To the east of the Exuma Sound, Long Island stretches on a mostly north-south axis for over 80 miles, seldom reaching more than one to two miles in width. It holds a community of small towns, some isolated homes and a few tropical resorts. Many of the straw goods available around the Bahamas originate on Long Island, where the art of plaiting straw has been passed down to generation after generation of young girls.

Much of the diving available off Long Island’s shores comes in the form of shallow, gently sloping reefs. The snorkeling reefs, which lie in five to 30 feet of water, are generally very healthy.

Deeper reefs more suitable for diving, 20 to 60 feet deep and beyond are also in great shape and offer vistas of large sea fans and black corals. There is wreck diving too. The Comberbach, which lies at 100 feet, is found off the island’s north end. Long Island is also the birthplace of Bahamian shark diving. Begun more than 35 years ago, the shark dive remains one of the island’s most popular underwater attractions.

Fourteen miles to the northeast of Long Island is Conception Island, an uninhabited Bahamas National Trust site. Its beaches are a popular nesting site for turtles and the island is a stopover for migrating seabirds. Conception Island also has precipitous wall dives and a host of marine life to rival anything seen in the Caribbean.

Rum Cay, about equidistant to the east, has equally impressive underwater features, but is rarely visited by boats departing from Long Island. About the only option for diving this area is from a live-aboard.