with boats and boaters!

What is the best story you've heard from a return student?

The large number of return students we get speaks volumes for their enjoyment of their time spent here. As I write this, we have 1 return student working here as a dive instructor and a couple who have come back for a holiday. It seems like every month we have at least 1 person coming to dive who was previously a student here.

If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why?

That would depend on previous diving experience. A qualified diver would want to get straight into marine fieldwork, learn scientific diving techniques and data collection/entry techniques, possibly rounding this off with some higher-level diving qualifications.

Non-divers would want to start with their Open Water dive course before getting into the scientific fieldwork. As our structure allows for both these groups, students just decide where they ''get on'' to the course and how long they want to stay.

What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?

We are a group of passionate divers, conservationists, and scientists with incredibly diverse backgrounds and skillsets. For me, it is really gratifying to see local staff get enthusiastic about conserving the underwater world and being part of their progression as professional divers, skippers and the conservationists of tomorrow.

What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?

Good open and honest communication is vital not just for a company, but for daily life. Many problems stem from poor communication, conflict can arise over misunderstandings and no team endeavor can succeed if all members are not clear about objectives and roles.

Scientific research is also of far more important when the results are in the public domain, enabling people to make informed decisions and policies.