The Caribbean Reef Buddy team consists of biologists, enthusiasts & diving professionals who are passionate about marine conservation.

Our Story

Caribbean Reef Buddy (CRB) was established in 2014, and became a registered NGO in 2015. The two main drivers were firstly to promote tourism to the beautiful island of Carriacou, and secondly through education, to demonstrate the importance of our marine ecosystem and the things we can do to help it.

Over the years, through a combination of grant funded projects and self-funded activity supported by our summer ‘Volunteer Program’, CRB has been able to establish a pilot nursery which has had excellent results over the past 5 years.

We have focused heavily on marine conservation and citizen science with the collection of robust data on reef health using Coral Watch, and overall biodiversity through Reef Check surveys. This focus on monitoring the productive reef systems was accompanied by the systematic containment of invasive lionfish. However, over time the requirements of the ecosystem have changed.

Lionfish have become part of the food-chain and their numbers are no longer as prolific as they once were. Now that we have sufficient data and an in-depth understanding of ecosystem dynamics in Carriacou waters, we are switching focus to more active engagement.

Our Vision is to become a regional center for coral conservation education.


Caribbean Reef Buddy is supported by a team of PADI & SSI professionals, biologists and marine conservation & diving enthusiasts.

Gary Ward, Executive Director of Caribbean Reef Buddy

Gary Ward

Program Director & Instructor 

Gary is one of the founder members of CRB with head in the ocean and feet on the ground. He is a Chartered Accountant and holds a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) degree from Henley Business College.

He realizes that conservation projects are critical to the survival of the reefs, but they need to be financially sustainable in order to last long and achieve magnificent goals.

Gary is also a PADI and SSI Master Instructor and an excellent mentor, patient teacher and loves nothing more than seeing the bright happy faces of new students. Gary is actively involved in the Marine Conservation effort to help to protect the marine environment in Carriacou.

Nora Valdes: Senior Instructor



Nora first came to Carriacou in May 2018 to join Caribbean Reef Buddy's volunteer program. She promptly fell in love with the island and all its creatures, and has now returned on a more permanent basis.

Working as a diving instructor for our partners Deefer Diving, Nora specialises in Fish ID. She has also been crowned the best lionfish cevice chef on the island, and the best seahorse and macro life spotter on the team.

No one knows how she does it but if you're ever looking for seahorses, you know who to call...

Steve Ellery Instructor



Steve is a PADI Instructor who joined us with a wealth of experience developed in Asia and the South Pacific islands.

Formerly in the British Fire Service, Steve has become our technician and Scuba MacGyver.


Divemaster & Operations Director

Racqs looks after the whole logistics and running of the operation and makes things tick. Somehow she manages to keep track of everything that needs to happen and everything that’s going on too.

Before CRB Racqs worked as an accountant within construction in St Lucia, but now is a Divemaster who will guide you on some of our project activities.

"Prince" Harry


“Prince” Harry: The Ginger Prince. He’s been with us now as the resident rodent chaser for 8 years. Although he’s never been much of a rodent chaser to be fair. You’ll find Harry anywhere where there is dive gear…. or food. Harry loves food!


Boat Skipper

Shak joined the team in 2023. He's since started to learn to dive and has already attained his Advanced Open Water certification.

Shak loves the ocean and everything in it, his passion and curiosity for the underwater world will definitely rub off on anyone he interacts with.

When not expertly skippering Phoenix, Shak loves the 'slappin' bones' and will challenge anyone to an exciting game of Dominoes

Policies and Rules

Booking & Payments Policy

A non-refundable deposit of 10% of the total value of your booking is required to secure your space on the program. 

Final payment is required 28 days prior to your arrival on Carriacou.

Please talk to a member of our team if you are having difficulty making payment or need any additional information.

Cancellation Policy

There are times when you may need to cancel or defer your booking.  We will attempt to assist you in any way we can, particularly if you need to defer your program.

Cancellations made more than 28 days prior to arrival will forfeit their deposit.

Cancellations made more than 7 days prior to arrival will be eligible for a 50% refund.

Cancellations made less than 7 days prior to arrival, or once the you have arrived will not be eligible for a refund

Behavior & Conduct

For all participants comfort and health, we have a strict no smoking and no drugs policy on the boat, at the dive center and also in the accommodation.

The consumption of alcohol is permitted, but please moderate consumption when diving activity is to occur.  Diving and alcohol/hangovers do not mix well

We require all participants to be respectful to staff and other volunteers at all times.

Failure to comply with these conduct and behaviors requirements could see you ejected from the program.