Bahamas - Diving

ANDROS, BERRY ISLANDS AND CHUB CAY


Andros

Ocean Blue Hole
This superb blue hole opens into the east wall of Andros and is an Andros showpiece. Close to Small Hope Bay, north of Fresh Creek, it can be dived several ways. Divers can enter a cavern at 40 feet, proceed around the backside to another entrance/exit to the south and exit at 40 to 60 feet, maximum depth 100 feet. The bottom of this portion of the system is 130 or more. Advanced divers with the proper training can also explore deeper sections of this system.

AUTEC Buoy
The AUTEC Buoy, an orientation system for US Navy sub exercises, is anchored in 6,000 feet of water. Divers will find Dolphinfish (Mahi-Mahi) under this 20-foot-wide buoy and can then drop slightly deeper to encounter schools of jack and, with luck, Silky Sharks, swirling around the thick anchor chain.

Brad’s Mountain
Brad’s Mountain is a coral head that rises from the bottom at 50 feet to within 15 feet of the surface. Tons of fish swarm in, out and around this structure of small tunnels and caverns. Most are not penetrable, but the show of tropicals, silversides, grunts and other reef fish are the main attraction.

Diana’s Dungeons
Considered typical of the finest of the literally hundreds of wall dives available off Andros, Diana’s Dungeons features a multitude of tunnels, swimthroughs, arches and other topographic formations. Beginning at around 70 feet, divers can explore both shallow formations as well as caverns dropping to 100 feet and deeper portions of the wall. Spotted Eagle Rays and turtles are often sited here.

Red Shoal
Red Shoal is a small, circular patch of very healthy Elkhorn Corals south of Fresh Creek, and clouded by schools of grunts, eels, trumpetfish and lots of other tropicals.

Mickey’s Meander
Found further south, Mickey’s Meander is a shallow reef system running from around 40 to 60 feet for the largest portion of the reef. Sand channels run through coral canyons in this range, but at least one coral head named Christmas Tree tops off around 20 feet. Divers can see sharks, Spotted Eagle Rays and other larger creatures.

Berry Islands & Chub Cay


Mama Rhoda Reef
Mama Rhoda’s is an excellent snorkeling reef as well as a good place for macro photographers. Nudibranchs are surprisingly abundant here. Toward the south is a sloping wall named Fishbowl. It is not vertical, but does have a steep slope featuring sand gullies and high spurs joining together to form swimthroughs.

Chub Cay Wall
This is not a single site, but rather refers to a long expanse of wall. The topography varies from sloping to vertical to overhanging. It is a good example of Bahamian wall formations, with typical sheet corals, an abundance of invertebrates and the Eagle Rays and other pelagics one would expect along deep channels. Reports of pods of Pilot Whales are common.

Whale Point
Whale Point features a gradually sloping wall with sand chutes that spill onto sand plains that feature stands of soft corals, sea rods and other gorgonians.


BIMINI


The Victories/Tuna Alley
This series of reef lines run along the west side of the Bimini chain as it falls south from the island of Bimini. Tuna Alley is named for the spring run of massive Bluefin Tuna up the Gulfstream (400lb plus) with Hammerheads nipping at their fins. The wall here slopes from 30 to 40 feet down to about 90 feet, levels out and then hits a more vertical drop at 130 feet or so. The Victories feature more tunnels, overhangs and swimthroughs than Tuna Alley. Sponge growth is great throughout.

The Sapona
The Sapona, a ferro-cement Liberty Ship from the first part of the 20th century, came to Bimini to serve as a floating casino but ran aground in the banks behind Bimini during a 1926 hurricane. Her checkered past includes stints as a storage area for liquor and drugs awaiting transport to the US, a late night party spot and a target for US Navy bombing and strafing runs. She sits in15 feet of water with half her hull above the waterline. With thick schools of grunts, Nurse Sharks and tons of little life, this is a great site for both snorkelers and divers.

Bimini Barge
The Bimini Barge sits close enough to the edge of the wall to be washed by the currents of the Gulfstream, to enjoy lots of rich marine life and to challenge divers. Richly encrusted, this ocean-going barge was sunk in the mid-80’s. The deck is at 75 feet and the keel rests at 95 feet.

