Diving Grand Bahama

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Grand Bahama, Bahamas

albert kok
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Beginner Intermediate Expert

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Country: Bahamas  Area: Bahamas

Water Temp: 24 - 31°C (75 - 88°F)

Visibility: 20 - 50m (66 - 164 ft)

Depth Range: 5 - 40m (16 - 131 ft)

Lobster March

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Close up dolphin and shark encounters can be had in the waters around Grand Bahama, including dives at the famous Tiger Beach where you can get up close and personal with the amazing Tiger Shark!

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The Bahamas means “Shallow Seas” and consists of a group of 700 breathtaking islands at the top of the Caribbean above Cuba and starting just 50 miles off the coast of Florida.  This tropical archipelago has 16 main islands from which you can base yourself on to explore the rest of the area.

Grand Bahama is one of the northernmost islands in the Bahamas archipelago and the closest main island to the US. The diving here is great for marine encounters. The operators on the island offer many shark dives and also there is a special dolphin encounter which allows people to scuba dive and interact with dolphins. As well as the wildlife there is also wreck diving and one of the world largest underwater cave systems.

Climate & Sea Conditions

The islands all have a warm agreeable climate which hardly varies all year round, but they are more susceptible to weather during the hurricane season which runs from June to November.  Even so this doesn’t necessarily mean you shouldn’t visit at this time as with fewer tourists you can get the dive sites all to yourself. 

The water is very warm and settled throughout the year, and ranges from 24C in the winter months of December to March to 31C in the summer months of June to August.  The dive season is year round and even in the rainy season the water is still very clear.  This amazing visibility is due to virtually no runoff from the land, nearly all the rain water is absorbed into the porous limestone of the islands.

Marine Conservation

The Bahamas Marine Mammal Research Organisation which promotes the conservation of marine mammals and their habitats through scientific research and educational outreach. They monitor the distribution of whales, dolphins and any manatees and have a sightings database. They also run children’s camp where they educate the local children to the importance of protected the oceans and nature of the Bahamas.

 
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Shore Diving

The Bahamas offers a huge array of different scuba diving experiences for all levels of diver, ranging from diving colourful coral reefs teeming with life, underwater caves, sunken ships, spectacular blue holes and exhilarating Shark Feeding Dives. 

Boat Diving

Diving the Bahamas you are likely to see many different Shark species, Nurse, Black tip, Bull, Tiger, Great Hammerhead and Caribbean Reef sharks all inhibit the crystal blue waters.  They can best be found near the coasts near the “Tongue of the Ocean”.  Shark Feeds are a huge attraction as The Bahamas is one of the only places in the world to take part in this activity.  The opportunity to watch these fascinating creatures feeding at close range will be a thrilling underwater experience that any diver will remember for a long time.  Most areas will have Shark Feeding dives available and most liveaboards will do at least one in the week.

Tiger Beach is the best spot in the Bahamas to dive with Tiger sharks as well as many other species and a highlight in many divers’ trips. It is an area of shallow sandy bars close to a deep drop off. This area was names Tiger beach after the Tiger sharks that people came to feed on the sandy bars. Now there are many trips to witness this shark feeding. Divers have the choice of diving in the safely of a cage, or when the conditions are right cage less amongst the feeding sharks! This is perfectly safe under supervision, the sharks here are all very used to divers but they do sometimes get a little curious and tend to bump some divers and especially camera gear. This can be disconcerting so if you are a beginner or nervous of sharks the cage option is by far the best, as you certainly do not want to panic surrounded by feeding sharks.

Liveaboard Diving

Grand Bahama is a base for liveaboard trips which visit further afield dive sites around the Out Islands of the Bahamas which can include sites around Bimini, the Berry Islands, Nassau and Andros, as well as taking in the best diving of Grand Bahama. Most liveaboards will visit the famous site of Tiger Beach and will have at least one shark dive there.

A famous event of the Bahamas is “The March of the Spiny Lobster” which is a widespread Phenomenon occurring on the Great and Little Bahamas Banks near Abacos, Grand Bahama and Andros. The lobsters are usually found solitary on the reef like the groupers but again gather in huge numbers for this event. The march is usually triggered by the first autumnal storms that arrive from the north and west in late October or early November. The lobsters agitated by the storms leave their ledges and overhangs and begin to march to deeper water. Chains of lobsters can then be seen marching in single file, each lobsters vulnerable parts protected by the lobster behind. This makes them become fearless and as a diver you can get very close and they will even march over you if you lie down in their way.

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How to get there

Located just 55 miles off the coast of Florida, Grand Bahama can be can be easily reached by a 30 minute flight from Fort Lauderdale, Miami or Palm Beach. You can also get there by ferry or plane from most of the other islands in the Bahamas. There are 5 flights daily from the capital island of Nassau.

Once you are on the island you can easily get around by taxi, bus or by hiring a car or scooter.

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Where to eat and drink

Bahamian cuisine is available all over the island as well as other international cuisines. This mainly consists of seafood, poultry and pork which has been fried, steamed or curried. Conch is a Bahamian food that is served in various ways including in salads, lightly battered, minced or in fritters.

There are many great little restaurants that serve excellent traditional food and cocktails, also many Italian, Chinese and American restaurants. But for the less adventurous there are also some Burger King’s and a Dominios Pizza on the island!

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Other activities

Grand Bahama is a paradise for sports enthusiasts as well as nature lovers. There are plenty of golf courses, tennis courts and opportunities for swimming, kayaking around bays on in the mangroves, horse riding on the beautiful white sand beaches or fishing.

For those nature lovers who don’t dive there are glass bottomed boat trip so you can see the beautiful reefs without getting wet!

