Scuba Diving Bimini, Bahamas
Gin clear waters … Dramatic continental shelf walls … Fish covered wreck sites … Endless options
Bimini is the westernmost district of the Bahamas composed of a chain of islands located about 53 miles (81 km) due east of Miami. Bimini is the closest point in the Bahamas to the mainland United States and approximately 137 miles (209 km) west-northwest of Nassau. The largest islands are North Bimini and South Bimini.
Known as Ernest Hemingway’s favorite escape, Bimini is historically significant. Visitors from around the world enjoy its historical complexity and renowned past, including Bimini Road, which some believe is a remnant of the legendary Lost City of Atlantis.
Since it is just 50 miles from the United States, Bimini served as a convenient offshore speakeasy and liquor store during prohibition. Rumrunners used to store their stash on the nearby shores.
Perched at the west end of the Bahamas Bank, it is surrounded by shallow water (only 20 to 30 feet deep) to the north, south, and east. To the west, the Gulf Stream current flows north through the deep water between Miami and Bimini, where the ocean is over 6000 feet deep. The Gulf Stream brings hundreds of marine animals near to the shores of Bimini.
Small-scale, no-rush, no-stress tourism keeps the character of Bimini intact and helps preserve the pristine natural environment and clean Bahamas air. It all adds up to a premium island vacation experience, which by definition is not designed for the masses.
Alice Town, on North Bimini, is the commercial center of Bimini. Many hotels, bars and restaurants can be found there along the main street of King’s Highway. The Chalk’s seaplane lands.
The island is small enough that you can walk around it in half a day.
SCUBA DIVING BIMINI
Direct exposure to the Atlantic Ocean and relatively shallow reefs makes Bimini one of the most spectacular aquatic destinations in The Bahamas. The amazing coral reefs, blue holes and canyons are not only easily accessible but provide shelter for an abundance of marine life. Gin clear waters … Dramatic continental shelf walls … Fish covered wreck sites … Endless options
Bimini offers tremendous scuba diving opportunities. Sapona, located off the coast of South Bimini, is a landmark sunken ship that was built by Henry Ford during the First World War. Another spot to explore is Piquet Rock, a large wreck of a Spanish ship, complete with rocks and cannonballs. And of course, the site that no diver will want to miss is the fabled Lost City of Atlantis in shallow water just off the shores of Bimini.
In 1968, huge limestone blocks off the coast of North Bimini were discovered and are believed to have been once an undersea road to the Lost City of Atlantis. This half-mile stretch of neatly aligned relics, named the Bimini Road, draws divers and all kinds of opinions about the origins of the “road.” It’s easy to explore, as it’s only about in 20 feet of water.
Bimini is surrounded by shallow reefs near shore, the depth increases to 80 to 100 feet before dropping into the abyss of the Gulf Stream.
Dive spots in Bimini range from shallow reefs and wrecks to deep wrecks and walls dropping into the abyss of the Gulfstream waters. The corals are healthy and vibrant. More than 20 great sites have permanent mooring buoys placed and maintained by commercial dive operators. Large schools of fish and other marine animals are attracted to the shallow waters around Bimini. The Gulf Stream and its deep waters bring hundreds of marine animals close to the islands. It’s not uncommon to see wild spotted dolphin, Loggerhead turtles, Southern stingrays, reef sharks, nurse sharks, and barracudas, along with many gamefish and tropicals.
HIGHLIGHTED DIVE AREAS
Road to Atlantis 25 ft max depth – This network of rectangular stones running in parallel rows situated in the heart of the Bermuda Triangle, has long been shrouded in mystery and myth. Often thought to be evidence of the lost Island of Atlantis, this beautiful site is perfect for snorkeling or diving.
