Relax and Enjoy
the Friendly Service
by Bill Harrigan
Bahama Divers makes it easy to take a fun vacation with family or friends and still do some quality diving. To start with, the location couldn't be more convenient. It is in Nassau, right across from Paradise Island, in the heart of Bahamas vacationland. Its free van service picks you up at your hotel and delivers you back again, a hassle-free arrangement whether you are staying on Cable Beach, Nassau or Paradise Island.
Personal service is another plus at Bahama Divers. The staff knows you're here to vacation, not take a test. You don't have to worry about looking like a klutz while you fumble with your regulator and BC or be anxious about feeling rusty when you hit the water for the first time in two or three years. The eight instructors at Bahama Divers know many of their clients are casual divers who may need a bit more help than those who get more practice, so they do all the work and keep a friendly eye on your safety.
The Bahama Divers shop is usually a surprise to first time customers. Owners Leroy Lowe and William Whiteland have been in the business since 1964 and they know how things should be done. Their place is spacious, tastefully organized and filled with anything you might need in the way of dive gear. In addition to being a PADI Five Star dive operation, Bahama Divers is also the exclusive distributor for Bahama Pro equipment and carries a full line of Sherwood and Dacor products. A professional repair facility is also in the shop, in case you split a hose or crack a fitting. A complete selection of rental equipment is available at Bahama Divers, so you could show up with just your C-card and be ready to dive in a matter of minutes.
The two 42 foot dive boats and the 50 foot snorkel boat are outfitted with marine heads, freshwater showers and all the necessary emergency gear.
The most popular dive at Bahama Divers has to be the fabulous Lost Blue Hole. In the shallow water off the east end of New Providence Island, the blue hole is a unique circular wall dive. The sandy rim is only 35 feet deep and the hole itself drops straight down to depths well below sport scuba limits. There are several interesting caverns in the side of the wall and in late summer there are usually 20 or more sharks circling around inside. At the end of the dive, Southern Stingrays provide another treat for divers, apparently attracted to the rim by the bubbles percolating up from inside.
The De La Salle is a large island freighter that has been on the bottom for about a decade. The ship sits upright in 65 feet of water, surrounded by schools of Bermuda Chub and Schoolmasters. The recesses of the intact superstructure have also become home to some large Nassau Groupers, a Green Moray and at least one Hawksbill Turtle.
What else could you call a site that boasts three sunken ships than the Shipyard? Three large steel vessels lie on a gently sloping sand plain here, one nearly upside down and two on their sides. Depths at this site range from about 50 to 90 feet. Although the ships are close enough together to see on a single dive, several dives will be necessary to do the Shipyard real justice. The unusual arrangement of the ships provides many different areas to explore and each ship has its own attractions.
One of the most popular shallow dives in the area is Fish Hotel, a roughly circular reef that is home to thousands of schooling Bluestriped Grunts and Yellow Goatfish. If you've seen photographs of divers surrounded by brilliantly colored tropical fish and wanted to do that, too, this is the place to come. Even if you make your approach with the subtlety of a runaway freight train, these fish will casually part ranks just enough to let you through. There are lots of other fish on the reef besides grunts and goatfish. Without looking too hard I saw about 25 species, including Blackbar Soldierfish, Rock Beauties, Nassau and Tiger Groupers, Blue Tangs, Spotted Morays and Horse-eye Jacks. The reef is liberally covered with sea plumes, sea rods and seafans but also has some small hard corals such as Convoluted Brain and Starlet Corals. Depths of 15 to 35 feet mean you have plenty of bottom time to wander around the circumference and enjoy the sights.
Some of the other Bahama Divers sites include Barracuda Shoals, which is made up of three shallow reefs; the Mahoney Wreck, sunk in the 1800s; and Trinity Caves, where three openings provide access to long caverns in 45 feet of water.
Direct flights are available from many major cities to Nassau, as well as direct to Paradise Island from Ft. Lauderdale. Either a passport or a certified birth certificate can be used to enter The Bahamas. U.S. dollars are accepted interchangeably with Bahamian dollars and the electrical standard is also the same as in the United States.
Dive packages are available with several hotels in the area, including the luxurious Comfort Suites on Paradise Island. A stay at the Comfort Suites also gives you free access to the amenities at Atlantis, such as the walk-beneath aquarium with sharks and turtles.
For more information, contact Bahama Divers in the U.S. at (800) 398-DIVE. From other locations, call (954) 351-8047 or fax (954) 351-9740. The Bahama Divers e-mail address is email@example.com.