New Providence and Paradise Islands Dive Sites

Coral Reef Sculpture Garden. Created by the Bahamas Reef Environment Education Foundation (BREEF), this underwater art gallery is suitable for SCUBA divers and snorkelers. The highlight is the 17-foot-tall "Ocean Atlas" crouching on the ocean floor. The site is situated just off Clifton Heritage Park on southwestern New Providence and is accessible from land or boat. Be sure to take an underwater camera for a spectacular photographic souvenir.

Lost Ocean Hole. The elusive (and thus exclusive) Lost Ocean Hole (east of Nassau, 40–195 feet) is aptly named because it's difficult to find. The rim of the 80-foot opening in 40 feet of water is studded with coral heads and teeming with small fish—grunts, margate, and jacks—as well as larger pompano, amberjack, and sometimes nurse sharks. Divers will find a thermocline at 80 feet, a large cave at 100 feet, and a sand ledge at 185 feet that slopes down to 195 feet.

Rose Island Reefs. The series of shallow reefs along the 14 miles of Rose Island is known as Rose Island Reefs (Nassau, 5–35 feet). The coral is varied, although the reefs are showing the effects of the heavy traffic. Still, plenty of tropical fish live here, and the wreck of the steel-hulled ship Mahoney is just outside the harbor.

Gambier Deep Reef. Off Gambier Village about 15 minutes west of Cable Beach, Gambier Deep Reef goes to a depth of 80 feet.

Sea Gardens. This site is off Love Beach on the northwestern shore beyond Gambier.

Lyford Cay Drop-Off. Lyford Cay Drop-Off (west of Nassau, 40–200-plus feet) is a cliff that plummets from a 40-foot plateau almost straight into the inky blue mile-deep Tongue of the Ocean. The wall has endless varieties of sponges, black coral, and wire coral. Along the wall, grunts, grouper, hogfish, snapper, and rockfish abound. Off the wall are pelagic game fish such as tuna, bonito, wahoo, and kingfish.

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