The Strip
A thin piece of reef stretching perhaps 200 yards long and hardly 20 feet wide at most, The Strip is perhaps Bimini’s best night dive. Sitting in only 35 feet of water, it is the home of many invertebrates, including reef crabs and lobster, basket stars and crinoids and schools of margate and grunts. At night, reclusive critters, such as octopi, come out and its singular longitudinal form is easy to navigate.

Hawksbill Reef
Hawksbill Reef is a field of low-lying, popcorn kernel-shaped coral heads, scattered across a sand and limestone seafloor. In the mid-water above this reef, Bermuda Chub swim along with chromis and other schooling reef fish. The reef itself is rich with snapper and grunts along with the usual tropical suspects. The rubble area in between and surrounding these coral heads holds great potential for tilefish and jawfish.

Little Caverns
Named for the tiny holes in the reef, all too small to be navigated by divers, Little Caverns is a long time favorite, medium depth reef. Seldom shallower than 60 feet or deeper than 85 feet, the site features nicely formed coral heads with a profile of 10 to 20 feet and adorned by basket, barrel and tube sponges. Angelfish, Schoolmasters and various grunts are common along with snapper and Nurse Sharks.

Bimini Road (Road to Atlantis)
This unassuming dive site has attracted world-wide attention. Two primary straight lines of straight cut, square to rectangular blocks, create a formation many believe to be remnants of the continent of Atlantis. There are other practical explanations, but in the late 1930’s, the world famous psychic Edgar Cayce predicted evidence of Atlantis would be discovered off the island of Bimini in 1969 (without even knowing where the island was). This was the year a pilot of a small plane sighted the near parallel lines.

CAY SAL


Elbow Wall
This deep, supremely rich and seldom dived wall is an absolute surprise upon first exposure. The strong current of the Gulf Stream drives you along a wall that tops out around 80 feet. Deeper on the wall are large sponge formations, healthy corals and the ever-present possibility at any depth of big animal life. This site is only visited by live-aboards.

Big Hole (Shark Hole)
Cay Sal Bank is riddled with blue holes, some rivaling the best in the country for depth, dynamics and pure intrigue. Big Hole is not the least of these. Nearly a quarter of a mile from lip to lip, it is said to drop at least 400 feet before branching off into caves. Its primary use is as the staging ground for shark dives. Divers drop off the stern of the vessel, swim across the deep expanse and position themselves on a sand shelf at about 50 feet. Food is positioned and sharks begin to ascend out of the depths of the hole.

Sistine Chapel
The Sistine Chapel is yet another of the great blue holes. Circular in form and about 40 yards in diameter, it takes a classic bell-shaped form, dropping to several hundred feet. Its name was partly inspired by the stalactites clinging to the ceiling at 130 feet, evidence that the ocean was at one time at least 130 feet lower than it is today.

ELEUTHERA, HARBOUR ISLAND AND CAT ISLAND


Eleuthera/Harbour Island

Devil’s Backbone Wrecks
Skirting Eleuthera’s northern coast, the ragged reef has claimed more ships than history records. The first recorded was the vessel of the Eleutherian Adventurers, religious refugees from England via Bermuda. The reef ripped the hull of their ship in 1649, spilling them into the sea and determining their final destination, thus the name of the island. Today, divers can explore the remains of the Potato and Onion Wreck, The Carnarvon, The Cienfuegos or the Train Wreck, all within feet of each other and probably lying on the remains of others.

Current Cut
This is the fastest underwater ride in The Bahamas. This narrow cut between North Eleuthera and Current Island produces extreme currents during tidal changes that range from five to nine knots depending on the time of year. On a single pass, divers can see Spotted Eagle Rays, sharks, turtles and more

Bat Cave & Bone Sink Hole
Only recently explored, these two inland blue holes offer new adventures for divers An easy walk from a parking lot on North Eleuthera, but with at least one challenging climb down, this is the essence of Bahamian blue hole diving.

The Arch
The Arch is the southern portion of the long reef system bordering Harbour Island’s east (Atlantic) side, called Miller’s Reef. This particular site refers to a 50-foot long tunnel/segmented archway cutting through a spur and groove formation reaching a depth of 114 feet. The majority of the dive is done at a depth of 65 to 85 feet.

