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Where to snorkel in Nassau/PI?

Old May 6th, 2003, 10:31 AM
  #1  
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Where to snorkel in Nassau/PI?

Hi, we'll be going to Nassu/PI the 3rd week of May and was wondering where are the good snorkeling spots? We have our own masks and snorkels, do you think fins are necessary? Thank you.
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Old May 6th, 2003, 11:19 AM
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Hello. Although I don't like to recommend specific dive operations, your particular needs suggest Custom Aquatics in Nassau is for you. You can rent a 28 ft. Boomer with platform and ladder, and explore the reefs on your own. You could also charter singly with them. They are very eco-conscious and are Bahamian participating members of Reef Environmental Education Foundation (REEF) out of Key Largo, Florida. They would certainly indoctrinate you as to where the great reefs are and how to get to them. Some of the reefs you mentioned have buoys to tie up to; those would be your best bet. Although Thunderball, Cannonball and Angelfish are beautiful and are safe, all are shallow reefs and you can experience a surge in these shallows. Thunderball and Cannonball are exposed to northerly swells, setting just north of the southern end of Rose Island of of Nassau. I'd advise going with a chartered dive to these with Cusom Aquatics, a man and wife team. If you explore by yourself, I would recommend Angelfish Reef for safety, because it is fairly sheltered. Also, another neat snorkel site is the LTC Barge in only 20 feet of water, with visibility over 50 feet. A very easy and completely sheltered snorkeling site; it's just east of Athol Island of of New Providence's northern shore. Wreck sits upright in 20 feet, with the wheelhouse only several feet below the surface. Hint: "Less is more" since you only have one day; I'd recommend spending the time at one sight, and do it thoroughly, exploring every nook and cranny. Rent an underwater housing with a VCR to take shots. The beach of Atlantis is not interesting at all; it is interesting but uncomparable to the reefs offshore. Hope this helps. Robert
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Old May 6th, 2003, 11:21 AM
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Here's some more suggestions; I posted this months ago in reply to a similar inquiry: Many places to snorkel around New Providence. If you're hearty enough, rent a boat and snorkel on your own. Bahama Divers and others in Nassau are reputable. Here's some great snorkeling sites: Barracuda Shoals is 20 feet, three distinct reefs in a triangular formation. I scuba's this site for a reef survey but a few snorkelers hung above me on the surface. Red and blue fan and hard corals, with colorful sponges, and many barracuda, snapper, grunt and grouper. Defiinately snorkel Cannonball Reef, where the James Bond film was made. About 6 to 20 feet depth with Nassau Grouper congregations, coney and neat French and Grey Angelfish. Groups of parrotfish seen as well, with huge stands of elkhorn coral which probably made the hollywood film makers decide to film several Bond movies there. Ask a dive op if they'll take you to the LTC Barge, which is a WWII landing craft used to take freight from Nassau to Exuma.In the 50's, the barge took on water in a storm and sunk just off New Providence by Athol Island. Lies in 20 feet of water, with the wheelhouse only 3 feet below the surface. Great snorkeling here, but watch out because the ship is encrusted with fire coral...don't touch. Sponges and sea fans of all colors also there. Also off Athol Island by Nassau is Angelfish Reef, in 20 feet of water, heavily populated by my favorite fish, the bright yellow and black Rock Beauty and other angelfish like French and Grey. The fish are friendly and follow you around. Stingrays also will be seen here. Just NE of Paradise Island is the Fish Hotel...hit this too! In an overcast sky, I did a reef fish survey and the thousands of blue-stripped and french grunt literally lit up the dim light with their bright yellow color. Many purple, blue and green sea fans here as well. I could go on forever; people don't know about these places. Contact a dive op and name these sites specifically, if their going to them that day, don't miss the exursion. And bring an underwater camera, or ask the dive op if they make videos of your snorkeling experience. I left out about a dozen more sites, but not enough space. Hope this helps. Robert
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Old May 6th, 2003, 06:33 PM
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Hi Robert, thanks for the great suggestions. I do have a few concerns. My boyfriend and I have our own masks and snorkel, but did not purchase fins yet. Do you think it's necessary to have fins or can we do without them? I've tried to snorkel in shallow water before without them and did fine. How deep is the water at the snorkel sites in the Bahamas (being this is the first time we're there). Also, if we do not go with a chartered snorkel operator, can we snorkel at any beach? Thanks again.
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Old May 7th, 2003, 06:17 AM
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You don't have to bring the cumbersome flippers in your suitcase, but definately rent one before snorkeling, just in case you get caught in a cross current if you're far out from the beach. Great snorkeiling off many of New Providence's beaches, especially Love Beach. If you rent a car, you can drive around the island outside Nassau and simply swim into any inviting looking, deserted beach. You can also walk into any of the hotel or resorts and swim off their beaches; you could rent fins from them as well. I would beware of renting a boat and snorkeling in the ocean on your own, without fins especially! Go with a dive op first and ask questions before renting a boat. Bahama Divers conducts snorkeling excursions for a half day at $30 p/p. You'll learn the safe places to snorkel, that are relatively sheltered, and places with buoys where you can fasten the boat. If you want beach snorkeling, I recommend renting a car and spend the day discovering small patches of isolated beaches, many around fishing dockage areas around the island. You never know what you'll see! But, you won't see the pristine reefs noted above. Hollywood filmed much on New Providence's south side and many dive ops will take snorkeling excursions to this area. Remember the James Bond film Thunderball with the British NATO Vulcan bomber? Remnants of it are there in shallow water, covered with colorful corals and sponges. Remember the Bond flick Never Say Never Again, where a Tiger Shark with an electronic sensor attacked him in the ship? This freighter known as the Tears of Allah is still there in 36 feet of water. I guess Hollywood recognizes good film settings when they see one. This ship has since been overtaken by beautiful corals and reef fish; I don't know if it's too deep for snorkelers, though. Ask a dive op about it, but don't visit these places by yourself in a rented boat. There is "best kept" secret reefs off New Providence's southern shores. Check into Southwest Reef which has coral heads in shallow waters starting at 15 feet. Many elkhorn and staghorn coral formations with grunts, squirrelfish, barracuda, some reef sharks, angel fish and damsel fish amongst them. Personally, I like Goulding Cay off southwest ocean. I went there with Stuart's Cove, but I saw many unsupervised snorelers brush up against the coral with their flippers. We then went to the Bahama Mama wreck and a few of us brave soles hung onto a rope while Caribbean Reef sharks where fed directly below us in a pail of chum lowered. You'll have a great time. Robert
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