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best place to snorkel in bahamas

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Jan 19th, 2002, 04:24 PM
  #1
Gina
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best place to snorkel in bahamas

Hi. Where, in your opinion, is the best place to snorkel in the Bahamas? Also -- are there accomodations w/in walking distance to this spot?
 
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Jan 19th, 2002, 09:49 PM
  #2
Robert
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There are so many great spots all through the Bahamas Archipelago. Great times renting a boat on Exuma and snorkeling the patch reefs around elizabeth cay, off of Georgetown, Exuma. The Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park in northern Exuma is great, and unspoiled. There is also Great Guana Cay off of Abaco, Bahamas too. You can rent a Boston Whaler and get to know the reefs in the Sea of Abaco. there are also great snorkeling spots around Nassau. Maybe if you specify where in the Bahamas you'd like to go, I could help you further. Robert
 
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Jan 21st, 2002, 08:17 AM
  #3
Gina
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Thanks for your reply Robert. I'm really not sure where in the Bahamas I'd like to go. I am planning a trip with my family sometime this year and snorkeling is a big part of our vacation. Ideally, I'd like for us to stay at a vacation home or condo where we could walk to a good snorkeling site right off the beach . . .
That probably doesn't help much . . but I'm really open to any suggestions.
-Gina
 
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Jan 21st, 2002, 03:09 PM
  #4
joan
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Gina, we rented homes on Eleuthera twice. Both homes were in the Palmetto Point area and had great snorkelling right off the beach, in front of the house. We saw turtles and lots of fish. Very deserted though! You can find rental homes on vacationspot.com and if you do a search on google for eleuthera villas, you'll find more websites. Have fun!
 
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Jan 22nd, 2002, 09:13 AM
  #5
Gina
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Joan . . do the homes you stayed at have websites?
 
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Jan 22nd, 2002, 01:46 PM
  #6
joan
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Yes, Gina: Go to vacationspot.com and type in "calypso" and you may see several calypso's, but the one on Eleuthera is the one where we stayed. Very inexpensive, and it came with two mountain bikes and a two-man kayak. We stayed in the oceanfront cottage (actually across the sand track from the beach). Another home, we shared with another couple, was unique: it had an actual working lighthouse atop the roof! You can see it at:
pinksandbeach.net
This home had better amenities, just depends on your budget, because both were on a fabulous beach, almost completely deserted.
 
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Feb 1st, 2002, 04:48 PM
  #7
frankie
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Robert, thought I just posted my question but can't find it!! Oh, well, here goes...we are staying at Cable Beach at all inclusive and wonder about booking a snorkel trip. We will have non motorized sports at the resort but wonder if it's better/worth it to go to other spots. Our sons, ages 9 & 11 will be with us too. I have seen your posts before, are you from the Bahamas? Any tips would be great! Thanks!
 
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Feb 1st, 2002, 07:52 PM
  #8
Robert
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Frankie; No, I don't have Bahamian citizenship, but have spent much time in the Bahamas since 70's helping the endangered Bahama Parrot on Abaco, and doing reef surveys on Exuma, New Providence, San Sal, Exuma and Eleuthera. Buy good quality snorkeling equipment in the states and take it with you. This past Xmas I did reef fish surveys off the beaches from Arawak Cay to Love Beach off the Traveler's Inn and Pub on West Bay Street. Saw some unexpected surprises. Try Bahama Divers or Stuart's Cove on south ocean, to take your kids on safe snorkeling excursions. If you want more, I can tell you great shallow snorkeling reefs to try off New Providence. Robert
 
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Feb 2nd, 2002, 06:14 AM
  #9
frankie
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Robert, thanks for the reply! Why should we buy snorkeling equip. and bring it ourselves? Is the equip. at these places not good/clean? We aren't sure about spending too much on equip. we may not use often. We aren't experienced by any means! We have a few sports shops around (30/60 miles) and have seen some equip. at stores like Target. What about that equip.? But it's something to think about if we can avoid 'something'! I'd love to hear about New Providence!!! Thank you sooo much for all your help!!! It's our first trip to the Bahamas and I'm a bit worried. But that's just me I guess!!!
 