The Plateau
A massive reef ranging from 35 to 80 feet, the Plateau is actually three moored sites. The overall profile leans to a spur and groove formation with large overhangs often forming arches/swimthroughs. This interconnected system is host to everything from grouper to tarpon to snapper to tiny tropical gems. Keep an eye out for eagle rays, sharks or schools of Horseeye Jack.

The Pinnacle
This spectacular offshore site is best suited for advanced divers. The mooring sits at 99 feet and drops to a 128 feet. While the no-deco limits are admittedly short, the big black corals, large barrel sponges and the ever-present possibility of spotting big, blue water pelagics makes this a tremendous dive.
Cat Island

Black Coral Wall
A nice deep wall lying on the southeast corner of the island, Black Coral Wall begins between 50 and 80 feet. As the name suggests, divers can expect to see a large number of Black Coral than normal. In December, this site is also host to an annual gathering of mating Tiger Grouper.

Devil’s Point
Starting at only 45 feet and slipping over the edge of the wall to sport diving limits and beyond, impressive hard coral growth is one of the big attractions. Predominate invertebrate growth include large Purple and Yellow Tube Sponges set off by large stands of Deepwater Sea Fans and Wire Corals. Black Grouper are also common.

Tartar Point
Currents can be strong at Tartar Point and, while not always present, should be expected. This offshore pinnacle peaks at 40 feet beneath the surface. Three quarters of a mile across, the edge starts at 60 to 80 feet and then but drops into the abyss. The appeal of this site is the opportunity to see open ocean pelagics swirling around the pinnacle.

Dry Heads
One of the prettiest and healthiest coral reefs in the entire country, Dry Heads is only 23 feet to the bottom. Purple sea fans wave in the air like flags, and a single, pristine Star Coral stretches at least 18 feet off the bottom, protecting and sheltering schools of French Grunts and individual angelfish. Most dive operations don’t go quite this far north on the west coast, but will often accommodate special requests.

THE EXUMAS


Highburn Wall
Highburn Wall is a generic name for a stretch of wall along the northeast side of the northern Exuma Cays. Steeply sloping or vertical and riddled with gullies and swimthroughs, Highburn is very pristine and accessed by day trips from Nassau and by live-aboard.

Thunderball Grotto (Bond Cave)
Made famous in the James Bond film Thunderball, this is where Bond confronts the villains in an undersea cavern. Aside from the movie lore, this dive merits attention on it own. Located in the backwater behind Staniel Cay, it is a hollow dome half filled with water and illuminated by beams of light coming through openings in the ceiling.

Wax Cay Cut
The cuts separating the islands of the Exumas present striking reefs, largely due to the constant flush of water back and forth on the tides. This flow of nutrients and clean water from the banks to the sound and back is a perfect feeding and cleansing environment. Sharks, turtles, grouper, rays and much more simply hang in the cuts awaiting their next meal.

Angelfish Blue Hole
This simple blue hole in Stocking Island, across from Great Exuma, is perfect for novice divers. Ninety feet deep at the back, the accessible portion only extends in a total of 400 feet. The resident Angelfish inspired its moniker. Begining only 25 feet below the surface, the cavern slants back. At 50 feet, divers can turn toward the surface and witness the classic blue hole silhouette.

Crab Cay Crevasse
Sitting just south of Great Exuma, Crab Cay Crevasse appears deceptively simple. A broad, oblong opening leads into a rather complex system. There is a vast expanse of cavern, very wide and comfortable, but divers should be cautious and always keep light within view.

NEW PROVIDENCE


Lost Ocean Blue Hole
Sitting about 10 miles off the east point of New Providence, the Lost Ocean Blue Hole is 10 feet across, almost perfectly circular with isolated coral heads dotting the edge and drops into a classic bell shape. Southern Stingrays lay in the sand surrounding the hole while Caribbean Reef Sharks lurk under the lip. At the bottom, around 200 feet or so, lays a conical debris cone, of sand and organic detritus. This drops to caverns spiraling off the base of the hole, caves which have not been fully explored.

Barracuda Shoals
Just a mile and half from the Lost Ocean Blue lies this triangular reef in 30 feet of water. If you love shallow reefs, long bottom times, lots of fish and healthy growth, Barracuda Shoals is a sure bet. As it sits within the Great Bahama Bank, the visibility is variable.

