Snorkeling and Scuba Diving in The Bahamas
The Bahamas has a spectacular underwater world, which is a paradise for scuba diving and snorkeling all year around.
The Bahamian waters offer a wide array of diving experiences: sunken Spanish Galleons, blue holes, caves and forest like coral reefs with lot's of exotic and colorful marine life. Bahamas offers also very exciting diving and snorkeling experiences like swim and feed reef sharks or diving with dolphins.
Diving and snorkeling is a fantastic experience for everyone who enjoys the warm and crystal clear water around the Bahamian islands. It is excellent for beginners and also for advanced divers. In fact, the Bahamian waters offers one of the best diving experience in the world.
Many skilled and save dive operators provide lessons for the beginners who just want to dive or snorkel a bit during the vacation all the way through advanced specialty courses for experienced and adventurous divers.
You can go diving or snorkeling by yourself and charter a private boat or you can use the vast variety of organized tours which are operated by the hotels or independent tour operators. The advantage of a tour is that the tour operators guide you to the best spots but as a disadvantage you need to share your experience with many fellow tourists.
You can book fantastic Snorkeling & Diving Tours in Nassau and Freeport here.
The Best Diving Spots in The Bahamas
There are several excellent diving spots in the waters around Nassau.
The Lost Ocean Hole, east of Nassau, is difficult to find. The rim around the 80-foot opening is dotted with coral heads full of small fish and sometimes nurse sharks.
The Rose Island Reefs are a series of shallow reefs along Rose Island, a couple of miles off Nassau. The reef is already showing the effects of heavy traffic but has still plenty of tropical fish and a ship wreck.
Gambier Deep Reef, off Gambier Village, about 15 miles west of Cable Beach is another popular dive and snorkeling site close to the shores of Nassau. A few miles further on the northwestern shore is Sea Gardens, off Love Beach.
The best diving spots in Nassau is the Lyford Cay drop-off (west of Nassau). It is a cliff that plummets from a 40 foot plateau almost straight into the deep Tongue of the Ocean. The wall has endless varieties of sponge, coral and all kinds of fish. The south-side reefs are great for snorkelers and divers because of the reef's shallowness.
In Grand Bahama, there is an extensive reef system along Little Bahama Bank's edge; sea gardens, caves, and colorful reef rim the bank all the way from West End to Freeport-Lucaya and beyond. The variety of dive sites suits everyone from the novice to the advanced diver. The island is home to UNEXSO, considered one of the finest diving schools and marine research facilities in the world.
Grand Bahama Island offers dive sites from 10 to 100-plus feet deep. The best include Ben's Blue Hole, a horseshoe-shaped ledge overlooking a blue hole; Pygmy Caves, for moderately experienced divers, provides a formation of overgrown ledges that cut into the reef. Sea Hunt site is a shallow dive and is named for the Sea Hunt television show, portions were filmed there. The best known site is perhaps Shark Junction, where 4-6 foot long reef sharks hang out, along with moray eels, stingrays, nurse sharks, and grouper. UNEXSO provides orientation and a shark feeding with divers here. Spid City dive site has an aircraft wreck, dramatic coral formations, blue parrot fish and occasional shark. For diver with some experience, Theo's wreck, a 226 foot cement hauler, which was sunk in 1982 in 100 feet of water, is an ideal spot.
Andros probably has the largest number of dive sites in the Bahamas. With the third-largest reef in the world, the islands offers about 100 miles of drop-off diving into the Tongue of the Ocean. Uncounted number of blue holes are forming in the sea. In same places, these constitute vast submarine networks that can extend more than 200 feet down into the coral. Some of the holes have vast cathedral-like interior chambers with stalactites and stalagmites.
The dramatic Fresh Creek site provides an insight into the complex Andros cave system, several blue holes can be found at Mastic Point and South Bight. Undersea adventurers also have the opportunity to investigate wrecks such as the Potomac which sunk in the waters off Nicholl's Town as well as the Barge Wreck in the waters of Fresh Creek. The ship was sunk in 1963 to create an artificial reef. The split-level Over the Wall dive at Fresh Creek takes novices to the 80-foot ledge and experienced divers to a pre-Ice Age beach at 185 feet. The wall is covered with black coral and all kinds of tube sponges.
With clear, shallow waters and a series of colorful coral reefs extending for miles, the Abacos provide both the novice and the experienced underwater explorer plenty of visual simulation. The reefs, often within swimming distance of shore, are teeming with triggerfish, grouper, parrot fish, green moray eels, angelfish, jacks, damselfish, sergeant majors, stingrays, sea turtles, dolphins and even reef or nurse sharks.
Good places to start your own diving expedition include the reefs near Guana Cay, Fowl Cay National Reserve between Man-O-War and Scotland cays, Pelican Cay National Park, just south of Marsh Harbor; and the reefs around Green Turtle Cay. The sheer number of good sites and relatively low visitor traffic translate to a fantastic diving experience in the Abacos.
In the Exumas, the 176-square-mile Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park is a favorite of divers and snorkelers attracted by rare pillar coral and huge schools of multicolor fish, and sightseers who just want to enjoy the isolated and pristine ecosystem that flourishes here under the watchful eye of park rangers. Stretching some 22 miles between Compass Cay and Norman´s Cay along the string of islands at the far northern end of the Exumas. The park is reachable only by seaplane or boat. The park appeals to divers, who appreciate the vast underwater world of limestone, reefs, drop-offs, blue holes of freshwater springs, caves and a multitude of exotic marine life, including one of the Bahamas' most impressive stands of rare pillar coral.
Close to Staniel Cay is one of the Bahamas' most unforgettable attractions: Thunderball Grotto, a beautiful marine cave that snorkelers (at low tide) and experienced scuba divers can explore. The cave is best known from two James Bonds movies.
In Georgetown, popular dive sites include the Angel Fish Blue Hole filled with angelfish, spotted rays, snapper and the occasional reef shark. Another interesting site for the experienced diver is the Stocking Island Mystery Cave, off Georgetown.
Eleuthera has a few interesting dive and snorkeling sites. One is called the Current Cut, a narrow passage between North Eleuthera and Current island, which is loaded
with marine life an provides a roller-coaster ride on the currents. Devil's
Backbone in North Eleuthera, offers a tricky reef area with many dive sites and
a large number of wrecks.
Long Island is known for its suberb dive sites since many years. Conception Island Wall is an excellent wall dive, with hard and soft coral, plus interesting sponge formations. Dean's Blue Hole is lauded by locals as one of the world's deepest ocean holes. It's surrounded by a powder-beach cove. Shark Reef is the site of the Bahamas' first shark dive.
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