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Feb 2nd, 2002, 06:35 AM
  #10
Robert
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Frankie; You'll enjoy Cable Beach with the kids. The waters vary from light blue to turqoise and emerald green as the sun moves across the sky. The waters off Cable Beach are crystal clear, which you will witness as you fly in. You don't have to spend lots on snorkeling equipment; the hotel I'm sure will rent good equipment, but probably not REAL good quality. Just make sure the mask fits on tightly and is comfortable, and has a nice view through it. You will see many reef critters if you and your kids snorkel in the waters off Cable Beach. Not much to fear in and out of the water...more out of the water. Nassau is not real safe to walk around at nighttime, unless many tourists are on the streets. The vast majoity of Bahamians are naturally friendly, and say "Hi" to any one who boards a jitney, which is the place way to go into and out of downtown Nassau from Cable Beach. Do not take any taxi without first getting the price, since the Bahamas has problems with Haitian immigrants, who start their own questionable cab service. You could get ripped off. I took the jitneys dozens of times this past xmas, and they always picked up passengers from the hotels along Cable Beach. Very friendly local people on board; I had 10 Bahamian passengers say "Hi" to me when I boarded! The jitney drivers play their own home recorded tapes, loudly, and will get to know you and your family the more you board a jitney. Robert
 
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Feb 2nd, 2002, 01:57 PM
  #11
tweedy
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Gina, I would recommend going to Harbour Island, which is easy to get to from Nassau for your vacation. It is VERY safe for the kids, small island and beautiful.

You can snorkle right off the beach or take a snorkle with the two dive shops on island or even more fun is a trip to a deserted island for a day and picnic. You can arrange that right at the dock and have one of the water taxis take you out and pick you up at the end of the day (bring LOTS of sunblock).

There are several nice places to stay (Coral Sands, Romora Bay) and your kids will get to meet a few other kids in their age range.

Several nice restaurants and take-a-ways all within walking distance. The island is so small you can walk downtown within 10 minutes.

There is even a cafe where you can check your email while you are away and have a great breakfast/lunch and try the coconut bread.

You might find the website www.briland.com helpful and you can ask questions and see pictures of the 3 mile pink sand beach. A slice of heaven. I have been going there since 1986 and head bach whenever I can.

You can fly directly into Nassau and then take Bahamas Air over to N. Eleuthera Airport and it's a short taxi then water taxi over to the island. The other option is to take the Bahamas Fast Ferry over from Nassau. Either way it's about $90rtpp (discount I think for kids) www.bahamasfastferries.com

Hope this helps, and let me know if you need any other info on the Bahamas.

tweedy
 
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Feb 2nd, 2002, 02:11 PM
  #12
tweedy
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Gina, I forgot to mention the snorkle gear. Robert is right buy it at home and take it with you. Alot of dive shops have older used gear, or they charge $20 a day for usage.

Once your kids get in the water with the mask and snorkle you will have a hard time getting them out of the water, and bringing your own gear you can snorkle anywhere you want.

Decent snorkle mask, snorkle, fins will cost for the kids around $15 a bit more for adults depending on the quality, but again really worth it to have any you know it fits right.

Also if this is the first snorkle trip, here is what I have learned, wear a tee shirt and use sunblock on the back of the legs and arms and neck. A sunburn is no fun on vacation and the water will make the suns rays stronger. (Ok I'll admit it I learned this one the hard way, lol)

Have a great trip.

tweedy
 
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Feb 2nd, 2002, 05:44 PM
  #13
Robert
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Gina; I met a man and his friend at the Orange Hill Inn on West Bay Street outside of Nassau over Xmas, while I was doing REEF surveys. He is a life long resident of Eleuthera and a retired Colonel. He knows Asa Bethel, who has never left Eleuthera and is still kicking and owns and manages condos and villas on Eleuthera. Asa set my wife and I up with a beautiful villa back in the late 80ps. We stumbled into Robert Samia during dinner at the OHI. We had a great talk and he gave me his email address and wouldn't mind me sharing it with you. He's a good friend of the owner of OHI and they visit each other frequently between New Providence and Eleuthera. Email him at: [email protected]
His name is Robert K. Samia, and definately will be able to help you out, because he was describing places on Eleuthera where the beaches are right offshore, and have nice reefs. He even gave me his telephone number, but I don't want to give that over the board, for obvious reasons. Let me know if you get a hold of Robert Samia. Robert
 
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Feb 2nd, 2002, 05:49 PM
  #14
Robert
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OOPS! Sorry, his email is: [email protected]

Forgot the "I"...Robert
 
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Feb 6th, 2002, 06:56 AM
  #15
Gina
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Thanks for all the replies!!! If my family and I go to the Bahamas, it looks like we're leaning toward Eleuthera. Specifically, there are two vacation homes that we are looking into --> Endless Summer or Heron Hill. Looks like there might be snorkeling right off shore in front of these homes. Has anyone stayed at either of these villas?
Robert, I haven't contacted the person you listed . . but I will be sure to do that when I have some time . . .
Again, thanks so much for all the help!
-Gina
 
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Feb 6th, 2002, 07:24 AM
  #16
tweedy
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Gina, there isn't much to do on Eleuthera which has been perfect for me a couple of time when I rented a house there. The downside is you have to have a car and there are very few places to eat and you have to travel quite a ways to get anywhere. The island is 110 miles long and there is only 1 main road going the length of the island.

