The Bahamas: Long Island
Stretching more than 90 miles in length and comprising some 400 square miles, this is a lovely island of beaches, hills and forests just 26 miles to the east of George Town, Exuma. The soft sand beaches of Cape Santa Maria on the leeward side of the island are among the prettiest anywhere in The Bahamas and the rugged windward ironshore is perfect for beachcombing or quiet exploration. There is minimal development on Long Island, aside from a few settlements and the 3,000 acre resort known as the Stella Maris Resort. Consequently, there are few of the noxious effects of civilization. Here the air remains clear, the water perfectly pristine and large tracts of the land are largely unchanged from what the first European explorers might have seen.
The scenery beneath the sea remains unaffected by the passage of time as well. Relatively few divers make it here but those who do will discover a wide variety of dive options, including Shark Reef, the dive that set the standard for shark encounters around the world. Here, along the leeward shore just 30 minutes from the Stella Maris Marina, a shallow reef in 30 feet of water provides the backdrop for excellent, predictable shark action. Caribbean Reef Sharks have long been conditioned to free food from the divemasters; with the sound of a dropping anchor they appear as if by magic. The divers line up along the sand bottom with the high profile reef to their backs. When the lid to the bait bucket is released, the whole scene moves into hyperspeed. Sharks furiously feed and strobes furiously flash and adrenaline pumps in pace with the action.
Long Island offers dozens of excellent dives along this leeward shore, including Barracuda Heads, especially favored for its rich populations of marine life such as schooling Horseeye Jacks, groupers, grunts and, of course, its namesake, Barracuda. The wreck of the Comberbach sits upright in 90 feet of water, with its intact wheelhouse and a shattered bus sitting in a forward hold. Alona the windward shore is the famed Grouper Valley, a spur and groove coral formation noted for the probability of pelagic marine life and the massive congregations of schooling Nassau Groupers that come here to spawn in November. Further attractions are nearby Conception Island, with walls beginning in 40 feet of water and dropping vertically to more than 6,000 feet and the broad reaches of Southampton Reef, where shallow fields of Elkhorn and Staghorn Corals decorate the remains of at least 150 wrecks.
Long Island diving also includes: Conception Island Wall, without a doubt one of the most beautiful walls in the entire caribbean region. 100% pristine; Blue Hole the world's deepest and second largest water filled cavern.
STELA MARIS RESORT
E-Mail - firstname.lastname@example.org
WWW site - http://www.stellamrisresort.com
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