FREEPORT/GRAND BAHAMA ISLAND
 
Header

 
 
Text and Photography by Rick Frehsee
hether you are an avid diver, fisherman, golfer, gambler, shopper, night clubber or beach lover-or if you are a combination of all these pursuits-Grand Bahama Island may well be the perfect destination for you! Grand Bahama is the fourth largest island in The Bahamas, after Andros, Eleuthera and Great Abaco, and the second most popular tourist island, after New Providence. Lying only 55 miles due east of Palm Beach, Florida, and a 30 minute flight from Miami, Ft. Lauderdale or Palm Beach, GBI is easy and accessible for short-term visits. (The island can also be reached by way of jet hydrofoil from Palm Beach or cruise ship out of Miami or Ft. Lauderdale.) However, the many charms and attributes of the expanding Freeport/Lucaya region will appeal to those who plan an extended stay. With excellent shopping; world-class nightlife and gambling; watersports that include specialty diving with sharks or dolphins, windsurfing, sailing, personal watercraft or parasailing; and with beaches as beautiful as they come, you may never want to leave. More bustling than the Out Islands, more relaxed than Nassau, Grand Bahama achieves a perfect compromise between an energy driven and a lazy day vacation.
Grand Bahama achieves the perfect compromise between high energy and relaxation.
There are actually two Grand Bahamas to experience, and visitors can easily transition from one to the other. The twin cities of Freeport and neighboring waterfront Lucaya provide the developed tourism attractions. Visitors are drawn here by resort hotels, casinos and nightclubs, golfing, duty-free shopping and watersports. This year brings major changes to the waterfront, with the addition of more than 1,600 guest rooms and the completion of the Lucayan Resort. Despite this boom in development, just outside of Freeport/Lucaya is the possibility of many stimulating ecotourism adventures. Most of the eastern and western sectors of the 96-mile long island remain intriguingly natural. Therein lies the charm of Grand Bahama-diving, kayaking, horseback riding, bird watching and hiking by day; gambling, clubbing and shopping by night. Grand Bahama is a mecca for scuba divers, lured here by the specialty attractions of dolphin dives, shark dives and notable shipwrecks, in addition to the standard Bahamas attractions of fabulous reefs and walls.
The Dolphin Experience
Grand Bahama Dive Operators
Grand Bahama Scuba
(242) 373-6775
www.grandbahamascuba.com
Sunn Odyssey Divers
866-OK2-DIVE
www.sunnodysseydivers.com
UNEXSO
(800) 992-3483
www.unexso.com
Xanadu Undersea Adventures
(800) 327-8150
www.nealwatson.com/freeport.html
Swimmers and scuba divers interacting with dolphins is a special marine experience pioneered at Grand Bahama by UNEXSO (short for the Underwater Explorers Society), a prestigious multiplex dive operation located next to Port Lucaya. The dolphin facility at Sanctuary Bay is about two miles east of Port Lucaya. A ferry takes you from Port Lucaya to the bay for your choice of a variety of programs. You can observe and photograph the dolphins, participate in a swim with the dolphins, sign up for an assistant trainer program or experience scuba diving with the dolphins in open water. For certified divers, this last program may well be the highlight of your diving experiences to date! Your support boat leaves from Sanctuary Bay with dolphin trainers aboard, followed alongside by two leaping Bottlenose Dolphins. On site, in the clear, reef-lined water almost directly offshore, guest divers settle on the sand bottom 45 feet deep. The dolphins and their trainers make the rounds, giving each diver plenty of time to touch, feed and photograph the dolphins. Just watching these graceful creatures frolicking in front of you is a nearly unbelievable experience, but the final reward is truly unforgettable-a dolphin kiss!

Shark Diving
A completely different reaction results from Grand Bahama's other big animal dive-a swim with sharks. This is a well orchestrated and professionally staffed dive that involves a minimum number of guests, a shark feeder, safety divers and videographer. After the boat is on station, divers enter the water, with the staff wearing protective chain mail suits. From the surface, you can see sharks slowly circling below. Swimming to the bottom, 45 feet down, guests are then arranged in a semicircle, knees on the sand. When everyone has settled into position, the feeder begins pulling fish out of a plastic container. Nearly 20 Caribbean Reef Sharks, some more than eight feet long, swim in circles or figure-eight patterns, with the feeder being the focal point. Amazingly, the sharks pay no direct attention to the other divers, but they do occasionally short-cut through the group, producing dramatic close encounters. The whole experience is unreal, very exciting at first, then a straightforward learning opportunity; one of the most unique diving experiences on the planet.

