This Easter I travelled to Nassau, the capital city of the Bahamas with two lovely South African chicks. The city has an estimated population of 274,400. To put this into perspective, Grand Cayman has similar land mass and has approximately 60,000 individuals. Sadly this is apparent in the amount of litter found on the streets down town but the tropical ocean colours still shine through. We stayed in a beautiful apartment with a garden in Bay View Suites, south of Paradise Island.
For our first underwater experience in the Bahamas, we went wreck and reef diving with Bahama Divers. The wind was howling and created a bumpy ride out to the dive sites on the north of Paradise Island. The water was a nippy 24°C – Very happy I brought my 3mm wetsuit. I was surprised at the amount of life found on these dives but also sad about the lack of coral cover. However I enjoyed the eerie underwater atmosphere and there was a large reef shark on our first dive.
After our morning dives we spent the day exploring Paradise Island. This involved wondering into Atlantis ‘trying’ to get to the beach and witnessing dozens of rays, sharks and turtles in captivity. This was an incredibly sad sight to see considering how hard it is to find such species in their natural environment. Finally reaching cabbage beach unnoticed, we had a leisurely stroll along the ocean front. The temperature was just warm enough to be comfortable lying on the beach wrapped in a sarong. On our way back to Bay View Suites we stumbled upon the One&Only Ocean Club which had admirable gardens with a beautiful wedding setting which would fit the dream of any teenage girl.
Stuart Cove is a world renowned shark diving centre located on the South coast of Nassau and offers a close up encounter with magnificent and misunderstood caribbean reef sharks (Carcharhinus perezii). We did “Shark Wall” and “The Arena” dive sites and were not disappointed. The wall seemed much more natural with curious sharks following our group of divers knowing that food was soon to follow. The Arena is where the sharks are fed and is a much more chaotic experience. I found it very similar to the infamous Kona Manta dive in the Big Island of Hawaii except with a spear and bait box full of fish. The guest divers form a circle around the professional shark feeder as he sticks the spear into the bait box and begins to feed the sharks individually. He wears armour and a helmet for protection.
We ventured over the Sidney Poitier bridge to explore the local fishing village down town. Thousands of conch shells glistened in the sun and the smell of freshly cut nassau grouper filled the air. We met many friendly individuals on our walk and relaxed on Junkanoo beach before heading to the infamous Arawak Cay (the fish fry) on West Bay Street to experience the “The true taste of paradise.”
We ended the trip with a beautiful sunset on Easter Sunday. In the morning we had a brisk walk to Starbucks in Atlantis so that Danielle could finally have her coffee fix and checked out the fancy yachts sitting in the Marina.
The flight back to Cayman was picturesque. My eyes beamed out the window as we flew over Cuba. I would love to go back some day and visit other islands such as Grand Bahama, Exuma, Abaco and Inagua.
25°4′N 77°20′W 13-16/April/2017