Diving in The Bahamas
Diving in The Bahamas
The Bahamas consists of close to 700 islands and if you want to get the best Caribbean diving as well as the Atlantic Ocean, the Bahamas is the ideal location for you. With shipwrecks, drift dives, coral reefs, perfect white sand and stunning wall drops into the blue abyss, there is plenty here for the divers, in fact there are so many dive sites in the Bahamas then one trip might just not be enough. On the top of this, the presence of the sun for more than 320 days of the year makes it a perfect destination for divers.
All the islands in the Bahamas have their own unique character and potential wonderful experiences. If you are looking for caves or a thrilling shark diving adventure, then the blue waters of New Providence might be your best bet. If visiting dolphins is your choice, then dive straight into the serene waters of the Grand Bahama Island. Experiencing a wide variety of sea life may be the top choice for some and if so, Bimini’s warm waters are just perfect. For underwater caverns or vertical walls, do not miss San Salvador. These are just some of the many fascinating islands present in the region and the diversity each one of them offers. But if there is one thing which is common to all the islands, it’s the set of gorgeous beaches and vista’s for you to enjoy after your dives.
Sunshine for most of the year makes this the perfect place for the diving, however, June to October is generally to be the ideal time to visit. Even though it rains almost every single day during the period, the duration of rain is quite short to spoil your fun. One key thing to keep in mind before planning a trip here is the hurricane season, normally between June to October, if you wish to travel during this time, give a serious consideration to trip cancellation insurance. This can however be the best time of year to go if you are on a budget.
Shark diving is a must in the Bahamas and Tiger Beach in Bimini is the place to go. Here you can see great hammerheads, bull sharks and of course the formidable tiger sharks, characterized by their blunt nose and the “tiger” stripes that run along their bodies.The dive site here is in 80-100 ft of water and the visibility is usually very good. Great hammerheads of up to 20 ft in length can be seen here and all the sharks are remarkably curious to the divers allowing you to get the perfect shot. Air temperatures are quite pleasant and range between the mid-60’s to mid-70’s Fahrenheit and the water temperatures range is around 70 – 72 Fahrenheit.
Wall and Reef Dives
Diving in Andros covers the full range of diving experiences, here you can experience the thrill of wall diving off the top of the 6000 ft deep Tongue of the Ocean, wreck diving or diving one or more of the blue holes scattered all over the island. Andros is also home to the Andros barrier which is the worlds third longest barrier reef
Even if you just want to snorkel, this island is no less than a paradise which has miles of healthy coral reef. A must-dive site in the region is the Stargate Blue Hole which is also one the most challenging blue holes to dive There are a number of options to get to the island. You can either fly into Nassau and then board one of the daily flights that operate between the two islands or directly fly into Fresh Creek, or, you could even consider a ferry that runs daily between Andros and Nassau. No matter how you get to this place, you are sure to be filled with memories of a lifetime.
The Exhuma Cays are a beautiful set of islands in the region well-known for colorful reefs, grey reef sharks, and wrecks. Look for the following dive sites in the area
Danger Reef: Danger reef has a number of smaller reefs leading out from a collection of larger coral heads and is reminiscent of coral boulevards leading out like spokes from a wheel, relatively shallow at 60ft the whole formation sits on top of pure white sand and is a stunning dive site to visit.
Pillar Wall: Pillar Wall sits at the top of the continental shelf at 100 ft, coral formations here are in very good health and this is where you can see larger pelagic’s such as tuna, waho and horse-eye jacks, the drop off can give some divers a sense of vertigo, 2000 ft straight down to the bottom
Blue Hole: Just outside of Nassau sits “Blue Hole” at only 30 ft to the top of the hole. The hole itself is 100 ft across and 200 ft deep, around the top of the blue hole large sting Rays congregate, there is not coral or polyps growing inside of the blue hole and in many ways it seems similar to a fresh water dive for that reason, however if you are luck the blue hole is where you can see large groups of over 100 reef sharks swimming lazily in a circle.
The Austin Smith : The Austin Smith Wreck is another diving site which is very popular among divers and tour operators. This is the site for shark dives, divers are lead to a position on the deck of the wreck, you don’t move from it until shark feeding is done. Then one of the dive masters swims quickly down from the surface, with a pre-frozen “chumsicle”(the contents of a bucket of chum frozen onto a section of rope), this is tied onto the wreck with the chumsicle about 15 ft above the divers, who are perfectly positioned to get photographs of the sharks feeding. Once finished divers can then swim among these graceful and very misunderstood animals.
As well as sharks, you are also likely to see dolphins, leather back turtles, and queen conch during your visit here, and don’t forget another spot worth visiting is Staniel Cay where you will be greeted by friendly swimming pigs looking for a snack and a hug, seriously.
Whether you want to scuba or shark dive, snorkel or just relax on the beach, step into the warm waters of the beautiful Bahamas, one visit might just not be enough.