Scuba Diving Nassau and Paradise Island, Bahamas
Crystal-clear, warm waters and drop-offs that are close to shore.
Nassau is the capital, largest city, and commercial center of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas. The city has a population that is 70 percent of the entire population of the Bahamas and is located on the eastern half of New Providence Island.
Nassau has an attractive harbor, a colorful blend of old world and colonial architecture, and a busy port. It teems with Bahamian and British flavor and boasts miles of spectacular beaches and stretches of vivid coral reefs perfect for diving. Shop, dine, and sightsee, particularly along busy Bay Street.
Paradise Island is located just off the shore of the city of Nassau, which is itself located on the northern edge of the island of New Providence. It is best known for the sprawling resort Atlantis with its extensive water park rides, pools, beach, restaurants, walk-in aquarium and casinos.
Even though the Bahamas are located in the Atlantic Ocean, not the Caribbean Sea, we have chosen to include them with Caribbean diving since their proximity and diving conditions are so similar.
SCUBA DIVING NASSAU/PARADISE ISLAND, BAHAMAS
If you are looking for paradise, look no further than the waters of Nassau and Paradise Island. Here, you will find crystal-clear, warm waters and drop-offs that are close to shore. You will find all types of diving – blue holes and caves, historical wrecks and amazing reefs, soaring wall dives and thrilling shark diving create opportunities that are great for both the new or experienced diver. The waters around the entire island offer fabulous scenery, abundant marine life, perfect visibility and easy access.
HIGHLIGHT DIVE SITES
Shark Buoy – Out in the middle of some of the deepest, bluest water in the Bahamas and about an hour out from New Providence – and in some of the area’s deepest, bluest water – is the large yellow Shark Buoy. The buoy attracts a lot of marine life, but the main attraction is Silky Sharks, which are a bit smaller than Caribbean Reef Sharks.
Runway and Shark Arena, New Providence – There are always plenty of sharks cruising the reef in anticipation of the upcoming feed and you’ll get up close and personal with twenty or more Caribbean Reef Sharks. Don’t forget to bring your camera.
The Lost Blue Hole – This fabulous dive site is not only one of the most unique dive destinations in the Bahamas, but one of the most unusual natural dive locations on the globe. The grand scale of this gigantic submerged crater will amaze you. The Lost Blue Hole measures one hundred feet across the center of its borders. Although the hole descends to a depth of two hundred feet, most divers only dive to depths of eighty or ninety feet. The walled borders of this amazing dive site keeps the interior habitat very stable, creating a home for countless aquatic species, including the Reef Shark, Nurse Sharks, Marine Turtles, Yellowtails, Stingrays, Moray Eels, Sergeant Majors, and varieties of Angelfish, Groupers, Snappers, and Jacks. The water within the perimeter of the Blue Hole is calm and extremely clear. Large coral heads dot the perimeter of the Blue Hole.
Barracuda Shoals – This shallow water reef, reaching depths of only thirty feet, is an excellent dive for divers of all experience levels. This thriving formation is actually three separate reefs that constitute a crude triangle. Barracuda Shoals, named for the toothy predators often seen hunting prey in the area, is reputed to be the best shallow reef near Nassau. A spectrum of corals and sponges provide an amazing variegated habitat for invertebrates and tropical fish, including Angelfish, Groupers, Grunts, and Snappers.
Fish Hotel – This bustling reef is obviously nicknamed for its dizzying numbers of fish species darting amongst the thriving soft corals. You may witness French Grunts among the Sea Whips, Blue Striped Grunts beside delicate Sea Fans, and Yellow Goatfish near Gorgonians. This is another excellent site for novice and expert divers alike. This circular, shallow reef ranges in depth from ten to thirty-five feet, which makes it a fairly easy dive for novices. Advanced divers will still appreciate the massive amount of fish at this site.
Trinity Caves – This series of caverns of various sizes can be found in about forty-five feet of water along a large wall. The biggest of these cavern openings measures eight feet by four feet. The deepest of these caves are approximately thirty feet deep. Crustaceans, such as lobsters, can be seen in these caves. Large solitary groupers may also be hiding in the nooks.
Piece of Cake – This relatively unchallenging dive site, as its name indicates, may not be a difficult, but it offers divers a multitude of aquatic species. This primordial spur reef has an astounding amount of delicate Sea Fans and other soft corals. You’ll witness a colorful spectrum of exotic fish, including Snappers, Blue Tangs, Grunts, Squirrel Fish, Parrot Fish and Blue Wrasse. You may also spy a Nurse Shark alongside the reef. Barracudas hunt prey along the many limestone caverns and swim-through cover.
Thunderball Reef – This highly photogenic reef destination has served as the underwater setting for movies in the James Bond series. Visitors to this breathtaking reef may feel as if they are actually in a movie – the prismatic corals, including Stag-horn and Elk-horn provide a colorful backdrop for hundreds of marine species, including Snappers, Barracudas, Sergeant Majors, and Groupers. Because this site is so shallow dive (ranging from five to twenty-five feet) it draws snorkelers as well as scuba divers.
Traveler’s Rest Wall – This massive wall site can be found within the mammoth trench named the Tongue of the Ocean. Along this steep wall, divers will discover an astounding variety of sea creatures dwelling among both hard and soft corals. You can dive to depths of eighty or ninety feet to possibly view Reef Sharks, Sea Turtles, or Rays.
LCT Barge and the White Hole – The LCT Barge once served the United States as a troop carrier during World War II. This easily accessible wreck rests upright in twenty feet of water. You’ll witness swarms of fish near this wreck site, which sits near the reef nicknamed the White Hole, a shallow circular crater that is home to a dizzying array of prismatic fish and variegated corals.
Miranda Wreck – This ninety foot wreck rests in two on its side in fifty-five feet of water. This wreck has become a thriving habitat for many exotic fish. You will probably spy large rays gliding along the sandy sea floor.
Shipyard – You can investigate not one, but three of the best wrecks in the Caribbean Sea at the Shipyard. This nautical graveyard is home to three freighters resting at a depth of eighty-five feet. The abandoned vessels resting in close vicinity gives the area a supernatural feel. But just when you think you are approaching a series of lifeless vessel shells, a massive school of silversides will swarm through the scene, shifting away from the pursuit of predators like Barracuda, African Pompano, or Schoolmasters.
De La Salle and Haitian Sloop – This large freight vessel (one hundred feet long) rests at a depth of seventy feet. It has become home to large schools of fish, including Snappers, School-masters and Grunts. A one hundred and forty foot Haitian Sloop is located near the bow of the De La Salle. You can still identify some of the rigging on this sailing vessel.
DC3 Airplane and Long Island Lady Wrecks – You may recognize the large DC3 airplane from its appearance in the Hollywood Film, Into the Blue, starring screen siren Jessica Alba. This huge aircraft was intentionally sunk specifically for the film. Like the DC3, the Long Island Lady sits in approximately forty feet of water. This seventy foot long fishing vessel was recently sunk by Stuart Cove’s dive operation.
Anthony Bell and Royal James – The newest wreck in the region, the Anthony Bell, like the Long Island Lady, was intentionally scuttled by Stuart Cove’s dive operators. This ninety-foot-long tugboat sits upright in fifty feet of water. The vessel was meticulously stripped and cleaned before its sinking. You can penetrate both at the wheelhouse as well as at the stern of the Anthony Bell. Once entering through the stern, divers can maneuver into the engine room to the bow. Another new wreck, the much smaller Royal James, also rests nearby.
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