Wrecks
Grand Bahama's dive offerings include fabulous reefs.
Wreck diving adds to the special character of Grand Bahama underwater. The major attraction is Theo's Wreck, a huge, 238 foot long, Norwegian freighter, intentionally sunk as a dive site in 1982. The great wreck lies on her port side at a maximum depth of 100 feet. Bow chains, a giant prop and rudder, holds and companionways-all combine to create a virtual underwater studio for the photographer.
Two small wrecks located closeby are less intensive, but interesting experiences. Both are comparatively modern vessels, intact and resting on the shallower mid-reef plateau. Poppa Doc is a 50-foot, steel hulled vessel in 45 feet of water. The tugboat Jose rests in 65 feet of water closer to the reef front. Both are easy, relaxing dive sites. Grand Bahama's unique marine attractions also include numerous blue holes and sunken caverns, some located on the reef plateau in front of the island or in shallow inlets, others, such as the famous Ben's Cavern, are located inland, surrounded by scrub and pine forest. Access and entry into any of these submerged caverns requires special permission, certification and/or training; pre-booking is necessary. There are other inland adventures on Grand Bahama as well, and combined with the special diving attractions, shopping, casinos and nightlife, they make Grand Bahama a "buffet" vacation experience.
BAHAMAS DIVER ON-LINE Table of Contents

THE BAHAMAS EXPERIENCE
One Nation with a World of Diving Opportunity
 
A PARADE OF MARINE LIFE
Grouper Spawns, Lobster Marches/Rick Frehsee
 
SHARK DIVING
Choose Your Thrill/Bill Harrigan
 
FREEPORT/GRAND BAHAMA ISLAND
A Buffet of Experiences/Rick Frehsee
 
BAHAMAS DOLPHIN ENCOUNTERS
Meeting the Ocean Masters/Bill Harrigan
 
NASSAU/PARADISE ISLAND
An Underwater Wonderland/Michael Lawrence
 
OUT ISLANDS OF THE BAHAMAS
The Stuff of Dreams/Michael Lawrence
 
TEN REASONS TO TAKE THE WHOLE
The Difference is in the Destination/Bill Harrigan
 
WALLS AND BLUE HOLES
Vertical Descents, Decorated Caverns-Turning
 
RAPTURE OF THE WRECKS
Fascinating at Any Depth/Bill Harrigan
 
EXPLORING THE BAHAMAS BY LIVE
Superb Diving and Absolute Convenience/Bill Harrig
 
BAHAMAS BY SNORKEL
Intimate Adventures/Michael Lawrence
 
BAHAMAS DIVING ASSOCIATION
Dive Operators and Liveaboards that Bring You the
 
Book Now
select any criteria or none and search
Choose By Island (optional)
Select Departure Date (optional)
Choose By Dive Operator (optional)
Not sure where to go? Just click "Search" or "Hot Deals" and Browse!
 

Deep Water Cay
 
Brendal's Dive Center & Water Sports International
 Brendal has been awarded the prestiges Bahamas Tourism Caciq...
Stella Maris Watersports
 We offer many resort-based dive operations...
Carib Dancer (Part of the worldwide Dancer Fleet)
 The Carib Dancer is the newest addition to the Dancer Fleet ...
Undersea Adventures-USA Travel
 We offer many resort-based dive operations...
Small Hope Bay Lodge
 ALL INCLUSIVE! For 50 years, Small Hope has been providing p...
Bimini Big Game Club PADI Dive Center
 Coming Soon!
Dive Guana
 We offer many resort-based dive operations...
Aqua Cat Cruises
 We offer many resort-based dive operations...
DIVE ABACO! An Island Tradition Since 1978...
 TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence 2014, 2015, 2016 & 201...
Dive Time
 Our concept is simple; we take small groups on a purpose bui...
UNEXSO
 We offer many resort-based dive operations...
Stuart Cove's Dive Bahamas
 Visit our website for current specials and deals! http://www...
Blackbeard's Cruises
 We offer weekly scuba diving liveaboard cruises.
Sea Dragon (Exuma Cays, Conception Island)
 "Sea Dragon" is a Live-aboard Dive vessel for groups of eigh...
Treasure Cay Resort
 We offer many resort-based dive operations...
Riding Rock Resort
 We offer many resort-based dive operations...
Seafari Bahamas @ Club Med
 Located at Club Med, San Salvador
Sunn Odyssey Divers
 We offer many resort-based dive operations...
Bimini Undersea
 SCUBA Diving, Snorkeling, and Wild Dolphin Adventures on the...
Froggies Out Island Adventure, Ltd.
 We offer many resort-based dive operations...
Neal Watsons Bimini Scuba Center
 US #: 964-615-1011 Island: 242-347-3500
Andros Beach Club & Andros Diving
 
Dive Exuma
 A PADI 5 Star Dive Resort offering dive trips, PADI courses,...
Tiamo Resort
 
Valentine's Dive Center
 We offer many resort-based dive operations...
Cat Ppalu Cruises
 We offer many resort-based dive operations...

Bahamas Diving Assocation
US Address:
2101 S Andrews Ave, #201
Fort Lauderdale , FL 33335
Toll-Free: 1-800-866-D...
   
  Request a Quote Now Click HERE to Request on On-Line, or Call 1-800-866-3483
  Take our Survey: Tell us what you think!

Nassau/New Providence
  Home the sharks, wrecks, walls and the nation's captitol with impressive diving...
Abacos
  Encompassing many smaller cays, this is diving paradise...
Freeport/Grand Bahama
  Home to dolphins, wrecks, sharks, reefs and more...
 
 
Bahamas Island Tour | Our Videos | On-Line Dive Guide | Request a Quote | BDA Member Listings | General Bahamas Info | Take our Survey
 
Some images Copyright Stephen Frink
© 2008 Bahamas Diving Association/Bahamas Ministry of Tourism * Site by Cline Group/William Cline
 
Choose Your Language: bda  bda  bda  bda  italian  german  french