Scuba Diving Long Island, Bahamas

Healthy coral reefs here as well as adrenaline-pumping ocean drop-offs, white-knuckle shark dives, and excellent wreck diving.

 

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Long Island is known as the most scenic island in the Bahamas. Located on the south end of the Bahamas island chain, dramatic cliffs tower over its eastern shore while the western shore tapers down to the shoreline.

The island is a haven for fishers, divers and boaters, boasting world-class bonefishing and thrilling encounters with sea life. On the western shore, visitors will find soft pink- and white-sand beaches that gradually slip into peaceful turquoise waters.

Long Island earned its current name because a seafarer felt it took too long to sail past the island. After all, it is 80 miles long, but no more than four miles wide at its broadest point. The Tropic of Cancer runs directly through the island, giving it two very different coastlines—the dramatic cliffs and caves of the east coast that front the crashing Atlantic waves, and the sandy edged lee side which slopes calmly into the Bahamas Bank. Here you’ll find Dean’s Blue Hole,the deepest blue hole in the world, historic twin churches built in the 1800s and one of the largest caves in the Bahamas, Hamilton’s Cave. It is one of the largest caves in The Bahamas, with passages 50 feet wide and a ceiling over 10 feet high. Artifacts and cave drawings from the Lucayan Indian tribe were discovered here in 1935.

SCUBA DIVING LONG ISLAND, BAHAMAS

 

Long Island

 

Relatively few divers make it to Long Island, but those who do discover a wide variety of dive options. Divers will find extremely healthy coral reefs here as well as adrenaline-pumping ocean drop-offs, white-knuckle shark dives, and even an excellent wreck site.

Beautiful wall diving is the attraction at Conception Island, an uninhabited national park about 15 miles to the northeast of Long Island. A spectacular sandy slope cascades down to large coral heads on top of the wall, and this is where you’ll find anything from schooling blue parrotfish to curious reef sharks. Organized shark diving originally started on Long Island, and it’s a kick.

Long Island offer all this in warm, extraordinary clear water that also provides the perfect environment for learning how to scuba dive. As a bonus, Long Island offer the fascinating lure of the deepest blue hole in the world, the thrill of diving into the past on historical Shipwrecks, and ideal conditions for underwater photography and video.

Dean’s Blue Hole, located west of Clarence Town, is the world’s deepest underwater sinkhole, dropping to a depth of about 600 feet, making it more than double the depth of most other large holes.

HIGHLIGHT DIVE SITES

The Cornerbach – A 110-foot-long freighter, the Cornerbach rests on its keel in about 90 feet of water with its deck at 75 feet. Decorated with soft corals and populated by crabs and tropical fish, the ship has an intact wheelhouse and the wreckage of a bus sitting exposed in what remains of the forward hold. A wrecked sailboat sits in the sea floor in the vicinity of the Cornerbach, close enough that both wrecks can be visited on the same dive.

Shark Reef – Located in just 30 feet of water, the site consists of a sandy bottom surrounded by high mounds of coral, creating something of an underwater amphitheater. Once the divers settle onto the sandy bottom, the dive boat above lowers a bait box into the water. The bait attracts anywhere from one to two dozen Caribbean reef sharks, creating a safe, close encounter with these seven to 10-foot sharks.

Conception Island – Situated close enough that dive boats from Long Island regularly go there, Conception Island offers wall dives with drop-offs just as staggering as the more famous Bahamas dive site of the Tongue of the Ocean, off New Providence Island. The wall top, crowned with coral heads, is at roughly 40 feet. From there, it plunges down well over a mile into the deep blue abyss. Teeming with sea life, visibility off Conception Island is strikingly clear, and routinely in the 150- to 200-foot range.

HMS Conqueror – Of significant historical interest is the wreck of HMS Conqueror. The Conqueror was the first steam-powered warship commissioned into service with the British Navy. A steam-and-sail hybrid, the ship hit corals off the south end of Conception Island in 1848 and sank, fortunately without the loss of any of the crew. The ship is no longer recognizable, but its rubble pile includes canons and canon balls, a propeller shaft, an engine, and petrified planking.

Deans Blue Hole – Deans is the Deepest, and the Most Beautiful of Blue Holes! For divers, it’s an exciting shore dive; for snorkelers it’s a place of curiosity; but for scientists it’s nothing short of a phenomenon! Besides being the world’s deepest known ocean blue hole (663 feet deep), it happens to be absolutely gorgeous.

Think of a sink drain, and you’ll know how it feels to dive Deans — spooky! At about 75 feet Deans’ circular shaft begins to widen to about 240 feet. Waterfalls of sand cascade dramatically down the sides, and barracuda and tarpon emerge eerily from the depths.

Fortunately, there normally is very little current and visibility is excellent.

In 1992, Deep Breathing Systems explored and mapped Deans. One expedition member, Jim King, actually reached the bottom. His depth gauge read 663 feet!

Expedition member William Wilson wrote that Deans is nearly twice as deep as any other known underwater cave in the Bahamas. The room below the entrance shaft is 240 feet wide, 350 feet long and 603 feet high, making it the largest known underwater cave room and one of the largest cave rooms (wet or dry) in the world.

William has hosted several invitationals and the AIDA World Championships. Many world and national records have been achieved at Deans. William, himself, has broken several world records here. In his category, he wears no fins or weights and must not touch the line, except to turn around at the end.

Thanks to freediver, William Trubridge, Deans is now a mecca for freedivers to train and compete.

HOW TO GET HERE

There are two airports on Long Island: Deadman’s Cay Airport (LGI) and Stella Maris Airport (SML). Daily scheduled service is available to the island from Nassau and charter services can be arranged through any of the certified local and international carriers. By sea, you can travel from Nassau with Bahamas Ferry Services on a fully air-conditioned vessel, or two mailboats that provide service to several towns on a weekly (or more frequent) basis.

 

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