The winter weather
pattern in The Bahamas is for a series of regular weekly cold fronts to pass
through on their way southeast from the United States. This has required us
to find protected anchorages for two to three days each week while these
pass. The winds
during these frontal passages have reached 35 knots. This pattern results in
good weather "windows" of around three to four days for moving further south so we
have been very much behind schedule. Also the water has been quite cold up to the
middle of March, but as we reached further south this is improving.
On the Banks side of
the islands, the water is too shallow to make a worthwhile dive and on many
occasions it has been too rough on the deep Exuma Sound side to safely
anchor the dinghy. Most of the diving action is at the entry to the cuts
between the islands, but here the currents are very strong and diving is
only safe at slack tide.
However, the weather is now improving, the water is getting warmer, we are
becoming more confident in finding interesting places where we can take the
boat, so hopefully we will soon have a diving page on this site.
We bought new Zeagle Stiletto BCDs and 2 additional high pressure dive tanks
to add to the 2 already on board. The compressor was rebuilt before we left
Fort Lauderdale, so we are ready to go.
Rum Cay: We managed to find the one surviving place mat from the
defunct dive resort restaurant which shows the best dive sites around Rum Cay,
reportedly some of the best diving in The Bahamas. Unfortunately these were
printed without GPS coordinates, so we set off in Dream On to locate a
particular reef by use of the depth sounder. This proved to be more
difficult than anticipated. However, we anchored well offshore in 35 feet,
with the depth sounder showing a significant drop off. It was not the reef
we had hoped to find and the coral only started at 20 metres.
In a subsequent dive on some shallower coral, we managed to drown the
waterproof camera. So there are no dive photographs for this page.
Conception Island: A national park with a
300 foot wall to dive.
We joined up with John and Mikki Powers from the yacht Wanda for this dive.
We went round in two
dinghies and moored to a mooring buoy which has been installed there to
protect the reef.
reef started at 18 metres and the main coral heads continued down to over 30
metres. We were immediately inspected by a large Caribbean
Reef Shark which spent the whole dive with us. There were large coral heads,
some with tunnels through from the shallower sand leading to the deeper west
wall. There was a good selection of fish, but visibility was not great. Due
to the depth it was a short dive.
Cat Island: We took the dinghy out of our mooring in Hawk's Nest
Creek and moored to one of the dive site mooring buoys over Twilight Reef,
just off Hawk's Nest Point on the southwest corner of the Island. This was
very similar to the Conception dive in that the coral heads start at around
18 metres. No sharks on this dive probably because of poor visibility. A
good selection of fish and coral.
Abacos: Although The Abacos claims many good
dive sites, any that are over 8 metres are on the Atlantic shore, where it
is impossible to anchor Dream On securely. Also, if Dream On were anchored
inside on the shallow banks, there would still be no secure anchorage for
the dinghy while diving. To dive safely on the Atlantic shores requires at
least three people, so that one can remain with either the boat or the
So, we dived on a well known snorkeling spot at Sandy Cay. Although the
maximum depth on sand was only 8 metres, this made for a secure anchorage
for Dream On with the wind holding our swim platform right over the edge of
the reef, which rose to around 2 metres below the surface. Despite the
shallow depth, we had an obvious advantage over the snorkelers above us and
it was an enjoyable dive. The water was very clear with a number of eagle
rays, and a good variety of fish and coral.