The Bahamas

Introduction

If you like your diving playgrounds to comprise warm seas of mesmerising indigo, soft flour-white sand and ludicrously colourful coral reefs, then The Bahamas is your Heaven on Earth. Add to this a mind-boggling A-Z of fish more compelling than a scene in Finding Nemo and a perfect climate, and you will surely be in your Bahamas scuba diving paradise.

Some choose to simply loll around with a snorkel in the shallows – but most can’t resist the opportunity to dive The Bahamas and pull on some scuba gear to go deeper and rub shoulders with the sharks, dolphins and rays that are found all around the Bahamas’ 700 islands and 2400 cays.

If you’re in The Bahamas diving from late January to early February, you will see huge shoals of magisterial groupers as they spawn around Andros, Long Island, Cat Island and the Berry Islands. Visit The Bahamas in November, and you’ll witness the jaw dropping ‘March of the Lobsters’ as they swarm like cavalry across the sandy sea beds of the Little Bahamas Banks.

Spectacular marine walls abound in The Bahamas, creating diving wonderlands of coral teeming with life. Spot sponges, wave to octopuses and swim alongside loggerhead turtles. For those who go Bahamas diving looking for adventures, some of the most challenging caves and wrecks on the planet are waiting to be discovered and conquered, giving you a buzz that just can’t be beaten.

Whether you’ve never dived before, or you’ve already scuba’d all over the world, The Bahamas’ 760-mile arc of islands offers such a vast and diverse expanse of psychedelic reefs, deep turquoise pools and shimmering clear shallows, that you’ll constantly be wearing that ridiculously broad smile triggered by uplifting aquatic experiences when you dive.

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Descend 100 Years

Slip below the surface and down into another era. Off The Abacos you can explore the San Jacinto, America’s first steamship, which sank in 1865. And you’ll love rooting around the Cienfuegos, which went down near Eleuthera Island in 1895. The stunning Frascate, near San Salvador, now lies in wait of your discovery, after sinking in 1902. But to be honest, the crystal clear, warm, shallow waters have too many wrecks to mention and the best way to see them up close is to dive! Bahamas wrecks, whether large or small, have their own unique aura that will make a lasting impression on you.

Scuba like James Bond

 

Go deeper down in the Bahamas while diving, and you will see a mesmerising array of more recently submerged modes of transport that, in many cases, were sunk intentionally. Hollywood filmmakers started the trend, scuttling vessels off the shores of New Providence for the James Bond movies. The scaffold structure of the Vulcan Bomber from Thunderball, now encrusted with colourful invertebrates and sponges, is a favourite on a wreck dive in the Bahamas.

 

Explore tugboats and tankers

 

Over forty obsolete, broken or unwanted vessels – even a few planes – have been intentionally sunk in the Bahamas. Diving down beneath the surface reveals wrecks including twin tugboats at Walker’s Cay in The Abacos, the freighters known as Theo’s Wreck off Grand Bahama, and Willaurie, off New Providence.

Swim with planes

 

Off New Providence, you’ll be buzzing when you get up close and personal with a barnacle-encrusted Cessna light aircraft and the colossal 200ft tanker Calibe Breeze. There’s more than that in the Bahamas – diving around Paradise Island reveals the home of a lovely little supply vessel, a fascinating passenger ship and a mighty oil tanker, called the ‘Ana Lise’, ‘Helen C’ and the ‘Bahama Shell’ respectively – all lying side by side. Elsewhere, just off Bimini, the wreck of the Hesperus has become its own little ecosystem, attracting vivid shoals of fish, huge loggerhead turtles and teeming marine life.

Shark heaven  

 

If you like sharks, then go Bahamas diving and you’re in for a treat. These beautiful, diver-friendly creatures are found around all the islands of The Bahamas. Nurse, black tip, bull, tiger, great hammerhead and Caribbean reef sharks are all present. Their favourite spots are the coasts of islands fringing the deep water of the ‘Tongue of the Ocean’, including New Providence, the Exuma Cays and the outer reefs of The Abacos. Having a close encounter with a shark is one of life’s unforgettable moments. If you’re shark diving in The Bahamas, you might meet up with dozens in a single day! 

 

Close encounters of the toothy kind

 

Swimming close to one of these beautiful creatures isn’t just an exciting experience; it’s a close encounter that stays with you for life after shark diving. Bahamas residents and visitors both know that there’s something about nature’s perfectly formed killing machine that fascinates us all. But you’ll be safe and sound on one of the plentiful, well-supervised Bahamas diving expeditions. Grab this special chance to meet these magnificent yet shy creatures in the stunning surroundings of Nassau, Grand Bahama Island, Walker’s Cay, Long Island and Andros.

