You cannot own scuba gear and not want to visit the Bahamas scuba diving. The islands of The Bahamas offer a range of dive experiences like no other place you can think of on earth.
You can choose to explore sunken Spanish galleons, dive inland blue holes, ocean caves and forest-like coral reefs, all teeming with a myriad of marine life. Nowhere else can you swim with and feed reef sharks, and so seriously is Bahamas scuba diving taken by the locals that there is a national Diving Association which has 36 members offering 25 official dive sites, meaning your Bahamas scuba diving vacation will be a well-organized trip of a lifetime. You can also find a number of all-inclusive Bahamas resorts to help you get the most out of your vacation budget. So plan your Bahamas scuba diving adventure today!
Why Bahamas scuba diving is the ultimate
The Bahamas is an archipelago of 700 islands covering 100,000 square miles, and was originally called “baja mar” by the Spanish explorers, referring to the shallow sea surrounding them. In fact, Bahamas scuba diving aficionados revel in the fact that the average depth along the shorelines is just 20 feet, thanks to the sunken plateau that the islands are formed from.
Further out, a deep underwater trench called the Tongue of the Ocean cuts through the plateau, and depths drop vertically from 150 feet to many thousands of feet. As for marine life, the Gulf Stream coursing between Florida and the Bahamas ensures that the Bahamas scuba diving experience is a colourful one.
Everything has conspired to produce a fantastically vibrant reef system, and five percent of the Earth’s coral is found in the Bahamas, which is even more than Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. With visibility regularly over 200 feet, it’s not surprising that the Bahamians consider their islands to be the Dive Capital of the World.
Anyone considering a Bahamas scuba diving vacation will be truly spoilt for choice. There are dive charter operators on all of the main islands, offering certification and equipment rentals and all manner of diving adventures. Charters exist for snorkelers, novice through to expert scuba divers, cave and wreck dives, Blue Hole dives, and the opportunity to swim with dolphins and sharks. Most charters are able to provide the whole diving package, including hotel and transport, and some offer “live aboard” diving boats so your Bahamas scuba diving experience is more concentrated than ever.
New Providence Island and Grand Bahama Island are the busiest and most populated of the islands, and cruise ships sailing out of Miami, Florida, will stop at Nassau on New Providence or Freeport on Grand Bahama.
However, some of the best of the Bahamas scuba diving sites are on the Out Islands, such as Andros, Abacos, Long Island, the Biminis, Acklins/Crooked Island, Eleuthera, the Exumas, Cat Island, Berry Islands, San Salvador, Inagua, and Mayaguana.
New Providence Island
There have been numerous wrecks off Nassau in the past 300 years, and other underwater attractions include expanses of elkhorn coral and dozens of reefs teeming with marine life. Those who know Bahamas scuba diving know that the most spectacular of New Providence dive sites is the Shark Wall, which is 10 miles off its southwest coast. There you will find the most amazing sea life and coral formations, and, as the name suggests, you can even swim with sharks.
Grand Bahama Island
This island is encircled by reefs, therefore this is a perfect spot for the Bahamas scuba diving enthusiast. Reefs and other dives sites include the Wall, the Caves, Treasure Reef, Spit City, Ben Blue Hole, and the Rose. World-class dive operator, UNEXSO (the Underwater Explorer Society) is based on Grand Bahama.
Andros is not just a Bahamas scuba diving top spot; it is one of the world’s largest and most famous destinations for scuba divers, with its barrier reef filled with abundant marine life. This is where the Tongue of the Ocean cuts its way through, causing the reef to drop 6,000 feet. You can also explore blue holes, which were once subterranean caves before their ceilings collapsed to expose deep and crystal clear pools.
You may also want to add Bimini to your Bahamas scuba diving schedule, as its three miles of offshore reefs hold millions of spectacular fish. This is where it is believed you can view a part of the lost continent of Atlantis, and rather less romantically the wreck of the Sapona, a motorized yacht owned by Henry Ford that sank in 1929.
Harbour Island (Eleuthera)
A definite stopover in your Bahamas scuba diving vacation should be Harbour Island, where you can not only dive amongst amazing coral and fish, but you can also find yourself carried along for ten minutes by a fast-flowing underwater current in a unique gully known as the Current Cut. Adding to your Bahamas scuba diving experience here are four wrecked ships nearby, at depths of less than 39 feet, including a barge that was transporting a steam locomotive engine back in 1865, supposedly sold by the American Confederacy to raise cash.
Long Island (The Southern Bahamas)
Although snorkeling is a popular activity around the island, experienced divers can make their Bahamas scuba diving vacation utterly unforgettable by going further offshore to cages where they can feed mako, bull, and reef sharks. You may also want to visit the Arawak, a blue hole of such depth it is known as a “green hole”.
Lucayan National Park
This is a park on Grand Bahama Island where you can enjoy a completely different Bahamas scuba diving experience thanks to a 6 mile-long underground freshwater cave system – the longest in the world.
Pelican Cays Land and Sea Park
A highlight for scuba divers on Great Abaco Island where they can explore undersea caves, coral reefs, and abundant plant and marine life.
Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park
A unique draw on the Bahamas scuba diving map is a 22 mile-long, 8 mile-wide natural preserve of sea gardens with spectacular reefs, flora, and fauna. Inaugurated in 1958 and located 40 miles southeast of Nassau and only accessible by boat, scuba divers have 175 square miles to explore, and there are no other parks like this anywhere else in the world.