There are three national parks on the island and the best is the Lucayan National Park. This is the only place in the Bahamas where you can see all six of the islands ecosystems. There are caves, including the longest underwater limestone caves in the world, mangrove swamps, and white sand beaches. Some caves are only open seasonally as they are used for bat conservation.

Grand Bahama is also great for families and has a whole host of activities to keep children occupied. These range from bowling alleys, educational eco tours, a range of water sports, and there are even fishing trips using light tackle which is perfect for children.

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Tips

American currency is accepted (sometimes even preferred) everywhere.

Sadly Bahamian culture is still intolerant of public displays of affection between same-sex couples so it can be easiest to exercise modesty in public.

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Rating 9/10

The chamber - bahamas

Grand Bahama14 Oct 2014 - 14 Oct 2014

Bahamian Reef sparks 4-5

Huge parrotfish fish - Bright blue and purple.

Got to hold a spider

Rating 8/10

Bahamas Aug '13 Trip

Grand Bahama31 Aug 2013 - 8 Sep 2013

Checked out the Bahamas for the first time. While the resort and area wasn't really my speed, the diving was definitely top notch. Went out on various dives with UNEXSO. The staff was some of the best I've encountered. Amazing sea life including with a lot of first times for me. We got to dive with sharks for the first time. I can't believe how many there were. Also got to see a grouper cleaning station, which I have never seen before. This was also my first time wreck diving which was exciting and my first time going below 65 ft. Will add more to this in a bit.

Janelle Pette

Nice.. I have always wanted to see Grouper cleaning.

scuba diver 954785 m

Leon Dubose

Looks like a successful dive! Well done with the new depth too.

Rating 10/10

Serendipity - My Life's Mantra

Grand Bahama16 Oct 2013 - 16 Oct 2013 with Sunn Odyssey Divers

My brother and I waited too long to sign up for the Cruise Dive Excursion; and amid the chorus of negative replies for boat dive inquiries, Nick, Karen and crew from Sunn Odessey Divers saved our vacation through their quick and positive replies to our cries for help. It was truly a happy mistake that we waited too long to sign up with the cruise dives and found ourselves diving with only 4 others in the warm, clear ocean of Freeport. Their professional handling of logistics in picking us up, getting us geared up, and their emphasis on safety put our 4 novice dive buddies at ease and enabled my brother and I to truly enjoy our two dives and make it back to the ship in time! The dive sites were appropriate for our mixed group and expertly led giving us a taste of colorful reef fish and beautiful corals - including a shark! Our thanks to Nick, Karen, and their team, and we're looking forward to returning for more exploration of Freeport dive sites with Sunn Odessey Divers! Eric and Chuck

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Oliver Whiteley

Eric -that sounds like a great trip! Some nice pictures too. Group of four is perfect in my opinion.

Rating 10/10

Sun Odyssey Divers are awsome!

Grand Bahama16 Jun 2013 - 21 Jul 2013 with Sunn Odyssey Divers

The first time we dove with Nick and Karen at Sun Odyssey Divers was eight years ago and they took care of all our diving needs, it only made sense to choose them when we put a trip together with our friends of Charlotte, NC. Ten divers showed up in Freeport to dive and Nick showed us all of Freeport's best divesites. They treat everyone like you our part of their family. Everyone on the trip had nothing but positive things to say about Sun Odyssey Divers. I can not wait until my next trip to Freeport to enjoy the wonderful reefs with Nick and Karen.

Wreck Diving Maldives

Adelina De la Luz

Sounds great :)

Rating 10/10

Grand Bahama Diving with Sunn Odyssey, Lucaya June 25th

Grand Bahama23 Jun 2013 - 28 Jun 2013 with Sunn Odyssey Divers

The kids (adult) and I had a fantastic and relaxed time diving with dive master/instructor Nick of Sunn Odyssey. The small family operation was well equipped with all the modern gadgets and Nick's expertise made us feel safe in the water. Because of the intimate family operation, I was not worried about being lost in a crowd.

Our first dive at 65 ft. and second dive at 20 ft. were perfect for us amateurs. Water was worm, no wet suit needed and visibility was 50 ft.

Best dive operation experience we've ever had. We have dived at better locations but never with a better operator. Thanks Nick!!!!!!!!

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Oliver Whiteley

Thanks for sharing, im considering diving the bahamas next year and will remember your recommendation for Sunn Odyssey when im planning.

Mohamad Motahari

Glad you will give them a try. They really deserve the business. I want them to be around for my next dive in Grand Bahamas. Look forward to reading your trip report when you get back.

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Oliver Whiteley

:) i will definitely share it on here if i go!

Rating 10/10

Great Grand Bahama dive

Grand Bahama11 Mar 2013 - 15 Mar 2013 with Sunn Odyssey Divers

Excellent experience diving with Nick Rolle at Sunn Odyssey on Grand Bahama Island. Divemaster was very knowledgable, experienced and appropriately firm about safety. Nick dove with and lead the small dive group of 7. Group included three students completing certification, a novice (my 18 yo son), and an old guy (me). All were watched over constantly.

The reefs were in good condition and wrecks shallow and maturing into artificial reefs. Enough large pelagics to offer excitement ( black tip sharks, eagle rays, cudas). Variety of corals was good. Lots of colorful small reef fish. Interesting garden of eels.

Office very helpful and enabled last minute reschedule for my son and I when our scheduled dive was blown out by high winds- thanks Karen

diamond head discover scuba diving2

George Taylor

Excellent! I really enjoy the diving in Grand Bahama too.

9.1262834930.scuba diving in jamaica

Marie Harper

Sounds great, i really want to visit the Bahamas

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