The Bahamas is one of the most heavily-toured vacation destinations in the Caribbean. Its typical tropical setting and the amazing range of beaching options have given it an unparalleled reputation. However, most prospective or touring visitors to this island nation seem to be unaware that it offers an exclusive diving option that just cannot be found anywhere else across the globe.
Long Island has some of the deepest Blue Holes in the Bahamas
Often called Blue Holes, these rare nature-sculpted formations in the coral reefs have been formed due to the slightly acidic nature of the rainwater found in this part of the Caribbean. The Bahamas is now home to the only confirmed tidal Blue Holes in the world. Often confused with underwater caves, Blue Holes have a distinctly, dark-blue coloration and can be found both in shallow waters and the deeper, freshwater interiors of the Bahamas. Blue Holes are often called ‘shallow water trenches’ and offer a great opportunity for exploring the marine flora & fauna. Some Blue Holes are uniquely shaped in the form of underwater caverns and some are out rightly gigantic, giving way to huge labyrinths.
Lost Blue Hole at the base of Caribbean Sea
Choosing Your Blue Hole Diving Spot — most of the Blue Hole diving spots are now being regulated by the Bahamas National Trust. Among the uncountable clusters of Blue Holes found here, the concentration along the shallow waters of Andros Island is regarded as the perfect setting for a secured and slightly adventurous diving experience. This area has more than 50 Blue Hole options to offer. Those who are put-off by diving instructors and are more inclined towards self-exploration can head off to a similar but a more peaceful diving experience around the Grand Bahamas Island, Eleuthera or the Exumas. Professional divers can test their skills at the deepest of Blue Holes found off Long Island. Some of the other, smaller and uncharted Blue Holes territories are found off the Out Islands.
Blue Hole Diving Basics — it is difficult to categorize Blue Holes in a very systematic manner since there are thousands of them and each one has some distinct features. However, a basic understanding is needed to identify which ones are the safest from a vacationing and casual diving perspective:
· The most recommended Blue Holes for first-time, young divers with manageable diving statistics of —
· Diameter: 50 to 150 meters
· Depth: up to 100 m
Caverns or Contact-zone Blue Holes
· Found at the meeting point (contact area) of freshwater and groundwater
· The Lucayan Cavern is regarded as the longest cave in the Bahamas, extending up to more than 14 km.
· These are best explored by expert deep-water divers and aren’t recommended for family vacationers.
· It is hard to differentiate them from underwater caves.
· Usually explored by expert divers like marine biologists, since they are very deep and conventional diving gear is not suited for such depths, i.e. more than 200 meters
Wall Diving in The Bahamas
Skilled swimmers, who can manage themselves in waters up to 60 to 100 feet deep, might want to try out Wall Diving in The Bahamas. Walls are weathered coral reefs that have deeper and narrower vertical descents, i.e. in comparison to most underwater caves. Wall Diving is particularly recommended to those fascinated by underwater life as they have a higher concentration of marine biodiversity than Blue Holes in the form of seawhips, bryozoans, black corals, seafans and unnamed variety of sponges forming an exotic undersea garden.
Choosing Your Wall Diving Spot — the most popular of walls is The Andros Wall, regarded as the ‘greatest’ wall in the Bahamas. It is found in the largest of the islands in the Bahamas — Andros. The Andros Wall offers the perfect setting for a family outing, being nestled between navigable canyons and small caves and plenty of lifeguards on the lookout. However, the profile of each Wall varies and most of them are not suited for vacationing travelers. The more accessible and equally spectacular Wall Diving options in the Bahamas include:
The Great Lucaya
· Also called the Grand Bahama Wall
· Location: southern coast off Grand Bahama Island
· Average depth: about 80 feet
· Note — Wall Diving sites includes small caves and narrow swim-through zones
Cave diving at the Lucayan Cavern
The Bimini Wall
· Location: southwards from the Bimini islands, neighboring the Gulf Stream
· Neighboring attractions: Victory Cays Drop-off and South Cat Cay Wall
· Average depth: 120 feet (The North Bimini Wall)
· Note — more suited for experienced divers. Not suitable for causal swimmers
Other notable Wall Diving sites include the:
· Lyford Cay Wall and Southwest Wall (New Providence Island, Nassau)
Wall depth: 35 feet
· The Exuma Wall (off the coast around Highbourne Cay)
Wall Depth: 75 feet
· Conception Island Wall
Wall depth: 45 – 60 feet
Recommendation — travelers wanting to make their Bahamas vacation truly unforgettable without worrying about how to plan their diving trips, should head straight to Nassau for its exclusive combination of Blue Hole exploration and Wall Diving.
They can get started with the Lost Blue Hole found at the base of the Caribbean Sea. This massive 200-feet deep seabed crater should be explored in the company of professional divers who can take divers deep into this stunning diving spot, giving a glimpse into underwater coral reefs that are yet to be even identified! It is concentrated with schools of rare fish like the banded jawfish and the tobacco fish. This can be combined with visiting the Tongue of the Ocean — the most sought-after dive locations in the entire Bahamas. This Wall has a vertical dip of more than a mile. Divers could hire professional underwater photographers to get clicked against the famous ‘Wreck’ found near this Wall.