New Providence Island
On the island of New Providence, Nassau is the capital of this island nation as well as the most populous and cosmopolitan city and island in the chain. More than twothirds of the population of The Bahamas, more than 150,000 men, women and children, live on New Providence, with the largest part of this population based in or in the immediate vicinity of Nassau (on the northeast corner). The island pulses with a strong energy, the spirit of Goombay and Junkanoo.
The biggest reason for Nassau's early development
was its superb natural harbor. Just off the mainland lies Paradise Island, a long narrow
island that parallels the northeast corner of New Providence. Originally called Hog Island
(for the wild boars that once roamed there), it became a tourist attraction as long ago as
the late 19th century. Today, Paradise Island is considered to be one of the most
sophisticated resort islands in this hemisphere.
Connected to the mainland by a high, arching bridge, Paradise Island offers easy access to the historic sights and Old World charm of Nassau proper while still allowing an escape to the more laid-back atmosphere of the island itself. There are accommodations that range from small rental cottages and villas to huge 1,200 room hotels, all-inclusive resorts, casinos and Nightlife. Paradise Island truly offers something for everyone, but even in the midst of all this, one doesn't have to search too far to find a quiet corner in which to hide.
With thousands of vacationers taking resort courses, Nassau has come to be known as a destination that might be good for an exploratory first dive but with little to recommend it beyond that first rush of breathing underwater. Nothing could be farther than the truth!
There are several professional dive operations either on Paradise Island or within a minute of the Nassau foot of the Paradise Island bridge. While all do cater to resort course divers, they also offer a full roster of dive activities designed for the more advanced and experienced diver. Within a 30 minute boat ride, one can experience shipwrecks (victims of natural disaster as well as intentionally placed artificial reefs), classically beautiful shallow Bahamian reefs, huge schools of fish and one of the finest oceanic Blue Holes to be found in The Bahamas.
It is the Lost Blue Hole that is Nassau's greases claim to fame. About 10 miles east of Nassau, the Lost Blue Hole appears as a circular opening in c white sand bottom when seen from the air Beginning just 45 feet below the surface, the blue hole is massive, well more than 100 feet in diameter. Isolated coral heads perch precariously around its edge, looking as if they may tumble in a any moment. Each of these coral heads sports its own community of Nassau Groupers, Sergean Majors, moray eels and other creatures.
Fish Hotel is home to possibly the greatest numbers of fish on any single reef in the area. The reef itself is somewhat undistinguished. It is formed by ledges and holes in the hard substrate with just a small amount of live hard coral. Instead, you will find a blanket of soft corals and seafans cloaked by a living cover of juvenile grunts, Goatfish, Trumpetfish and much more.
Barracuda Shoals is one of the healthiest reefs in this area. A very focused site in just 25 feet of water it is formed by several reef lines forming a roughly triangular shape. The sponge formations and the health of the reef are central points of interest.
There are at least onehalf dozen wrecks found immediately north of Paradise Island. These range in dentin from 30 to 100 feet. A top site is called The Graveyard. There are the remains of four separate sunken freighters here. Included are two large oil tankers.
The most famous of the Paradise Island wrecks is the Mahoney. This steamship went down in a hurricane near the turn of the century and rests in two areas called the Deep Mahoney and the Shallow Mahoney. The shallow sits in just 30 to 40 feet while the deep reaches nearly 100 feet. Both the two Mahoney sites as well as the Graveyard feature lots of fish life and make wonderful subjects for wide angle wreck photos.
For the visitor seeking a combination of fine diving and an abundance of topside activities, it is hard to do better than Nassau and Paradise Island. Together they offer activities for the entire family in a cosmopolitan yet very tropical atmosphere.
(242) 394-5644 FAX (242) 393-6078
(954) 351-9533, FAX (954) 351-9740
PO Box SS 5004 - Nassau, NP Bahamas
SUN DIVERS, Ltd.
(242) 325-8927 - FAX (242) 393-1630
PO Box N 10728 - Nassau, Bahamas
(242) 393-0869, (242) 393-3285, FAX (242) 393-3695
PO Box N 1658 - Nassau, Bahamas
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