New Providence Island
New Providence Island is best known for its major center of population and development, Nassau. As the capital city of The Bahamas, Nassau is not only the seat of government but also home to 400 banks, ancient forts, elegant homes, a wide variety of duty free shopping and a well developed tourist infrastructure, including posh resort hotels, casinos with cabaret shows and cruise ship docks. Nassau is busy, bustling and exciting but, for those who prefer the quieter, more laid-back side of New Providence, the south side is a few miles and a world away.
Beyond Nassau, the intrusion of man is much less evident. Large tracts of pine trees and rolling hills dominate the central portions of the island, while miles of fine white sand beach are gently lapped by a crystalline sea. There is an exclusive residential enclave at Lyford Cay and the winding canals of Coral Harbour development offer easy access to the sea. Throughout the area all is very low key. There is golfing and tennis at the Ramada South Ocean Golf and Beach Resort but the primary attraction of the south side of New Providence is not shopping, Nightlife or gambling but simply fine scuba diving and top quality dive operators.
Sharks are a big part of the attraction here. Shark Wall is a pristine drop-off decorated with masses of colorful sponges along the deep water abyss known as the Tongue of the Ocean. Divers position themselves along sand patches among the coral heads in about 50 feet of water as Caribbean Reef Sharks and an occasional Bull or Lemon Shark cruise the mid water in anticipation of a free handout. The bait is secreted in crevices and under coral ledges, causing the sharks to continually swim about the area, poking into the reef and eventually rooting out the bait in an exciting feeding frenzy. During the feeding period, the bait is controlled and fed from a polespear by an experienced feeder. There are usually 6 to 12 sharks here at a time, ranging from four to eight feet in length. It takes a while for the sharks to get brave enough to close in on the food. While they are circling ever closer to the bait, the underwater photographers and videographers are enjoying superb opportunities. Because bait isn't constantly in the water, there are fewer suspended particles to cause backscatter. Since the reef is so beautiful the backgrounds for these shark portraits are, exquisite. Some operators make two dives at this particular site, allowing the guests to cruise the wall with the sharks in a more natural way before the feeding dive.
The Shark Buoy (AKA the Deer Island Buoy used by the U.S. Navy for submarine exercises) is tethered in 6,000 feet of water. Its mass floating o~ the surface attracts a wide variety of pelagic marine life such as Dolphinfish, jacks, Rainbow Runner: and the stars of the shows, the Silky Sharks. These are typically small sharks, perhaps three to five feet long, but they swarm the area in schools of 6 to 2C Since there is no bottom visible and no reference other than the cable or the dive boat, it is an eerie' feeling and a situation where depth must be carefully monitored. The sharks will eat Ballyhoos and frozen squid offered by the divemasters actually swimming right up to their hands to grad the bait. Divers positioned near the feeder will b, assured a high voltage encounter with these majestic predators. With water clarity typically in excess of 150 feet, the photographic potential i. stunning.
Hollywood filmmakers have long recognized the advantages to the south side of New Providence a an underwater set and the dive operators regular! visit the Bond Wrecks. The Vulcan Bomber used in Thunderball is now a simple framework draped with a kaleidoscope of colorful gorgonians and sponges. The freighter known as the Tears of Allah, where James Bond eluded the Tiger Shark in Never Say Never, again, remains a dive attraction in 40 feet of water. The photogenic appeal of this wreck for the filmmakers has sustained and, in fact, improved with age as more and more marine life congregates on this lovely artificial reef.
For those who prefer more natural underwater attractions, drop-off dives such as Tunnel Wall feature a network of crevices and tunnels beginning in just 30 feet and exiting along the vertical precipice at 70 or 80 feet. Southwest Reef offers magnificent high profile coral heads in only 15 to 30 feet of water, complete with pristine Elkhorn and Staghorn formations dotted with schooling grunts, squirrelfish and Barracuda. Still, one of the favorite shallow reef areas for both scuba and snorkel is Goulding Cay, where broad stands of Elkhorn reach nearly to the surface behind a scenic island just offshore.
Shark Runway is only one mile offshore and features
a dozen or so resident Caribbean Reef Sharks. There is also a new shipwreck here called
the Bahama Mama. She was sunk intentionally-as a dive attraction-and sits upright
in less than 50 feet of water. The Bahama Mama and nearby wall are a fine dive and
the wreck is a terrific backdrop for shark photos.
DIVE DIVE DIVE
FAX (242) 362-1994, (242) 362-1143
P.O. Box N-8050
WWW site - http://www.divedivedive.com
E-Mail - firstname.lastname@example.org
STUART COVE'S DIVE SOUTH OCEAN
(954) 524-5755, FAX (954) 524-5925
(242) 362-4171, FAX (242) 362-5227
PO Box CB 11697 - Nassau, Bahamas
WWW site - http://www.stuartcove.com
E-Mail - email@example.com
FAX (242) 362-1979 Phone and FAX
P.O. Box N-142
NASSAU SCUBA CENTRE
(954) 462-3400, FAX (954) 462-4100, (242) 362-1964 FAX (242) 362-1198
PO Box 21766 - Ft Lauderdale, FL 33325
WWW site - http://www.nassau-scuba-centre.com
E-Mail - firstname.lastname@example.org
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