Feeding frenzy

 

Thanks to co-ordinated, regular feeds while shark diving, Bahamas dive centres make sure sharks are drawn to sites all around the islands. You’ll be in completely safe hands – with highly experienced Bahamas diving leaders, you can watch in awe as these muscled machines shoot out from the darkness of the deep water beyond the reef walls and join the frenzy for a free fish scrap meal.

Bump into a shark – literally!

 

On Nassau, many shark dive centres feed using a flip-top box and a long spike. Dead fish scrap is speared and then put in the water during your shark diving – Bahamas sharks congregate in large numbers, enticed by the smell. When a pecking order has been established, they take it in turns to feed, and as they swarm around they can clip you with their tails. Doesn’t get much closer than that!

See sharks away from the feeds

 

When you experience a shark feed for the first time, you’ll go in apprehensive but come out elated. And it’s just as much of a thrill to meet one randomly when you’re out on a normal dive. Bahamas sharks are a varied bunch. The island waters are home to a plethora of species, including lemon, bull, tiger, hammerhead, Caribbean reef, silky, nurse and black tip sharks, many of which you can meet while scuba diving off walls and in the mangroves of The Bahamas. Diving is always an adventure and you never know when one might pop out of the gloom…

Dive Bahamas’ famous caves

 

Diving down into a huge vertical cave known as a Blue Hole is an experience that will be carved in your memory forever when you dive The Bahamas; some of the best can be found there. The spectacular Blue Holes of The Bahamas are world famous, with those off Andros and Grand Bahama being the most well known.  Exploring the cathedral-like proportions of these Bahamas diving sites will give you something similar to a religious experience!

A brief history of holes

 

In prehistoric times, when sea levels were much lower, rainwater eroded extensive cave systems through the soft limestone base of The Bahamas. Diving enthusiasts can be thankful that when sea levels rose, these caves flooded, complete with their spectacular displays of stalagmites and stalactites. Where their massive ceilings collapsed, Blue Holes were created.

Bahamas diving – the world’s deepest

 

Seen from the air, these caves show up as dark blue circular holes, contrasting with the lighter blue water of the surrounding shallows. They’re one of the most distinctive features of the Bahamas; diving down within them they’re even more impressive. Dean’s Blue Hole on Long Island is the world’s deepest at 663ft deep and 250ft wide.

 

Share them with sharks

 

Like divers, nurse sharks are often attracted to the Blue Holes, though not for the reason of a recreational dive; Bahamas sharks are looking for something other than a thrill. Blue Holes make perfect feeding grounds for them, with their abundance of crustaceans. So if you’re lucky, when you dive The Bahamas, you’ll get a shark treat within a cave treat.

 

Blue Hole Bahamas diving – experience necessary and available

 

Cave diving experience and certification, along with specialist equipment, is a prerequisite if you’re planning to explore the Blue Holes. What’s great is that all of the above equipment and experiences are available in abundance all around the islands.

Cliffs beneath the waves 

 

Don’t be fooled by The Bahamas’ wonderfully flat islands! Beneath those irresistible blue waters lie plunging marine valleys, some feeling as deep and dramatic as the Grand Canyon when you dive. Bahamas shallows meet the valleys in many places. Where they do – known to divers as drop-offs or walls – you’ll discover a cliff face teeming with life. And the joy as a diver is that it literally changes before your eyes every foot that you descend.

Vertical jungles

 

These spellbinding walls can run for hundreds of miles below the waters of the Bahamas, diving down and often plunging thousands of feet. Along these vertical escarpments, as you dive, Bahamas marine-life will surround you and you’ll encounter beautiful tube sponges, a rainbow of hard corals, enchanted hanging algae and ethereal angelfish. Great big groupers, turtles, billfish and tuna are all usually on patrol, and it’s not uncommon to see sweeping eagle rays, or even hammerhead, tiger and silky sharks out sniffing for their prey.

Magical vistas

 

Bahamas drop-offs are punctured with awesome caverns, tunnels and swim-throughs. The sea around Andros is home to an unmissable sight – a ledge runs from the main wall to a smaller drop-off, creating a large reef intercut with mini canyons, all covered with magical black coral bushes.

Bahamas diving – thrills and spills

 

In the warm, inviting sea off San Salvador, intrepid divers can encounter shoals of hammerhead sharks and enjoy the thrill of amazing swim-throughs that fire you out over the wall.

Facts

Language: English

Currency: US Dollars, Bahamian Dollars (same Value)

Dive Season:  All year round

Climate: Subtropical

Air Temperature: 18°-33°C (65°-91°F)

Water Temperature: 24°-31°C (75°-88°F)

Visibility: 24 – 30 Metres

Skill Level: Beginner – Professional