Grand Bahama

     The next day I missed diving the wreck of the Theo for very pratical 
domestic reasons. This large freighter in 100 feet of water is probably 
the most popular wreck dive at Grand Bahama. Instead, we were going to dive 
another wreck in the same area, off of Lucaya. Today it was going to be 
three divers going out on the larger (better covered) boat, with Dimitros 
acting as skipper and DM. 
        Dimitros was a Bahamian from Nassau originally and so undoubtably 
from a different culture than myself. I always find that to be just spark 
for my curiosity. He seemed to have a very interesting attitude. I would 
have a hard time operating in more than one culture regularly like he did. 
He seemed curious about what we thought of some recent headlines. It would 
seem to be hard to evaluate most of the people you met from the continental 
countries (or their concerns) and even harder to keep your own perspective. 
So many different values and ways of life, but from what he said, he seemed 
well centered.
        It was a short trip and a quick setup at the site. Dimitros watched 
gear up to be sure, but these others were divers that he had been taking 
out all week. Minimal briefing was needed and little was offered, except 
the repeated request that we do the 2 safety stops that were standard. We 
were reminded that they had not had an accident in 16 years and they wanted 
to stay that way.
        I will never get used to the clarity of tropical waters, let alone 
the warmth. As soon as we entered we could clearly see the of a large barge 
70 feet below us on sand with coral structures around it. There was a small 
wheel house, but most all of the barge was flat. As we went down the mooring 
line to it, the view became clearer and details like railings and ladders on 
the wheel house became more distinct.
Towards the back of 
the barge, behind 
the wheel house, was 
a school of about 25 
yellow tailed grunts. 
There was a large
lavender sponge 
growing on the 
ladder railing,
but really the 
growth on the 
surfaces of the 
wreck was pretty 
        We were in a very loose group as Dimitros sort of headed for a tour
around the wreck. We all basically followed, sometimes looking at the wreck
and sometimes cruising around the coral outcrops around it. Even on these 
small outcrops, the life was thick and lush enough that you could spend  
time looking at all the different details. I, of course, was looking for 
photo ops.
As we got to the back of the 
wreck, we came to a fellow 
traveler. There was the tractor 
of an 18 wheeler. This was 
interesting because it was 
much more incongrous than the 
barge. It belonged here much 
less than the barge. The wheels 
were still in solid condition. 

     Around here were scraps of the truck and things that had come loose 
from the barge. Some of it was sheet metal from the railing of the barge. 
This offered very good habitat, judging from all the small fish and 
invertebrates tucked under it.
We were pretty much 
following Dimitros 
again as he went 
through the short 
distance from the 
front wheelhouse 
hatch to the aft 
hatch. Big letters 
spelling UNEXCO 
had been cut into 
the Wheelhouse 
        It was a great dive and a lot to see, but about as uneventful as 
a dive can be. The next dive was more beautiful in an area with much
more in the way of coral formation as well as a 'Blue Hole' as they are 
referred to in this area. This is a vent from the underground freshwater 
system of limestone caves that are under the island itself. Really, it was
only about a 3 foot wide hole. Since it wasn't rainy season, there was 
no visible flow and I didn't even try to taste if the water was fresh.
I played hide and seek 
with a fish that almost
looked like a ling cod. 
I was trying to get a 
close up and it just 
was not going with the 
plan. No matter how slow
I approached, I was not 
going to get to within a
foot for a closeup. 
        As the dive was coming to an end, we encountered three large 
midnight parrot fish doing something over the sand. They are truely 
incredibly colored, and these were a lighter, almost tourquoise color
rather than the deep indigo blue that is their more usual color.
       One thing I really came away from these dives with is an even 
greater respect for people that get great underwater photos and 
especially for those that can get good shots with a macro lens. I had 
never really tried close up shots, shorter than one foot, before. 
       With the lens I was using, I had earlier been able to drift up 
to take a shot of a Christmas worm with out making it retract. On the 
last dive, I had repeatedly tried to drift up close enough to take a 
picture of sea lilly. No matter how slow I moved, I never got closer 
than about 18 inches before they closed up and retracted. Other than 
them, getting to one foot isn't too hard, but any closer was extremely 
difficult to get proper position. Boeyancy and forward movement control
were no problem, but getting angles right without smacking into the 
reef or other coral whips, was very tough... then you have to move away 
again, still without touching anything and that doesn't even mention 
the fact that I tended to completely blow my framing on most of the 
shots I took this trip.
        Well, I came, I saw, I dove and I didn't even get sick. I thought
the diving in the Bahamas was much better than in Florida. Even though it
was the same type of Caribbean sea life, it was a bit too different for 
me to want to compare it to Belize. The coral reefs were beautiful and 
healthy. The fish were numerous and a lot of them were big. We saw many 
different species of groupers on the dives. The visibility was fantastic. 
It's pretty enough that I could do a lot of diving there, but still I 
miss the excitement of California diving. This cruising around in warm 
water, no matter how beautiful, is just not as exciting as a hunt in cold
waters with currents, rocks to crawl under, kelp to play hide and seek in 
and surprises that suddenly appear out of the gloom.... But sure... I'd 
go back in a second.

If you walk here, you will have to turn back sometime

Enjoy the diving, seahunt
Back To Home Page