The Bahamas: Great Exuma
Starting just 35 miles southeast of Nassau is a chain of some of the prettiest and least visited island in The Bahamas, the Exumas. Numbering more than 350, these principally uninhabited islands start with Sail Rocks to the north and stretch for more than 100 miles down the west side of the Exuma Sound, finally terminating with the big islands of Great Exuma and Little Exuma on the southern end.
These islands are the realm of liveaboard dive boats, sailboats and yachts. Within the chain are dozens of excellent anchorage's, hundreds of pure white undisturbed beaches and seemingly endless lush coral gardens.
For those without the luxury of their own sailboat, yacht or other personal vessel, vacation and dive opportunities will center around Great Exuma and its surrounding cays. The island, the largest of the Exumas, is very quiet and extremely relaxing.
High points of an Exumas vacation include simple relaxation as the number one asset. There are multitudes of classically beautiful Bahamian beaches, both on Great Exuma as well as on Stocking, an adjacent seven mile long barrier island. Accommodations take the form of either small contemporary hotels or inns, some of which are built around historic buildings dating from the Loyalist period.
There is only one land based dive operation in the Exumas, on Great Exuma and the focus is on ecodiving. Dives are conducted with an eye to interpreting and understanding the subtle aspects of what may seem to be normal actions on the reef. The local dive operator finds great satisfaction in pointing out situations such as cleaning stations, mating behavior, predatory actions and protective reactions. For divers who prefer coming out of the water after each dive with an expanded understanding of the interaction of reef creatures, there is no better place than Great Exuma.
In addition to the biological aspects of Exuma diving, there is also pure drama in the form of blue holes. While some require proper training in cavern and cave penetration, at least one is safe for sport divers in that it offers a clear view of the opening throughout the dive.
Top dive sites in the area of Great Exuma would have to include the following. Anglefish Blue Hole is usually considered to be the number one dive for pure impact. A second blue hole is Crab Cay Crevasse. This crescent shaped opening begins in just 15 feet of water, dropping quickly to 90 feet.
Lobster Reef is a hot spot for schooling fish, lobster and other invertebrates. Pagoda Reef is noted for its spectacular, high profile coral formations. Stingray Reef is between two small islands, benefiting from the flow of water in the channel. It is an ideal reef for fish observation, with many different species represented. As with Lobster and Pagoda Reefs, the shallow depth (45 feet or less) lends itself to long bottom times devoted to observation and enjoyment.
PO Box 29261 - George Town, Exuma, Bahamas
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