Located 35 miles southeast of Nassau, The Exumas consists of 365 cays (small islands) that are strung out across more than 193 km of shimmering emerald ocean. It is a true tropical paradise where you're more likely to see swimming pigs, wild iguanas, dolphins & nurse sharks, and mostly uninhabited cays, some of which are owned by celebrities such as Johnny Depp and Tim McGraw. The islands that make up the beautiful Exumas boast pristine coral reefs, amazing underwater caves, and magnificent blue holes, offering endless opportunities for scuba diving. You'll find forest-like coral reefs teeming with colorful fish species, along with an open invitation to swim with the reef sharks. Explore what else makes scuba diving in the Exumas an amazing dive adventure in the text below.
# Explore the Amazing Reef Sites
The Exumas are the ultimate escape for reef divers as it is home to pristine lush reefs and shallow coral reefs, where you can encounter exciting marine life. Many of the sites are accessible with snorkeling gear, but all make for better diving opportunities with scuba.
1.The Amberjack Reef – A patch reef that houses several types of sharks including Caribbean Reef sharks and nurse sharks, and also a number of large black groupers. You can also expect to spot graceful eagle rays.
2. Jeep Reef – Located in the middle of the Exuma Cays Land & Sea Park, this dive site has been named so because of its coral-encrusted Jeep. Diving is possible at slack tide because of the strong currents. Here you will spot a very healthy population of fish.
3.Gazebo, Lobster & Turtle Reefs – Situated close to each other along the Northeast side of Stocking Island, these reefs are surrounded by white sand in depths of 18 feet and 35 feet. Nurse sharks and yellow stingrays are common sightings at these dive locations, and filefish, cowfish & trunkfish are just a few more of the tropical fish you can expect to see while here.
4.Elizabeth Reef – A site that is perfect for divers and snorkelers alike, Elizabeth reef reaches a maximum depth of 30 feet. The topography of the coral, and regular sightings of Eagle Rays at this site makes it a favorite reef dive destination among visitors.
5.Dog and Pup Reef – Dog and Pup reefs are located in Dog and Puppy Cay, and consists of ridges of shoals & sand banks. While diving these reef sites, you can see large schools of French Grunts, snapper, porcupine pufferfish and large grouper.
6.Dog Rocks – This reef site starts at 35 feet and drops straight into the abyss. It is the best reef site to discover black coral as well as tube sponges and orange elephant ear. You can also find a variety of fish species here.
#Discover Tidal Blue Holes
The blue holes of the Exumas are unique geological features as they are the only tidal “blue” holes in the world. Blue Holes are underwater caves; their deep blue colored water contrasts with the surrounding light blue shallow water. Blue holes around the Exumas include:
1.Angelfish Blue Hole – This blue hole reaches a maximum diving depth of 92 feet and is home to a school of eagle rays, hose-eye jacks, blue parrotfish, and turtles.
2.Mystery Cave – Is a 400-foot-deep blue hole, that starts at 15 feet and suddenly drops off to heart-pounding 100 feet. Mystery Cave extends beneath Stocking Island and the surrounding area. Its intrinsic cavern network is home to turtles, eagle rays, and a number of beautiful tropical fish.
3.Crab Cay Crevasse – It is situated near Angelfish Blue Hole, and is approximately 30-100 feet in depth. What makes this cave unique is that there are three different entrances with maximum diving depth of 100 feet. Crab Cray Crevasse is a prime location to view crabs, anemones, spiny lobsters, and round sting rays.
#Austin Smith Wreck and "Thunderball Grotto" are a must-see
• The Austin Smith was a 90-foot Bahamian Defense Force patrol boat that was destined to be sunk as an artificial reef off San Salvador. The ship sits at 60 feet below the water surface and boasts marine species such as barracudas, eels, grouper, angelfish, parrotfish, wrasse, damselfish, numerous invertebrates, and fire corals. You will also find two other wreck dive sites – Comberbach Wreck and The Tug.
• Thunderball Grotto is located just west of Staniel Cay. The mystique of this fantastic underwater cave system is increased by hidden entrances and exotic marine life such as colored coral reefs and fish, like yellow-tail snappers, angel fish, sergeant majors and many more.
The Exumas offer wonderful diving opportunities for divers of all levels. Charter a Luxury Yacht dive boat with a highly trained dive instructor to set out on an underwater adventure. Keep the above mentioned Exumas scuba diving sites on your to do list while planning your vacation itinerary in the diving mecca of the Caribbean!