Diving Sites in Nassau, Bahamas
With clear water, vibrant coral reefs, shipwrecks and big-time marine life, Nassau, in the Bahamas, is a place scuba divers flock to for underwater adventure in the Caribbean.
The city, on the small island of New Providence, sports a plethora of dive sites within a short boat ride of its coasts, offering experiences for divers of all skill levels and certifications.
In The Shallows
Shallow reefs make the waters off of Nassau some of the best diving in the region. Spots like 5 Dollar Reef, known for its colorful coral — plus frequent sightings of stingrays and sea turtles — are set in just 35 feet of water.
One of the island’s most popular dive sites, Southwest Reef, is famous for its colonies of elkhorn and star coral, as well as an abundance of Nassau grouper, spiny lobsters and, of course, reef sharks — a common sight around most of Nassau’s waters.
Shipwrecks abound in the waters around Nassau. Two of the most popular are famous for their use in James Bond films — the Tears of Allah, a former tugboat, appeared in “Never Say Never Again,” and the Vulcan Bomber was an underwater set in “Thunderball.” Both lie in about 50 feet of water, accessible by any certified diver.
Other area wrecks include a 130-foot freighter, the Willaurie, that sunk in 55 feet of water, and the David Tucker II, a former patrol boat. Numerous sharks are usually found around the Tucker, since dive operators do shark feedings nearby.
Against The Wall
Coral reef cliffs, known as “walls” to divers, are also plentiful around Nassau. Razorback Wall starts at a depth of about 35 feet, home to an array of sponges, sea fans and schools of spadefish. Coral-lined tunnels lead to the dropoff, which sinks well beyond visible range.
Lyford Cay Wall is another popular spot, also in 35 feet of water — before the drop. Southwest Wall, at the edge of Southwest Reef, presents a coral canyon that goes on for miles and is often topped with sponges; it’s also another spot known for having a lot of sharks swimming around.
Divers who want to get up close and personal with the ocean’s top predators can head to the Runway and Shark Arena. Several dive operators bring divers here for an unforgettable experience — starting a feeding frenzy. Divers kneel on the sand while divemasters ring the dinner bell and chum the waters.
Dozens of Caribbean reef sharks swarm in to take the bait. The sharks generally leave the humans alone, but divers are clad in chainmail, just in case. The truly adventurous can even try hand-feeding the passing sharks.
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