Bahamas Scuba Diving and Snorkeling
At Small Hope Bay Lodge on Andros Island, Bahamas, we have been introducing divers and snorkelers to the Andros Barrier Reef for almost half a century.
Whether you're a beginner who wants to try scuba diving or snorkeling for the first time, or an experienced diver seeking a new thrill, let us show you our exciting underwater world. We know Andros diving like nobody else.
We've been exploring the Andros Barrier Reef since 1960. One of the world's longest barrier reefs, and the second largest and most unexplored reef system in the Atlantic, the Andros Barrier Reef offers a dazzling variety of geological and coral formations.
There are shallow reefs beginning at ten feet - perfect for snorkeling or shallow diving - to 90 feet or deeper off the wall. If you don't want to go that deep, we're happy to accommodate you.
All our multi-level dives provide the option of supervised diving at shallower depths if you prefer. Small Hope is the first dive resort in the Caribbean and has been run by the Birch family since its inception.
The Fantasia Snorkel Sea Safari is a world of fun for the whole family! Snorkel, slide and rock climb all on this amazing 72 ft double deck catamaran, the only one of its kind in the Caribbean.
Snorkel on the surface of the shallow reefs teaming with multi-colored fish. Take a photo with an abundance of friendly school's of fish. Slide down the 30ft open straight slide. Climb up the 30 ft rock climbing wall. Sip a refreshing beverage and have lunch from the grill. All while you cruise along the shore line of the Lucayan Canal.
Departure Point: Tour departs from your hotel lobby
Departure Time: 10:30 am and 2 pm
Ever wanted to snorkel with sharks? On this adventure you'll swim with schools of colorful fish in the shallows of Nassau's famous reefs. Then, if your fellow passengers have the nerve, it's off to snorkel with one of the most magnificent and misunderstood creatures of the sea - sharks.
Just minutes after leaving Nassau you'll be snorkeling through an undersea extravaganza of living coral and tropical marine life. Your captain will choose two of the clearest and calmest locations on the day to begin your snorkeling adventure.
Then, if the weather permits, you'll go for a snorkel with your guide as
sharks swim calmly below you. Or, if you prefer, you can watch the sharks being
fed from the boat. Sharks are one of the most fascinating marine animals you
will ever see, and on this cruise you'll see them up close and personal in
Children must be accompanied by a parent or guardian
Departure Point: Tours depart from Southwest Bay Street, Nassau or near the cruise ship terminal.
Departure Time: 9:30 am and 1:30 pm
Sample Dive Sites in the Bahamas
Bakers Reef Dives
A beautiful, ancient reef system that begins at the surface
and immediately drops to 60 feet. Caverns, overhangs and swim-throughs
One of the marine preserve areas in Abaco. Beautiful coral
with sharks, rays, and fish just waiting for your arrival.
Located on the very Southern end of the island. This
unspoiled area is only ever seen by local divers and Abaco Dive Adventures.
Make sure to bring your camera and have the batteries fully charged. You
will need it!!
Blue Hole is called "Farside" (you must be on the far side of crazy if you go to the bottom (320 feet). Open water divers can dive in this cave environment without being cave certified. It's an awesome dive that you will never forget. Can be done in any weather because it is inland.
There are many caves on the island. They are spectacular with highly decorated rooms that are the size of football stadiums. Many different challenges await the cave certified.
Explore underwater wrecks like the Debra K in 130 feet of water,
the San Jacinto in 20 - 50 Feet of water, and the wreck of the Guana Cay
dingy in 60 Feet of water.
Abaco, Bahamas also has some of the most beautiful inland blue holes in the
world. The Magical Blue Hole is well lit and decorated with huge
The dive sites in Bimini are in two major geographical areas,
the Bimini (North &
South Bimini) area and the Cat Cay Area.
Little Caverns -
Max Depth: 80 ft.
Little Caverns is the northernmost mooring site on the deep reef line off the western shore of North Bimini (other sites close by include Moray Alley and Blacktip Reef). The reef line runs parallel with the island approximately 1.5 miles offshore. On a good day it only takes about 12 minutes to get on site once you leave Bimini Harbor.
Little Caverns has a depth range of 60 ft on its shallow, inside border and 78 ft along its outside border. Like other reefs along North Bimini, it has a well defined sand plateau designating its eastern and western borders. There are however no such clearly defined north and south borders as the reefline runs continuously for the better part of one-half mile.
The bottom consists of isolated coral heads dispersed about a gently sloping sandy bottom. The coral occupies about 70% of the white sandy bottom. The coral heads themselves have grown quite tall ranging in height from 10 to 14 ft.
One of the first things we tell divers about Little Caverns is not to spend a lot of time looking for Caverns! Because, there really aren't any caverns to speak of! Why then the name you might ask. Good question. First of all, when I first got here to Bimini in 1984, the site was already named. Not one to fiddle with tradition and history we never entertained the idea of changing the name. The name was explained to me however like this.
As far as the marine life goes, here's my very basic rule of thumb. The deeper the reef, the larger the fish. The fish tend to be swimming individually or in pairs as opposed to large schools, and, for every rule there are numerous exceptions. Little Caverns is a great place to spot Blacktip and Caribbean Reef Sharks, large Groupers and Snappers, as well as the occasional Spotted Eagle Ray. Its proximity to the Gulf Stream (less than 1/2 mile) also makes it common to see Amberjacks, Horse Eyed Jacks, and other smaller pelagics. All in all, it's more likely that you will run out of dive time before you run out of things to see on Little Caverns.