There is one main food store in Govenours Harbour and one at Palmetto Point, so depending on where you are staying, stock up on supplies on your way.

For a nice dinner out, there is Cigatoo Inn, Rainbow Inn, Unique Village, The Cove, Mate&Jenny's (great conch pizza there)

For snorkle trips, not sure you can arrange that on island, you would be pretty much on your own. I had heard there was a dive shop south of Govenours Harbour, but not sure of the name.

Tarpun Bay might be a fun day trip, about an hour or so south of GH, becoming sort of an artist colony. 1 well known artists there, (used to be 2) Lord McMillian Hughes passed away recently, but his "castle" is there as you come into the settlement. The other artist is Mal Flanders, his art is very bahamian, you might want to bring a piece home with you.

Another day trip might be fun to Harbour Island or Spanish Wells, but the ferries over and back stop at sunset.

Hope this helps have a great time, you will enjoy that area of the Bahamas, very beautiful, friendly people and the water is amazing.
 
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Feb 6th, 2002, 09:18 AM
  #17
Robert
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Gina; Yes, contact the man on Eleuthera about anything; he's a life-long resident. Most of the dives and snorkel areas served by dive ops are in the norhtern section. Don't do Current Cut, the current is too swift. By all means, if you rent a car and travel norhtward, definately snorkel the Devil's Backbone wrecks, which begin at only 6 feet. Among various ships sunk in this area, the coral heads almost reach to the serfuce in several areas, and reef fish life abounds. You may want to visit Harbor Island, too, because Pink House Reef lies just offshore. If you need more info on these two sites, I'll tell you more. Of course, even diving from the beach and not with a rented boat or dive op is plenty of fun. Bring along a fish ID book. Robert
 
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Feb 10th, 2002, 06:40 AM
  #18
Gina
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HI! I think we've narrowed it down to Heron Hill or Balara Manor. . but I'm fearful that the off-shore snorkeling right in front of these homes is not very good.
Robert - I contacted the person you asked me to but didn't get much help.
We're pretty set on our accomodations but I guess I just need my fears calmed that the off-shore snorkeling/beaches will be o.k.
Any help?
Again, thanks for all of your great replies thus far.
 
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Feb 10th, 2002, 01:46 PM
  #19
tweedy
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First when are you planning on going to Eleuthera and what airport are you flying into.

The cab drivers at the airports have a wealth of knowledge of the island and can certainly help. Ask for information on beaches to go to, and there are some beautiful stretches on the leeward side of the island where the snorkling will be very good.

What you might do is find a water taxi to take you out on a snorkle trip for a day or try one of the dive shops in the area who can also teach your kids how to snorkle, though it is pretty easy to learn, (try it out in the bathtub at home), and go to some of the spots that are well known, like a train wreck (yup, a civil war train, bought by a weatlthy plantation owner in Cuba. The train was on a barge heading to Cuba and sunk in a bad storm just off Eleuthera, 100 years later makes for an amazing dive site.

Valentine's Dive shop on Harbour Island does snorkle and dive trips daily to several locations, and there are alot of wrecks in the area and an area called the "Sea Garden".

I don't know the specific homes you are renting, but plan on getting a car to get around the island $60 a day.

Your family will have a wonderful time. Enjoy.

tweedy
 
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Feb 10th, 2002, 06:53 PM
  #20
Robert
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Gina; sorry the contact on Eleuthera wasn't much help. I couldn't tell you how the snorkeling is off the beaches where you're staying, but they may be quite nice. It would be best to rent a car, and simply ask the local people where the best beaches to snorkel are. That's what we did after asking Asa Bethel, the manager of the place we stayed. He recommended Ten Bay Beach and showed us on our map how to get there. It was fabulous! Purchase a nice map of Eleuthera at Borders Books or Barnes & Nobles and study it before you go down there. A rental car plus a nice map, and a few questions once there will get you what you want. People are friendly on Eleuthera. You will find the Atlantic Ocean on the east coast is much rougher wave-wise than the calmer Caribbean west coast. When you drive over the Glass Bridge, you'll notice the darker blue Atlantic on your left(if heading south) and the lime-green, turquoise and calmer Caribbean waters on your right. Most beautifuly beaches line the west coast of Eleuthera(not all, though). Hopefully, your place will be on the west coast. If not, and if the waves are too large on the side your on, a rental car will get you to some nice beaches for the kids. Robert
 
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