Last year we organized a trip to Andros, this year we organized a trip to The Exumas.
We organized and booked our trip through Stuart Cove’s. This meant that we had to be up early to make our way from the East of Nassau all the way to the South West. Departure time from the dock was scheduled at 7.30am and I didn’t want to be the one who caused us to be late. Though as with most things in the Bahamas we never actually leave on time, so around 8am we left and started our 45 mile journey to the Exumas.
Unfortunately, because Stuart’s dive shop is located at the West-end of Nassau and they island is about 20 miles long, that meat that almost half of our journey to the Exumas was actually spent crossing the length of Nassau. Oh, well, if only there was a dive shop on the East-end that would organise trips like this.
The plan was to do three dives. The first two dives would be wall dives and the third dive would be a drift dive. It took just over two hours to get to our first dive site: Ocean Drop, and we splashed in at 10:15. Karin and I headed off together, with no plans to have any additional buddies with us. A buddy team followed us, one of them I recognised and knew was a good diver, the other I had no idea who he was. 10 minutes into the dive he told me he had half a tank. I was livid. This was a chance for me to relax, explore and enjoy the dive and I had to deal with a diver who was out of his depth. I had to abort my dive and take him back because he probably couldn’t find his way back. Karin and I returned him to the bottom of the boat and left him to do his safety stop with his buddy. We then continued on and did some more exploring.
The dive site was beautiful. The corals and sponges were fantastic! I was heart broken that the incompetent diver had ruined part of my dive. There were fan corals as big as a dining room table. We came across an old discarded anchor line and the corals coming off of that were spectacular. Swimming along a small gorge we came spotted a lionfish and a spiny lobster squaring off. It was a marvellous sight.
Soon it was time to head back to the boat and complete our safety stop. We managed a total dive of around 55 minutes, which wasn’t too bad seeing as we had descended to over 26 metres.
When we got back on the boat I spoke to the incompetent diver and told him that he needs to think carefully about his diving, and although his actions didn’t cause an accident there was the potential for things to go very wrong. I also spoke to the dive guide and told him to make sure that when we went on the next dives that he was to be part of his group.
We decided that rather than heading to the second dive site immediately we went to a small cay to have lunch. Anchoring in the bay we were able to walk from the boat to the shore. On the shore there were iguanas. I had seen them in San Salvador when I had been there in August but this time they weren’t kept in a pen they were free to roam around. They are quite interesting creatures and it was funny to watch the run around the beach and fight over the pieces of apple that we tossed them.
We were back on the boat by 1pm and headed to our next dive site: Eagle Ray Reef. This was another wall dive and Karin and I had no hesitations about diving without anyone else. We followed the a gorge down to the wall, passing through the numerous swim-throughs along the way. The view along the wall was staggering, almost as good as the first. We actually descended down to 40m and looking back up towards to the surface took my breath away. We ascended and swam through a gully, I could have sworn that the corals and sponges made it look like a fairy forest. It was breathtaking. Our NDL was running low so we headed back to the boat.
Soon we were on our way again and it was time to get back into the water for our third and final dive of the day, a drift dive. Or as it quickly became known as “The Italian Drift Dive.” The dive site was called Hammerhead Gultch and we were hoping that we might see one. We anchored and our dive guide jumped in to check the movement of the current. He suggested that we had anchored at the end of the drift and that we should move the boat North. The boat moved, we jumped in, and the direction of the current had changed. This meant that we spent most of the dive swimming against the current, and when you are towing a SMB that makes for some difficult swimming. I decided to relinquish the SMB and put it away, it was a shallow dive so a slow ascent up to collect it wasn’t going to do too much. We saw some beautiful corals, sponges, and sea life. I finally saw a Reef Butterflyfish and we saw a fantastic spotted moray at the end. There had been a trip the previous weekend and someone had lost a GoPro, and as luck would have it one of our divers found it.
It was a great day all things considered. We finally got back to the dock at Stuart Cove’s around 6:30pm. Then it was home for some well deserved rest, but not before stopping at KFC for some fired chicken.
My only regret of the dive was not bringing my underwater camera with me. It would have been great to get some shots of the coral and sponges on the first dive. Next time I am going to remember to bring it.