The Islands of the Bahamas are well known for their ocean adventures. Made up of 700 islands and 2,000 cays, The Bahamas are scattered across over 100,000 square miles of the western Atlantic Ocean. From approximately 70 miles off the coast of West Palm Beach, Florida, this island archipelago extends 750 miles southward to the northern Caribbean. With great weather all year, warm waters, fine beaches, and teeming coral reefs, the Bahamas offer endless delights for outdoor enthusiasts, especially SCUBA divers. Because of the number and diversity of shark species found throughout the marine protected waters of the Bahamas, shark divers have been flocking here for years.
The islands in the Bahamas are generally very flat. The highest point in the entire archipelago, Mount Alvernia (Como Hill) on Cat Island, is only 206 feet above sea level. Despite the 2,700 islands and cays, only about 30 are inhabited. Some are so small, they are mere boulders that even disappear with the rise of the ocean tide. Some are long and thin, stretching for many miles. Others are home to thousands of people. Most of the islands are deserted and home to pristine beaches and tropical forests that remain untouched by people.
Tourism has become the major source of revenue for the Bahamas, but the amazing natural beauty of the islands has managed to remain unspoiled. In earlier days, unrestricted exploitation resulted in a lot of damage in Nassau on New Providence Island. That has since changed and today the people of the islands understand that the unique beauty of their archipelago must be preserved. Conservation is the mindset now, and many conservation groups currently work in the Bahamas.
There are several more well-known and popular places in the Bahamas. Nassau, which is the largest city in the nation, is located on New Providence Island. Paradise Island, a long, narrow barrier island, is connected to Nassau by a toll bridge. Freeport, the second largest city in the island chain, is on the Grand Bahama Island. Beyond these cities lies another world: the Out Islands of Abaco, Andros, the Berry Islands, Bimini, Cat Island, Crooked Island, Eleuthera, the Exumas, Long Island, and so on.
In a nation completely surrounded by the clearest of waters in the world, there are plenty of water sports and ocean adventures. Before you immerse yourself in all the water adventures, remind yourself that the Bahamas offer plenty of opportunity to explore a variety of different habitats. Sharks can be found in all of the waters of the Bahamas and gained protection there in 2011.
You can expect gorgeous sunny weather with fairly constant temperatures throughout the year. The high season for travel runs from December to April when the folks in the northern hemisphere run from the chilly temperatures at home. Plane tickets tend to be the highest during this season. Rates usually drop during the May to September period which is affectionally called the shoulder season. You can get the best prices during the low season from October December.
Shark diving encounters are also greatly affected by time of year and season. Epic Diving takes advantage of the prime period for a number of marquis species in the Bahamas. We spend the fall and winter (September – January) with the tiger sharks off the West End of Grand Bahama Island. During the tiger shark dives, you will also see reef, lemon, and nurse sharks, as well as the occasional great hammerhead. Between December and March we head to Bimini where we find the elusive great hammerhead sharks, along with nurse and bull sharks. Once we wrap up diving with the hammerhead sharks, we move to Cat Island, the absolute best place on earth to have regular reliable encounters with oceanic whitetip sharks, an increasingly rare pelagic species. During these blue water encounters, divers may also see silky and dusky sharks, as well as occasional blue sharks and blue and white marlin.