Fish Hotel
Fish, fish and more fish are the featured attraction of the Fish Hotel. Situated north of Paradise Island, the reef is a simple pockmarked limestone bottom adorned with soft corals and very sparse hard corals. The potholes dip at least a couple of feet into the ocean floor with undercut ledges. In these corners are found eels, crab, lobster and other reclusive creatures. There are also clouds of mixed French and Blue-striped Grunts along with Trumpetfish, various angelfish, Porkfish and other visitors.

The Graveyard (The Shipyard)
Off the north shore of Paradise Island, several vessels have been sunk in the last 10 to 15 years as artificial reefs. The Ana Lise, the Helena C and the Bahama Shell sit in 90 feet of water. Nearby, in only 45 feet of water, the Mahoney rests as a victim of a 1929 hurricane. Broken into two pieces, both are richly encrusted with sponge growth and are well-populated by a wealth of fish.

The Willaurie
Once a Bahamian mailboat, the Willaurie now sits fully intact and upright, its propeller and stern are richly encrusted with sponge and algae growth, tunicates and other invertebrates.

The Bond Wrecks
This name refers to a single group of wrecks sunk for the edification of movie audiences around the world. Due to its consistently clear waters, excellent dive support, talented and knowledgeable local stunt divers and shark wranglers and easy access to stateside support, Nassau has become a preferred underwater studio for Hollywood. This group of wrecks includes the Tears of Allah from Never Say never Again and the Vulcan Bomber from Thunderball. The Vulcan Bomber is has become a sponge and gorgonian encrusted beauty, possibly the finest photo backdrop off New Providence.

The Caribe Breeze
The Caribe Breeze was abandoned dockside in the Nassau harbor. Saved from the scrap yard, she now sits upright in 90 feet of water just south of Stuart Cove’s Dive Bahamas serving as both a playground and a training ground for wreck exploration. Training lines run through this former oil tanker’s hull, winding from one hold to another.

Razorback
Razorback lives up to its name, a sharp-edged reef running along the edge of the wall. The sand flats inside the reef are alive with Southern Stingray, Peacock Flounder, and Garden Eels. Beginning at 65 feet on the sand flats, the reef climbs to a peak of 40 feet before sliding down the slope and over the wall. A nearby site named Playpen features an oval coral patch with tons of small schooling fish. Both sites are easily visited on a single dive.

Southwest Reef
This expansive reef spreads across a huge area south of New Providence. Elkhorn and Star Corals reach close to the surface with sea fans swaying in the gentle current. It reaches to within five feet of the surface and drops to only 40. This has been a favorite area for both snorkelers and divers for decades.

Shark Wall, The Arena, Edward Williams
Shark diving is one of the most popular activities off New Providence and there is no doubt this is the singular most popular shark site. Situated eight miles south of New Providence along the Tongue of the Ocean, it is three sites in one. Shark Wall is the deep wall side. Shark Arena is the primary 40 foot deep shark feeding area. Inside is the wreck of the Edward Williams, a decommissioned Bahamas Defence Force cutter. On each of these adjacent sites, sharks are part and parcel to the experience. The feeding dives are done with divers arrayed in a semi-circle, a feeder in front of them, a safety diver behind the feeder and another behind the guests. The feed is truly extraordinary.

SAN SALVADOR


The SS Frascate
The SS Frascate is one of the favorite shallow wrecks in the Bahamas. The bridge crew of this freighter (originally the Danzig), managed to miss running onto San Salvador’s shore by running aground on the surrounding reef. The wreck was dynamited for water traffic clearance, and is possibly the finest shallow wreck of The Bahamas. Intact boilers, cranes and other decking provide great shelter for marine life.

Telephone Pole
Marked by a telephone pole lying on the white sand bottom, Telephone Pole has a 20-foot-long tunnel cutting through 40-foot bottom through the reef and emerging at 60 feet on the face of the wall. Nassau Grouper on the outside are joined by Blackjacks within the cavern. This is a must dive site for visitors to San Salvador.