Hawksbill Reef 40 to 50 ft reef – This stunning reef is made up of scattered coral heads that pepper a perfectly white sand bottom. It is virtually impossible to see all of this site on one dive, as the reef stretches nearly a mile. Hawksbill Reef runs roughly north to south, parallel to the shoreline of north Bimini. The coralheads here are swarming with all the local’s you would expect on a healthy reef. Angelfish, Bermuda Chubs, French Grunts, creole wrass, and moray eels all call this site home. Of course, the main star here is usually the Hawksbill Turtles resting near the bottom.
The Strip 40 ft reef – The Strip is a 300 ft long “row” of coral running north and south off the coastline of north Bimini. The site is often a great option for a second “shallower” dive of the day. The Strip is loaded with Grunts, Snappers, Arrow Crabs, and spotted eels.
Bimini Trader 90 ft wreck – A beautiful 90ft long freight vessel that was sunk after receiving hurricane damage in hurricane Andrew (1992). The wreckage of the Bimini Trader offers ample places for some gorgeous caribbean fish to swarm in huge numbers.
Rainbow Reef 25 ft reef – A shallow coral reef that is often a favorite of video and photography fans. The reasons become evident once you dive the site … ample amounts of natural light and swarms of fish!
Bimini Barge 95 ft wreck – The Bimini Barge rests in anywhere from 80 – 95 feet of water, lying east to west. So many fish often often cover this wreck, that at times they seem to swallow it up! Lying in water that is almost “in” the Gulfstream, the currents can often be challenging on this wreck, however, it is not one to be missed!
Turtle Rocks 15 to 35 ft reef – Turtle Rocks are a series of rocks running north and south, just above the water line, that separate the Great Bahama Bank from the Southern Atlantic Ocean. Each of these rocks have beautiful coral formations and schools of fish on both the eastern and western sides. The shallower depths of the Bank are perfect for snorkeling, while the eastern reefs provide a number of beautiful dive sites. Spotted Eagle Rays, Caribbean Reef Sharks, and schools of tropical fish are what to expect here.
The Sapona 20 ft wreck – One of the most famous dive sites in Bimini is the wreck of the Sapona. Jutting out of the water with a storied history (run aground in the great hurricane of 1926, used to store illegal rum during US prohibition, was the destination of Flight 19 that disappeared in the Devils Triangle, cited in a James Bond Novel, and fired upon by George Bush Sr. in training exercises) and a huge variety of coral and fish life this could be the most well know site in The Bahamas.
Piquet Rocks 45 ft reef – This reef lies directly east of a small chain of islands south of Bimini. The reef has long been a favorite stop for liveaboard boats crossing over from Florida’s east coast. The wonderfully diverse site is often home to Caribbean Reef Sharks, Hammerheads, Spotted Eagle Rays, a wide variety of tropical fish, crustaceans, and turtles. The wide range of creatures here often make it a perfect spot for a night dive.
Victory Reef 35 to 85 ft – Possibly the most enchanting site in all of Bimini, this site sits along the edge of the Gulfstream and aligns north to south. A stunning site full of caverns and swim-thrus, with dramatic underwater topography. Often done as a drift dive, the variety of critters here is staggering. Hammerheads, Reef Sharks, and big turtles are common, along with many Pelagic fish not often seen Scuba Diving, such as Wahoo and Mahi Mahi.
Bull Run 35 to 55 ft – Bull Run is pretty much a guarantee when it comes to spotting sharks. Blacktips are the most common, however it is not unlikely to see Nurse, Lemons and Bull Sharks. Even without the sharks, this site is amazing! Filled with cut-outs, coral caverns, swim-thrus and so much reef its hard to see it all in one dive!
HOW TO GET HERE
You have two options to travel to Bimini by Air as you can land at either the South Bimini airport (BIM) or the North Bimini Seaplane Base. Silver Airways offers scheduled flights to Bimini from Fort Lauderdale 5 days a week. Western Air flies to Bimini from Nassau twice daily. Tropic Ocean Airways operates a scheduled seaplane service from Ft. Lauderdale on a Friday and Sunday, charters are also available.
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