Diving in the Bahamas

Old Feb 2nd, 2007, 03:49 PM
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Diving in the Bahamas

We are looking for some good locations for diving and suggestions regarding the time of year to go. Our 17 year old daughter was just certified in Roatan and we enjoy snorkeling in a low key setting--quiet and comfortable. Any thoughts?
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Old Feb 2nd, 2007, 04:28 PM
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Hi; For the past 20 years, I've done reef fish surveys off the cays of Abaco, Bimini, Eleuthera, New Providence, Exuma, and San Salvador. Each island has nice dive spots, plus I have a few "Best-Kept" secrets of diving sites from shore on these islands. I found them by accident. The northern and middle Bahamas can be cool through December-Febuary, and the waters can be choppy through March. I used a wetsuit when snorkeling in December, but it was OK. Getting out of the water was a little chilly due to the wind in 60+ degree weather around New Providence. You may want to decide if you want to go to an outer island or the New Providence route. Then, I could really give you some specifics- great sites to visit, and add a couple "Best Kept" secrets. Robert59
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Old Feb 2nd, 2007, 04:42 PM
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Robert59, how great to hear from you! I think you have helped us in the past. We are interested in an outer island. We have been to Elbow Cay before. We are thinking about Eleuthera or Exuma, but open to all suggestions and secrets. Looking for a good place to stay, possibly an upscale cottage or resort. Thanks!
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Old Feb 3rd, 2007, 06:59 AM
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virginiafish; I always enjoyed Exuma more than Eleuthera for diving. But, both out islands have great snorkeling spots. Of course, Exuma has 365 cay formations in its 110 mile length. We stayed at the Hotel P&P, and I took my snorkeling gear to Stocking Island on the free ferry boat transport (For P&P customers only). There's a 9 mile reef that's off Stocking Island, and many dive ops frequent it. It's a mysterious place, with many caves and blue holes. Since your daughter is newly certified, here's some places that are shallow for scuba diving and the dive boats allow snorkeling too. Just off the northern end of Stocking Island is a site called Stingray Reef, about 26-70 feet deep. Many sea fans and plumes, brain coral covered with christmas tree worms and a few Nassau groupers hang out there. You can get there only by boat; I wouldn't advise swimming out from shore. There can be ocean surges...go with experienced dive operation. We dove Guana Cay Reef and Elizabeth Island...awesome. Great for snorkeling and diving for novices, since the average depth is only 13 feet. Large area with many patch reefs. You can snorkel or scuba dive in the white sand and circle these patch reefs. Huge schools of Blue Tang along with moray eels, squirrelfish, grouper, octopus, grunts, Angel fish, many stingrays, fairy basslets, etc. can be seen inside the thick and healthy reefs. I would lay in the sand and peer into this "forest" of huge coral formations and wait for critters to pass by me. A great snorkeling site is Fowl Cay, with about 7 feet depth on average. It's between Fowl and Guana Cay. Full of coral covered with Christmas Tree and featherduster worms. Watch out though- the most shallow bottom portions are blanketed with fire coral...don't touch! South of Rolle Town and off of Little Exuma is Pigeon Cay, where we observed many Caribbean Reef and Nurse sharks. Average depth is 20 feet. Sharks frequent many of the dive spots on southern Exumas. Get a nice map of the Exuma chain, which shows the reef formations and good places to snorkel and dive. We stayed basically inside Elizabeth Harbor and took reef fish surveys with a rental boat. Best to go with a dive operation and divemaster when venturing out into the Atlantic Ocean. Hope this gives you some ideas. Robert59
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Old Feb 3rd, 2007, 07:15 AM
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Great, priceless ideas and information. Thanks, Robert59, for taking the time to share this!
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