Great Cut
Sometime in the dim past, a cataclysmic event caused a 200-foot long portion of this vertical wall to split away. It sits there now, hanging, but joined still at its base and creating a double dropoff. Drop over the first edge of the wall at 35 feet and you find yourself hanging over a 150-foot-deep chasm. The separated edge of the wall peaks at 80 feet and then falls away vertically into the abyss. One of the most impressive San Salvador sites, it features big sponge growth and big and fearless grouper.

Devil’s Claw
Three deep lines gouged straight down the face of the wall give Devil’s Claw its name. A series of three impressive gullies drop from 45 feet on the face of the wall and join at 85 feet. Plate corals coat the wall and black corals sprout off it along the usual profusion of sponges. This is a great area for Hammerhead sightings.

Black Forest
Named for the extensive stands of Black Coral sprouting from it’s convoluted surface, Black Forest is one of San Salvador’s first-rate dive sites. Situated on the southwest corner of the island, Black forest typifies the diving of French Bay. Massive spur and groove systems spill over the edge of the wall. Divers following these systems will find themselves following cavernous grooves leading through the reef, eventually emerging into the cobalt blue of the Bahamian deep.

 

WALKERS CAY AND THE ABACOS


Walker’s Cay


Shark Rodeo
Shark Rodeo is undoubtedly the most unique shark dive in the Bahamas. While nearly every shark dive is done by hand-feeding, Walker’s Cay chooses to use a shark popsicle, made of fish remains frozen in large barrels, then suspended in the water between a buoy and anchor weight. Divers can watch 150 to 200 sharks circling and nuzzling the “chumsicle,” licking and biting and ignoring both divers and snorkelers.

Shark Canyon
This long sloping canyon drops from 65 to 95 feet and has two distinctive features. First, it drops to several tunnels in which sharks of several varieties lay sleeping on the bottom. Second, hundreds to thousands of Bermuda Chub gather seasonally at twilight. As the sun sets, they begin a spiraling, vertigo-inducing dance, swirling in the decreasing light as they prepare to rest.

The Esther K and the Dorothy H
Recently placed on the ocean floor, these two very similar ships are now resting in about 100 feet of water. Both are upright, have been prepared for penetration by divers and are very inviting. They sit in close proximity to each other, but are done as separate dives. Growth is minimal at present but will certainly increase with the passage of time.

Pirate’s Canyon
This immense maze of easily explored caverns is a benchmark Abaco dive. An ancient reef system, extinct within but healthy and thriving on top, it presents a cathedral-like appearance, purple coralline algae coating the interior limestone walls. Beams of light shine through chimneys in the ceiling, dancing within the interior rooms. Divers pass from room to room through these beams of light, exploring corners and parting schooling silversides.

Charlie’s Canyons/Spanish Cannon
A Spanish cannon and anchors strewn across the reef mark this site. Acres of low-lying coral are topped by Elkhorn Coral and broad fish population adds both motion and color to the scene. Shallow depths make it accessible to snorkelers and divers.

Green Turtle Cay to Great Abaco


Coral Caverns/Original Tarpon Dive
These two sites are positioned slightly to the north of Green Turtle Cay. Both are very similar with high, pillar-like and undercut coral heads and grouper, snapper and lobster taking shelter within the reef system. Depths range from seven to 50 feet at Coral Caverns and 30 to 50 feet at the Original Tarpon Dive. As may be expected from the name, Tarpon are common residents of the Original Tarpon dive. Both sites have what may be called pet grouper, Calypso on Coral Caverns and Junkanoo at Tarpon.

San Jacinto
Brought down in a ferocious storm on New Year’s Day in 1865, the San Jacinto was a 234-foot Civil War screw frigate, a square-rigged experimental vessel, and was one of the first ships built to test a new form of propulsion, the steam-powered engine. Her life spent in blockade service during the Civil War, she now lies in 50 feet of water north of Green Turtle Cay off Manjack Cay. Flattened on the bottom by years of sea action and storms, she is coated in fire corals, soft corals and scattered, small hard corals. A resident Green Moray will certainly make an appearance.

Maxi Caves
A long-time favorite among Abaco sites, Maxi Caves is a coral ravine with several small coral grottos. The coral walls surround sand flats with scattered coral pillars, undercut to the point of nearly toppling over under the weight of their coral crowns. No deeper than 40 feet and as shallow as 12 feet, this is a popular site for snorkelers as well as divers.

