Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park
Exuma Cays is a district of the Bahamas, consisting of over 365 islands (also called cays), the largest of the cays is Great Exuma. Liveaboard trips in this region will depart Nassau to explore the dramatic walls, lush coral reefs and exciting animal encounters of the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park, which is one of the world's most successful marine parks with an area of 455 square kilometres consisting of an array of more than 350 small islands and cays, it was established in 1958 to preserve and maintain the delicate ecological balance of marine life in the Bahamas.
Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park offer a great variety of diving including thrilling shark feeding dives, walls that begin as shallow as 40” and slope over the edge where large pelagics are frequently seen, exhilarating high speed drift dives through the cuts of the cays, blue holes which are banked by patch reefs with huge schools of fish as well as other wonderful sites. Divers can encounter Sharks, Eagle Rays, Stingrays, Groupers, Walls and Reefs with abundant marine life and multiple macro critters here!
Typical dive sites in Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park
Lost Blue Hole : It's one of the most unusual dive sites on the entire globe, the "Lost Blue Hole" has a 30 meters diameter and an astounding depth of 60 meters. The sheltered walls of this remarkable dive site provides a stable habitat for scores of marine species, including Nurse Sharks, Reef Sharks, Angelfish, Snappers, Amberjacks, Yellowtails, Manta Rays, Morays, and Sea Turtles. Because the water in the Blue Hole is sheltered from external currents and waves from the Caribbean Sea, the water is especially calm and has an outstanding clarity .This site is normally visited on the way to or from the Exumas. This is the location of the Caribbean’s first lionfish sighting.
Periwinkle Reef : This is a shallow patch reef that is teaming with fish. The local Nassau operators feed fish here, so sergeant majors and angelfish will approach scuba divers looking for a handout.
Amberjack Reef : A 15 meters patch reef that has prolific fish life. You will see reef sharks and up to 10 large grouper. This dive also has many interesting small critters such as pirate blennies and garden eels. Back on the hang bar scuba divers will be surrounded by a school of 100+ horse eye jack that hang out underneath the yacht.
Austin Smith Wreck : A 27.5m Bahamian Defense Force Cutter that sank in 1995 while being towed to San Salvador to be sunk there as a dive site. Their misfortune was our gain. This intact wreck lies in 18m below the surface.
Barracuda Shoals : This bankside patch reef has huge schools of fish as well as many small critters on the reef and surrounding sand.
Blacktip Wall : Hammerhead sharks have been sighted frequently on this wall. This reef is also where Ned Deloach (Reef books co-author) found the very rare Lemon goby.
Cathedral : This site is part of the Dog Rocks Reef. This reef starts at 10m and slopes off to 15m before dropping straight down into the Exuma Sound. The Cathedral is a large swim-thru where the light filters down from above reflecting off the thousands of silversides that occupy the swim-thru. This swim-thru has many grouper and jacks that come to feed on the silversides. The wall has large stands of black coral and orange elephant ear and tube sponges. Pelagics, eagle rays and sharks are frequently seen off the wall.
Cracked Coral Head : This massive coral head rises 12m off the bottom. Several large swim-thru's make it looked like it is cracked. You'll find black jacks and grouper in the swim-thru's feeding on the schools of silversides.
Jeep Reef : This site has the prettiest reefs, the strong current that sweeps through this cut keeps the reef’s corals very healthy. This dive can only be done at slack tide because of the strong currents. It is in the middle of the Exumas Land & Sea Park, so you will find a very healthy population of fish.
Pillar Wall : It's an excellent wall dive site. It starts at 10m and slopes to 15m before dropping 1,524m to the bottom. There are many caves and crevices. There is a large colony of yellow-head jawfish in the rubble inside the reef.
The Washing Machine : The strong incoming tide of up to 6 mph takes scuba divers thru a narrow cut where water drops off a ledge and then makes a sharp bend to the left. This causes the water to swirl like the water in a washing machine. This swirling water will toss scuba divers head over heels. Scuba divers who wish to avoid being tossed around can stay to the right where you will have a smooth fast trip through the cut. After passing through the cut you will then glide over a large patch reef. Enjoy the ride!
Whale Tail Wal : A great wall just south of Wax Cut. Large parrotfish roam the sand inside the reef while sharks & eagle rays are frequently seen off the wall. If you are lucy, you can even encounter some very unusual freinds here like a Caribbean torpedo ray.
Southwest Eleuthera Area
Cave Rock : A large coral mound surrounded by several smaller coral heads. There are several caves where you can swim from one side to the other. The large variety of corals and fish will amaze you. Hammerhead Sharks have been frequently seen here.
Monolith : Large mounds of coral rise out of the sand at the edge of the wall. They start at 30m and rise to 16m. There is a colony of Garden Eels in the sand next to the mounds.
Jake’s Hole : This tidal blue hole lies in 6m. The highlight of this dive is the vibrant corals surrounding the hole. Because it is very tidal, scuba divers aren’t permitted to enter the hole.
Hole in the Wall : The walls in Southwest Eleuthera are some of the most abrupt & beautiful anywhere, literally going straight down. At this site there is a hole just inside the edge of the wall that drops 4.5m with a swim-thru that heads west before popping out of the wall.
Little San Sal (Half Moon Cay) Area
Cave Reef : This 12m shallow patch reef has several large swim-thrus cutting through the middle.
Empress Pinnacles : This wall dive features 19m high pinnacles coming out of the sand at the edge of the wall. Peligics are seen frequently in the clear water off the wall. There are large stands of black coral on the sides of the pinnacles.