ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Diving in the Bahamas

Updated on April 27, 2010

From the air, the archipelago of the Bahamas seems as ephemeral as cloud vapor — on the verge of dissolving and reforming again inside a vast turquoise swash of water. The first of these 700 islands and 2,500 small cays appears just 50 miles off the South Florida peninsula in an island chain that stretches all the way down to Great Inagua, not so very far from the tip of southeastern Cuba. Look closer and you'll see that this entire island-nation sits atop two vast limestone plateaus, sand-covered banks that rise from the abyssal sea floor, a mile or more below. Look closer still and you'll find islands edged with mangroves and white sand beaches, coconut palm, and willowy casuarina, all cooled by prevailing trade winds. Underwater you'll find a spectacular diversity that surprises even veteran divers, with both shallow and deep reefs, plunging walls, shipwrecks, symmetrical blue holes, and lots of megafauna — from dolphins to sharks.

Most visitors only know the Bahamas as Nassau-Paradise Island on New Providence, or Freeport-Lucaya on Grand Bahama, simply because these destinations have made themselves over to accommodate mainstream tourists via cruise-ship ports and fancy resorts, casinos, and international airports. Indeed, four-fifths of the population is centered here. However, travelers seeking less glitz and more solitude often find their way to the Out Islands, which includes all the rest of the Bahamas.

Islands in the Stream

For a sampler of underwater opportunities, begin your trip at Freeport, perched on the westerly tip of Grand Bahama Island where it is washed by the deep blue of the Gulf Stream. One of the most spectacular wrecks is found lying on its port side in 100 feet of water just offshore. Called Theo's, the wreck is a 230-foot freighter intentionally sunk in 1983 as an artificial reef. Huge predators like Atlantic amberjacks and horse-eye jacks patrol the wreck, and both spotted eels and morays hide in the crannies deeper inside.

Staged shark dives were also pioneered in the Bahamas, with divemasters chumming and sometimes even hand-feeding local gray and Caribbean reef sharks as divers watch from a safe spot on the bottom. Freeport and Nassau both have veteran operations, while Long Island to the southeast may be the granddaddy of this practice. Although disruptive to the sharks' natural feeding cycle, such dives do expose divers to the grace and wild beauty of this impressive predator — and the education may help build consensus for the protection of all sharks, which are diminishing worldwide because of heavy commercial fishing.

Make the transition from megacritter to megamyth by traveling to Andros, a scantily populated Out Island where an old Bahamian legend still has a monster called a Lusca hiding at the bottom of geological formations known as blue holes. Andros, largest of the Bahamian islands, perches on the westward edge of the Tongue of the Ocean, which has licked out a 6,000-foot-deep abyss in the Great Bahama Bank. The 40-by-104-mile island is scored with wild hog trails and dotted with limestone ruins of old Loyalist plantations and some dry caves named for the pirate Henry Morgan. Andros is also serrated by bonefish-rich bights and tidal flats and punctuated with at least 400 blue holes, only a fraction of which have been explored. Offshore are 120 miles of barrier reef, the third longest in the hemisphere. If your wall-diving skills are up to it, a dive anywhere off the reef's outer edge takes you soaring over the abyssal Tongue.

Continued In: Diving in the Bahamas - Part 2


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)