Sandy Cay
Possibly the most beautiful reef in Abaco, Sandy Cay sweeps from the island it takes its name from down to about 30 feet of water. Elkhorn Corals at the surface spread down to Pillar, Brain, Star and other corals. The surrounding Tiloo Bank is a great place to find tiny sand dwellers.

GRAND BAHAMA


Theo’s Wreck
Grand Bahama’s preeminent shipwreck was placed in 110 feet of water on October 16th, 1982. She was donated to the dive community by Theodopolis Galanoupoulos and is now known as Theo’s Wreck. She is 230 feet long, and sits upright just yards from the drop off. Her anchor chains drape off the bow and stern all dripping with soft corals, hydroids and other colorful invertebrates.
Inside she holds schooling grunts, grouper and a very large Green Moral Eel. Outside, divers can expect to see cuda’s, schooling Horse-eye Jacks and visitors from the deep blue. Southern Stingrays rest in the sand and Yellowhead Jawfish inhabit burrows in the rubble at the stern.

Shark Junction
Shark Junction is one of the best shark dives in the county. A sand flat in 50 feet of water with scattered coral formations, Southern Stingrays hunkered down in the sand under Nassau, Black and Tiger Grouper, huge Mutton and Dog Snapper, Green Morays and all types of other marine life.
The dive itself is conducted with divers arrayed in a semi-circle, to view Caribbean Reef Sharks swooping over their heads to take fish from the feeder’s hands. The feeder and safety divers wear full body chain mail suits.

Dolphin Experience
If your dreams have included dipping and diving in the ocean with a dolphin, this is the place. UNEXSO’s Dolphin Experience was the first operation in the world to allow divers a controlled interaction in the open ocean with bottlenose dolphins. Given a place of safety in Sanctuary Bay, an enclosed bay connected to the ocean by, over a dozen dolphins happily make their home here. The pens enclosing the area are only a few feet above the water. Dolphins can leap at least 10 feet in the air. If they want to leave, they can. They choose to stay.
Encounters include a simple familiarization with dolphins while sitting on the dock, listening to a presentation and petting dolphins as they voluntarily approach. Or visitors can snorkel within the confines of the bay and swim with the dolphins. Finally, two mature dolphins follow a staff boat and a dive vessel out to a 50 foot deep sand and coral flat and interact with divers.

Gold Rock
A relatively shallow reef area lying off Lucayan National Park, Gold Rock doesn’t exceed 45 feet and is a shallow as 28 feet. It is good for both casual and intermediate free-divers and for scuba divers. A spur and groove formation with lines of coral spilling into the Southwest Providence Channel, Gold Rock is rich with soft corals, sea fans and schools of Brown and Blue Chromis. Healthy stands of Pillar corals are also a prominent feature of this tightly packed reef.

Lucayan Caverns
Also known as Ben’s Cave and the Burial Mound Cave, this blue hole was explored by Ben Rose, a local fisherman. Two separate blue hole surface openings are interconnected beneath the crust of the earth. This is a delicate system and is available to visiting divers only by a pre-existing appointment. A maximum of four divers per day is allowed. Four Lucayan Indian skeletons were discovered in 1986 in one of the cave’s chambers. Entry to this chamber is now restricted.

Buddha Heads
The diminutive yet broad coral heads strewn across the sea floor give this site its name. They appear to be similar to the cross-legged, squatting and smiling form of Buddha. Feathered soft corals and sea fans create haloes surroundings these coral heads. You may find Nurse Sharks sleeping within the shelter of the heads, but you may also expect various other reef sharks as well as rays and pleagics.

Lattimor’s Mound
Lattimor’s Mound is one massive coral head, segmented and very interesting in terms of its topography. The marine life is representative of the entire area with small tropicals and many schooling reef fish. If you investigate the rubble area surrounding the mound, you will discover jawfish, both Yellowhead as well as Banded, and many other hardscrabble bottom inhabitants.

Memory Rock
Resting on the west side of the Small Bahama Bank and within the exclusive reach of dive live-aboards, Memory Rock is one of the very best western Bahamian wall sites. Beginning in only 40 to 50 feet, the wall crests and then spills over into the depths of the Florida Straits. Huge sponges, cascading plate corals, wire corals and black corals decorate this vertical wall.

