The Bahamas: San Salvador
The island measures about 12 miles long by 5 miles across. It is very low-lying, with its highest hill reaching only 140 feet. (Although, by Bahamian standards, this is a veritable mountain. The highest point in the entire Bahamian archipelago is only 206 feet.)
What San Sal offers divers is vertical walls, populated shallow reefs ideal for macro photography, groupers so friendly they will lay in your arms and the ever-present chance of spotting big creatures, such as Hammerhead Sharks and Manta Rays. San Sal was one of the very first destinations to develop wall diving and this is still the reason most divers visit. The south and western sides of the island are lined by one of the most impressive walls in The Bahamas, starting as shallow as 40 feet and dropping to thousands of feet.
On land, San Salvador is solidly out island. Its small population gives it an airy, open feel. There have been boom times and slow times and attempts at developments have come and gone but the island continues to tool along at a comfortable pace-not too slow and not too fast.
What San Sal does offer is miles of some of The Bahamas' most beautiful deserted beaches, ruins of Loyalist plantations and, most important, a peaceful atmosphere. Don't think it's boring, though, there are a few scheduled and impromptu nightly events each week.
Most visitors come to San Sal for the diving and, among divers conversant with the dozens of named sites, the following receive consistently high marks. An all-time favorite is Telephone Pole. This classic wall dive is a ridge of coral peaking at 40 feet bordered by a pure white sand bottom.
For lovers of shallow reefs and great macro opportunities, it is hard to surpass Snapshot Reef.
Devil's Claw is an awesome sight. Three great crevasses lead down the face of the wall from about 45 feet at the top to about 85.
At Great Cut, a massive section of the wall over 200 feet in length has broken away from the main wall millennia ago. This forms a double drop-off.
Double Caves is yet another wall site, this one featuring a pair of caves large enough for divers to penetrate easily. San Salvador is now, as it has been for years, an ideal destination for the dedicated diver.
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