Our guests often ask us what are the best dive sites in the Bahamas. It’s a tricky question and, just like a parent, you really can’t have a favourite. Or more truthfully, it depends on the day. It can depend on the conditions, which marine life decides to show, and what you might personally want from a dive. But if you ask, we will give you the best answer we can.
The Bahamas has everything a diver can wish for. There are shark encounters that will get your heart pumping (or possibly your wetsuit requiring a good cleaning). There are breathtaking dives into blue holes. Finally, there are steep walls, underwater caves, coral reefs teeming with life, and spectacular wreck dives. So how can you choose the best dive sites in the Bahamas from all of that?
Well, how about a ‘best in class’?
Best For The Bitey Bitey
Tiger Beach is not really a single site. It’s actually a 20 square mile area of ocean located 30 nautical miles off the West End of Grand Bahama. It is best known for REALLY close encounters with tiger, great hammerhead, Caribbean reef, and lemon sharks. What makes it special is that all this happens at a shallow depth on a white sand bottom. Tiger Beach is the ultimate site for photographers and videographers to get stunning images of these apex predators.
Once underwater you will usually meet pregnant female tiger sharks. These individuals remain in these shallow waters for several months on end. This means your dive crew can get really familiar with these ladies and consider them as friends. During a trip to Tiger Beach, you are likely to get to know, and discern, specific individuals like Emma and Princess.
The theory is that female tiger sharks, after mating in the deep waters, seek the protection of the shallows to fulfill their pregnancy. Where these ladies go to give birth is not known, but it is being researched as we write.
But it’s not all about the sharks. Well, not for everyone. For variety, Tiger Beach is also home to a multitude of reef networks, mini walls, and of course the continental shelf. The drop off here dip down to more than 600metres/2,000ft. You’ll be pleased to know though, that our average dives in this area are no deeper than 30metres/100ft.
Have a look at this video to experience Tiger Beach:
Holey Moley: Best Blue Hole
There is no shortage of blue holes in the Bahamas. In fact Andros Island alone has more than 200, both inland and offshore.
On our Wrecks, Blue Holes and Shark itineraries, we visit “King Kong’s Blue Hole”. Situated off Andros Island, the hole is also known as the “Great Blue Hole” in Andros. King Kong’s Blue Hole is the second deepest ocean blue hole in the Bahamas.
The entrance to hole is at 12 metres depth and, because it’s connected to those inland, it is affected by the tides. As you can imagine, this can be a rather a weird feeling. At Master Liveaboards, we make sure we dive it at the right time. Dive at the wrong time and the blue holes just act as a massive siphon. This means the hole is “blowing” and “sucking” with the tides.
This is not as much fun as it might sound.
The Best For Going Deep
Mount Olympus is a very large underwater coral pinnacle located offshore of Grand Bahama Island. Looking on the map, it’s on the outer reaches of the Tiger Beach area. As the name suggests, this site really is the “home of the gods”.
The peak of the coral pinnacle starts at about 18 metres (60ft) and drops off to over 450 metres (1,500ft). Although Mount Olympus is best explored as a deep or technical dive, there is plenty to see at recreational depth. Awe-inspiring canyons of coral dwarf the scuba divers. As a reef dive, this site is definitely one of the best dive sites in the Bahamas.
As an extra cherry on the stunning cake, we see some really special things on Mount Olympus. Occasionally there are hammerheads, manta rays, dolphins, turtles, and even tiger sharks cruising along the wall.
A stunning deepy-deepy dive!
Best For Picture Postcard Diving
Bimini lays claim to one of the best dive sites in the Bahamas. Surprisingly though, it’s not one famed for great hammerhead experiences.
Hawksbill Reef is a stunning and shallow reef, running roughly from north to south and parallel to North Bimini’s shoreline. The reef is made up of vibrant coral heads scattered upon an impeccably white sandy bottom.
The main stars here are usually the reef’s namesake – the Hawksbill Turtles resting on the bottom. But also expect to see angelfish, Bermuda chubs, French grunts, Creole wrasses, and moray eels.
The Best For Metal Heads
Theo’s wreck is a 70m-long cargo ship that was purposely sunk off Freeport in 1982. Forty years later, she’s still resting peacefully at 30m on her port side.
The vessel is now covered in yellow and orange cup corals, large gorgonians, and red sponges. As you would expect, over the past three decades a vast array of marine life has moved in! Visibility is excellent most of the time and you may be able to spot larger animals passing into the blue. Even if you are not lucky, the wreck is absolutely stunning and combines the best of wreck and reef diving.