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  • Diving Excitement in a Tranquil Setting

    CHUB CAY Undersea Adventures

    by Bill Harrigan, Nov. 1997



    Imagine yourself gliding over long ridges of golden Staghorn and Elkhorn Coral, surrounded by hundreds of vivid yellow and blue French Grunts. The sun warms your back and tints the calm, crystal clear water a special shade of blue found only in The Bahamas. A string of eight or nine curious Reef Squid parade by near the surface and a big Nassau Grouper watches you from the bottom. The scene you are imagining actually happened to three of us at a reef near Mama Rhoda Rock recently and Chub Cay Undersea Adventures can make it real for you, too.

    Bill Nelson and Pam Angel own and operate Chub Cay Undersea Adventures with the help of PADI instructor John Whaley. After Bill's career in blacksmithing, Bill and Pam are doing what they enjoy most; taking friends diving. His professional background ensures things are done right at Chub Cay and his easygoing manner makes a dive trip with him a thoroughly enjoyable experience. Bill has set up the Chub Cay Undersea Adventures dive boat carefully, and his efforts pay off in convenience. The 28 foot long Privateer has tanks along the gunnels and padded seating in the center. Two dive ladders make boarding easy and there are several areas for dry storage of items such as clothes and glasses. Other amenities include a warm, freshwater shower, an ice chest with sodas and water and rinse buckets for cameras. High quality rental gear is also available, including new Sherwood regulators and BCs.

    Chub Cay Diving: Chub Cay waters feature the same warmth and clarity that please divers all over The Bahamas. Visibility often breaks the 100 foot mark and the temperature runs between 86F in the summer and 76F in the winter. Bill has about 20 sites marked out within a two mile radius of the marina, with depths ranging from 5 to 130 feet. In addition to the variety of boat dives, Chub Cay offers unlimited shore diving; a rarity in The Bahamas. The entry point is only a short walk from the dive center and electric carts are available to transport the gear. A concrete pad and steps are being installed to provide convenient entry and exit over the narrow strip of rugged ironshore. Several thickets of large, healthy Elkhorn Corals are close to shore and an extensive reef is about 150 yards offshore. This is a great spot with lots of fish, with depths suitable for either diving or snorkeling.

    The Chub Cay Wall is a three stage dive, starting with a low profile spur and groove reef that runs gradually from 35 to around 60 feet. From that point the slope steepens considerably, flattening out again in a terrace at 90 feet. The wall gets really serious at the 90 foot lip, dropping precipitously into a deep cobalt blue. The shallowest part has the highest concentration of hard corals and sand channels where Nurse Sharks, Queen Triggerfish and Queen Angelfish are common. The middle section, dominated by mushroom-shaped coral heads and big sponges, seems to attract the largest schools of fish such as Schoolmasters, Creole Wrasse and Bar Jacks. The more exotic scenery is found on the deep vertical wall. This is where you may see Caribbean Reef Sharks or Spotted Eagle Rays cruising past tall, bushy colonies of Black Coral.

    Shutterbug Wall slopes moderately from 40 to 60 feet, then drops at a much steeper slope to about 100 feet before leveling off in a sandy plain. The steeper part is covered with large mounds of Star Coral, with many tube sponges and soft corals. Spiny Lobsters, Green Morays and Nurse Sharks are often found in the crevices between the coral heads.

    The remains of several aircraft and vehicles are now coral and sponge covered marine life habitats in Little Truk Lagoon. This dive is generally a shallow one, although you can easily wander from the 20 foot depth where the dive starts to an area about 60 feet deep. Schools of Horse-eye Jacks and Yellow Goatfish are common here, along with a large population of Stoplight Parrotfish, Nassau Groupers, Tiger Groupers and Southern Stingrays.

    Chub Cay Club: This self-sufficient, private resort and marina has two of nearly everything: two long crescent beaches, two pools, two tennis courts and two bars. A group of two and three bedroom villas lines the beach on one side of the marina. The villas have full kitchens, spacious living rooms, air-conditioning and decks facing the beach. Staying in one is like owning your own house on your own private island, complete with spectacular sunsets. There are also two sections of newly renovated motel-style rooms on the beach and clustered around the pool on the other side of the marina.

    Harbor House is the only restaurant but the food is exceptional and the service is prompt and gracious. The menu features a variety of dishes, including local seafood. It will take at least a week just to try everything once.

    For more information, contact Neal Watson's Undersea Adventures toll free from the U.S. and Canada at (800) 327-8150. From other locations the number to call is (954) 462-3400; fax (954) 462-4100. The mailing address is P.O. Box 21766, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida 33335 and the e-mail address is nealwatson@aol. com. More information about Chub Cay Undersea Adventures can also be found on the Internet at nealwatson.com/ chub.htm.