At Aquatic Adventures Scuba Academy we specialize in Aquatic Adventures or Scuba Dive Travel Vacations. Next May we have a live-a-board dive trip scheduled to the Bahamas. Let take a moment and look at what we might see and experience.
The Bahamas Islands:
“The Islands of The Bahamas offer an array of dive experiences like no other destination in the world. There are sunken Spanish galleons, inland blue holes, caves and forest-like coral reefs, teeming with marine life. We offer 25 different dive destinations in our country. Some of the most exciting experiences allow enthusiasts to swim and feed reef sharks, an experience offered nowhere in the world except The Bahamas. More importantly, the people of The Bahamas are as committed to the art of hospitality as they are committed to preserving the unique ecology of our island home.” Says Neil Watson, President of the Bahamas Diving Association. This is what dive travel is all about.
Live-A-Board Diving on the Aqua Cat – May 19-26, 2012
Live-a-board scuba diving and snorkeling in the Bahamas on the Aqua Cat offers a large variety of dives: shark feeding dives, blue holes, high speed drift dives, walls and shallow patch reefs. Each week we will cruise Nassau, Bahamas to the remote islands of the Exumas, and especially the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park. This is the ultimate escape aboard our own private luxury yacht. Fine sand beaches, snorkeling or diving among lemon sharks and sting rays, or hiking the trails of pirates and bootleggers of years gone by. No crowds, nor set itineraries, nothing to do but sit back, relax, and choose from an incredible variety of live-a-board activities including scuba diving, snorkeling, kayaking, fishing, sunbathing, and island exploring.
What will we see?
Due to its great diversity and diving we have made several land based trips to the Bahamas over the years. On these trips the amount and variety of sea life is incredible. An underwater photographer’s dream. Below are a few of the underwater photographs that I have taken with my Sea Life Underwater Camera on previous dive trips.
Beautiful sand beaches mean there is usually pretty sandy bottoms at many of the dive sites. Sandy bottoms are where you will usually find Hermit Crabs walking about. The prolific sea life means lots of fish swimming around the coral formations. Lion fish are from the Pacific and Indian Oceans. Until recently that was the only place to find them while diving. Now they are common place on most dive sites in the Caribbean since they do not have any predators locally to keep their numbers in check.
During the day squirrel fish can be seen near holes in the coral. At night they are found roaming free. Algae grows wildly in the warm clear waters of the Caribbean and if not kept in check they would literally cover the corals, keeping the sunlight from reaching them. Thus the corals would die out. Pin Cushion Urchins each the algae thus keeping it in check. The underwater digital photograph below shows the trail that the Pin Cushion carved in the algae while grazing along. You will also notice the bits of coral and sponge that stick to its spines – these provide camouflage that helps hide it from its predators.
Everyone talks about the fish and even take Fish Identification courses but the corals are often overlooked. The soft corals are very pretty like the rope sponges and sea whips that sway in the current. Many small critters hide in the reef. Christmas Tree worms are small worms that bury themselves into the coral. They stick their tales out to filter feed off the plankton that floats through the water. Barrel sponges are another prolific and popular soft coral. They feed by taking water in through their porous sides. The water then flows through their spongy body allowing it to filter out the food, again plankton, and expelling the water out through it center tube.
One of my favorite reef critters is the Flamingo Tongue. This snail feeds on the Gargonia or other soft corals. It is a very plain white or off white shell but the animal has a very pretty spotted mantel that covers the shell when it is out feeding. Spiny Lobster are cousins of the American Lobster that we see in restaurants. These lobster do not have claws and are scavengers on the reef. During the day they are found near holes in the coral or under ledges. At night they roam free to feed.
The Southern Stingray swims over the sandy portions of the reef searching for food. It eyes are on the top of its head and the mouth on the bottom. It uses smell to ferret out small worms and crustaceans in the sand. Stingrays are related to sharks in that they are both cartilaginous – they have skeletons of cartilage not bone. Caribbean Reef sharks are just one of the many sharks that are plentiful throughout the Bahamas. These beautiful creatures are majestic and fun to see cruising by.
. It will not only be a great diving vacation but an opportunity to work on that diving continuing education like underwater photography course, Aware Fish Identification or Boat Diver. Since there are so many night dives conducted while on a live-a-board dive vacation the PADI Night Diver Specialty is also a good one to work on.