Caribbean Reef Buddy

Program Reviews

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Grace
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

So much fun and learned a lot...a win-win!

I had a wonderful time with Caribbean Reef Buddy! I didn't have any scuba diving experience, but in my first week I completed my Open Water certification. The instructors were very knowledgable and I picked up the skills quickly. The dive sites were so beautiful and not too challenging for a new diver to navigate.

I found the volunteer work really interesting! I helped with the lionfish containment, fish identification, coral watch, and coral nursery projects. I appreciated how the staff gave presentations about the background and significance of the projects before we got in the water. I could tell the staff were genuinely interested and enthusiastic about keeping the reef healthy. I learned a lot about marine conservation from the presentations and hands-on work.

The staff and other volunteers were super friendly and there was never a dull moment with them. My 6 weeks in Carriacou went by too fast!

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
Going into the program I felt a little hesitant about participating in the lionfish containment project. However, not even a week after I finished my Open Water certification I had become a lionfish hunter!
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Jack
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Caribbean Reef Buddy - A Hidden Gem

When I came to Carriacou I had never dove nor traveled by myself before, not to mention to a completely foreign country. I came to this program nervous but excited for the coming weeks on the island. As soon as I arrived I instantly felt welcomed by the staff and other members of the program and my nerves seemed to melt away. The staff were all proficient and incredibly enthusiastic about their work, making the work fun and very successful. By the end of my time there, I took part in many conservation activities, expanded my knowledge of the reef systems and diving a hundred-fold, and felt as though I was a part of a second family. Throughout the program, the staff led many fun activities around the island beyond diving - such as a hike up to Chapeau Carre, and a trek to paradise beach through the beautiful mangrove forest. I was truly heartbroken to leave Carriacou and Caribbean Reef Buddy at the end of my stay, and if I had the chance I'd probably stay down there forever.

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
If I had the chance to do this program all over again, I would definitely choose to stay for 16 weeks instead of just 8.
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Grace
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Great Experience and Great People; Definitely Recommend!

I had an amazing experience with Caribbean Reef Buddy! I had so much fun scuba diving the beautiful reefs of Carriacou while also being able to learn a lot about the issues plaguing the reefs and helping out with conservation efforts. It was a great experience to first-hand help build coral nurseries and conduct reef surveys. I definitely got a lot out of the program and learned a ton as well as greatly improved my scuba skills. It was really great to see the passion and commitment of the team in Carriacou towards conserving the reefs and the ocean, and it felt great to be part of this effort. The program leaders were all very knowledgeable and were super helpful resources throughout my time. I would definitely recommend this program as it was a very fun and rewarding experience!!

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
The most surprising thing I did was learn how to hunt lionfish and even actually catching a few! Later, I even got to try lionfish ceviche made from the lionfish we had all caught; it was delicious!
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Jack
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I'd learned to dive. Now I've learned to love the ocean!

I learned to dive in Australia a few years ago. I enjoyed the experience, but was not wowed by it. I didn't know what I was looking at TBH. I joined CRB to learn more about the marine environment and to dive a lot more too. I planned to do my DM whilst here too. Which was fab!.
The team here are very passionate about the marine environment, but in a practical way. Not in a tree-huggy way. The activities we got involved in were informative, helpful and very insightful. Its easy to really start to fall in love with the ocean when you're part of it every day and have these guys to tell you what it is your seeing and why its so amazing.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
I'll be honest. When I signed up for the program I thought it was quite expensive, but the time you added flights etc to it. But I spend 8 weeks in one of the best spots in the Caribbean with some amazing people and I learned so much. The 8 weeks went by in a flash, and as I left I felt that the experience was worth every single penny... Well, except from the Jack Iron hangover!
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Mark
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Came for a month, stayed for four. Going back again in 2021

I was one of the lucky few who managed to get away to this program in 2020 during the pandemic. The UK unlocked and we managed to make it all work. I planned to come to Carriacou for a month, but ended up staying 4 due to flight cancellations and lockdowns. During my time there, I had an amazing experience with the crew and became part of the family. I also worked towards and got my divemaster certification too.

I am to come back again in 2021 to work with the crew again and create a new coral nursery, and to see how the babies I planted last year are growing....

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Bonita
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The various speciality subjects such as Reef watch, underwater photography were brilliant

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

The diving was amazing and I learned so many new things

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

Overall a great experience

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 thought I had a plan for life.... Now I do!

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

Absolutely perfect for a young solo traveler!

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!