 

LONG ISLAND, CONCEPTION ISLAND AND RUM CAY


Long Island


Barracuda Heads
A long time Long Island favorite, Barracuda Heads is an extensive reef, with over a half dozen massive coral formations at least 50 feet in length, at least half as wide and rising some 25 feet off the sea floor. They are highly convoluted, undercut and segmented coral heads with an amazing assortment of invertebrate growth as well as an astounding variety of fish, lobster and crabs. Black, Tiger, Yellowfin, Red and Nassau Grouper. The namesake Great Barracuda are also prolific.

Sea Garden
This shallow dive and snorkel site is an area of isolated coral heads, each alive with activity. Pillar Corals, blankets of Staghorn Coral and fields of soft corals are surrounded by clouds of tiny schooling tropicals. The biggest draws are the mass of activity and the wide variety of sea life.

Flamingo Tongue
Flamingo Tongue drops to 35 feet with coral heads rising 15 feet off the sea floor. It is named for the large number of Flamingo Tongue snails you will discover on sea fans and soft corals here. Generally low-lying, Flamingo Tongue does feature very large sea fans, some easily six feet in diameter. The reef begins nearly at the shore on the south end of Cape Santa Maria/Calabash Bay, but slopes out to depths of 35 feet.

The Comberbach
A 102-foot British-built freighter, the MV Comberbach, sits at the north end of Calabash bay, commonly called Cape Santa Maria. She was saved from the scrap yard in 1986 and intentionally sunk in 100 feet of water. Sitting upright, her superstructure reaches to within 65 feet of the surface. Tons of fish surround her and inhabit her interior.

Shark Reef
This was very first shark dive in The Bahamas, begun nearly 35 years ago. Today it is done a little differently than most. Divers descend to the 50-foot bottom with a safety diver. After they are positioned, a bucket of chum is thrown into the water. The 15 to 20 sharks in attendance go into a feeding frenzy, ripping into the bucket and devouring the fish. After the frenzy, divers can explore the reef while the sharks circulate.

Dean’s Blue & Big Green Blue Hole
These two blue holes sit to the north and south of Clarence Town, a significant settlement on the southeast side of Long Island. Jim King bottomed out Dean’s Blue Hole in August of 1992 at 650 feet, the deepest recorded in this archipelago. Both sit just inside the shoreline, have distinct connections to the ocean and have a significant amount of sea life within them. Turtles and dolphins have even been seen near the surface. Big Green Hole sits in a shallow lagoon, but can only be penetrated to a depth of 66 feet.

Conception Island


Conception Wall
Conception Island, uninhabited but home to nesting turtles and migrating sea birds, is surrounded by some of the finest walls in both The Bahamas as well as the Caribbean. The south side of the island allows some of the finest views over the wall and down into the depths of the central western Atlantic. The walls are reminiscent of those found off Cozumel, sand chutes spilling over the edge abutted by large coral heads liberally draped in plentiful and colorful sponges. You will certainly spot turtles as well as sharks meandering through the reef. Spotted Eagle Rays and other pelagics are often seen too.

Southampton Reef
Stretching to the northwest of Conception is a lengthy reef line called Southampton Reef. It is named for the resident remains of an English 32-gun frigate that crashed onto the reef in 1812. The cannons were salvaged, but anchors, props, parts of the hull and machinery remain. The reef system is very interesting as well, but recent hurricanes have made navigation difficult and limited access.

Rum Cay


Snow Fields
Named after the snow-white sand surrounding the coral heads, Snow Fields is well-suited to macro photographers, snorkelers and casual divers. Formerly an extensive Elkhorn field, it has taken a real beating in the path of hurricanes over the past decade. It will no doubt regenerate quickly as this is a very fast-growing barrier coral. Fish are still numerous and the invertebrate life excellent.

Chimney
This is a great Rum Cay wall site beginning at the top of the reef at 50 feet. It is named for a tunnel dropping from the sea floor 40 feet through the body of the reef and emerging into a coral grotto at 90 feet. From this grotto, a sand ravine spills over the reef and finally dumps over the edge of the wall at an ancient shoreline at 130 feet. The growth includes very large barrel Sponges and commonly found schools of Horse-eye Jacks.