Victory Reef -
Depth Range: 35' - 90'
If you've spent any time at all diving with us off of Bimini, chances are you've put in a little bottom time on the Bimini Barge and also probably the Sapona. Two of Bimini's most well known wrecks. You might not however be familiar with another of Bimini's great wreck sites. The Bimini Trader.
The Bimini Trader is a 90 ft long wreck sitting in 85 ft. of water about 3/4 of a mile off shore of the southern tip of North Bimini. The eddying Gulf Stream current often presents challenging dive conditions similar to those found on the Bimini Barge.
History of the Bimini Trader Wreck
During the 1980's the Bimini Trader was an active freight vessel carrying supplies back and forth between Bimini and Miami. By 1990 the vessel had fallen into disrepair and had been left tied up to the sea wall in between the Chalk's Seaplane Ramp and the Fisherman's Paradise Restaurant. That is where it remained, undisturbed, until a fateful day in August of 1992. The day that Hurricane Andrew came to visit.
Even though the ships owners chained her to the sea wall in preparation for the storm, the force of Hurricane Andrew proved too much for the vessels restraints. The storm broke her free from her bow shackles and the ship spun around, grounding herself on the Chalks Seaplane ramp. After the storm had passed, that is where the people of Bimini found the Bimini Trader the following morning.
The Mysterious Anchors of the Bimini Trader
After diving the Bimini Trader a dozen times or so back in 92, the Bimini Undersea staff began exploring the surrounding area of the wreck on days when the current was not very strong. One day, we found something quite surprising.
Roughly 30 yards south of the main wreck site, leaning against a rock ledge was found a large anchor which appears to date back to the 1800s. We were so amazed at finding the large coral encrusted anchor that it took us another dive or two to discover that a second, smaller anchor was laying in the sand not far away. There is no record of a specific wreck in that area although many ships sank in the Bimini area during the 1800s. Bimini was never in any main treasure routes although supply ships frequented her waters on a regular basis.
Hawksbill Reef -
Depth Range: 42 ft - 48 ft.
The main attraction to Hawksbill Reef is the fish life. There are a lot of
fish on this reef! Both in variety and sheer numbers. As a medium depth dive
you're going to see medium sized fish. Some swimming in schools. Some
individually. Grouper, Snapper, Schools of Chubs, Queen Angels, French
Angels, and during season, a favorite hangout for both Loggerhead and
Hawksbill (its namesake) Turtles. Just an overall outstanding dive.
Bull Run -
Max Depth: 60 ft.
The Shallow Reef - sites include Silver Reef, Sanctuary Reef, Treasure Reef and Fish Farm
The shallow reef is full of colorful fish and coral that rises from twenty feet almost to the surface. It is a great place for the novice diver to learn scuba, as well as a nice, leisurely second dive for the more experienced diver. Night dives here are absolutely breathtaking. Octopus, shrimp, crab, lobster, crinoids and a whole host of other nocturnal reef life can be seen in the glow of your light. Don't miss it.
The Medium Reef - sites include Angel Camp, Badger and
The Deep Reef - sites include Pygmy Caves, Tunnels, Gail's Grotto, and Lady of Lucaya
The deep reef has grown into a complex maze of canyons, tunnels, and secret rooms for you to explore.
Grand Bahama is home to Shark Junction, one of the world's first and best shark encounters. Imagine kneeling on the ocean floor, when out of the distant blue, several large Caribbean Reef sharks appear! They slowly circle towards you, always keeping one eye on you as they get closer and closer. Suddenly, they turn and disappear, only to reappear moments later from another direction. This is a dive you will tell stories about for a long time to come.
You may also visit and explore a number of wrecks. These include the world famous Theo's Wreck, a two hundred and thirty foot freighter found in a hundred feet of water. Come see all the creatures that have made this sunken ship their home.
Cave Dives - caverns include Lucayan Caves National Park, Devil's Face in Hawksbill Creek and Mermaids Lair
Advanced divers may also explore the blue holes and caverns of Grand Bahama. Recently Ben's Cavern has become available to us. It is a spectacular sinkhole located in the Lucayan Caves National Park. Access is limited to four divers every other day. The cave is closed during the summer months, at which time migratory bats nurse their young here.
Near Kamalame is the third longest barrier reef in the world
it is just a mile from our shores offering divers and snorkelers the perfect
opportunity to enjoy the warm Caribbean waters while experiencing an
exceptional underwater adventure.
We have sites to suit every level of diver, from beginner to thrill-seeker. Shallow-water wrecks and coral gardens appeal to novice divers and those who enjoy extended bottom-time. The coral canyons at The Plateau (a 10 acre area so special it was featured in National Geographic magazine) are perfect for relaxing dives, and are popular with photographers.
The drift-dive at the Current Cut can either be a high-speed thrill-ride or a beautiful slow drift through schools of eagle rays (just let us know which you prefer!). For the shark addicts among you, we have sites where we regularly see sharks in their natural state (no shark feeding here).
There are more than 60 dive sites on the regular Small Hope Bay Lodge schedule, including colorful shallow reefs, coral gardens, wreck dives, breathtaking blue holes and stunning wall dives at the edge of the continental shelf, where the Tongue of the Ocean plunges to 6,000 feet.