I never had the chance to travel to the Bahamas or the Caribbean in general. So it was with great impatience and envy that I was waiting for this trip. Just back, here are is my review of the country, its incredible dive sites, its stunning diving center Stuart's cove, my first shark feeding and my diving sensations with the SEABOB underwater scooter.
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Getting to Nassau from France is quite easy, there are direct flights from Paris. Personally, I made a stopover in Miami to get there but with the excitement that this kind of travel brings, time passes very quickly. Once arrived, a taxi was waiting for me to take me to my accommodation, the Sandyport hotel. Staff very friendly and attentive, spacious rooms, I already feel that my visit to the Caribbean is going to be amazing.
I did all my diving with the Stuart Cove's Diving Center, a local and international institution. Even by forcing myself, I have not complained to this center as my experience on and under water was perfect: the staff is adorable and extremely professional, the rental equipment is brand new, the boats are spacious and comfortable and The service is impeccable. I even had the chance to do some diving with the legend Stuart Cove and his charming wife Liz Parkinson, both in love with the sea and amn of shark protection for years.
Why not telling you right away that I haven't been disappointed in the Bahamas. The deep blue water has a very good visibility going up to 40 meters and even with bad weather it never goes below 15 meters. Diving in the Bahamas is known worldwide for several reasons: sharks, wrecks and Hollywood. You can be sure to meet dozens of sharks during your excursions underwater, there are of all kinds: reef shark, tiger shark, hammerheads, lemons sharks and many others. Since 2011, the Bahamas has become the largest shark sanctuary in the world, fishing is totally prohibited. There are not only sharks in the Bahamas, you will most certainly have the chance to cross a typical Caribbean local fauna composed of rays, dolphins, jacks, turtles etc. But that's not all, the seabed of the Bahamas also contains wonderful wrecks. I had the chance to dive on the Ray of Hope and the Sea Traders, two magnificent wrecks full of life and almost intact, each allowing dozens of different penetrations. You may not know that, but a lot of American films are shot in the Bahamas. There are plenty of diving sites where once in the water you would recognize some scenes from your childhood movies, like the mythical plane "Jaws".
To be honest before diving in the Bahamas I had many clichés about the Shark feeding But I had to try the experience myself in order to make my own opinion. I know that the words that follow will shock some of our readers but be aware that as long as you have not tried this activity (at least under the conditions proposed by Stuart Cove), discussed with those who live, given the smile or tears of joys of those who have passed the step and you won't have difficulty to imagine the benefits of this experience.
Fully equipped on the boat's aft deck I am the first to jump in the water, the sharks are already there and are making circles at the surface, I feel like I'm in a pirate movie. I make my giant step, once in the water I adjust my mask and soon realizes that the sharks that circle around me make fun of my presence. We all go down together and once in the bottom the Shark feeder (who will feed them) goes down. Equipped with a box in which there is forty head of fish it goes towards a sandy zone in order to be able to install correctly. The sharks begin to gather and wait patiently for their appetizer to be served. First shock, the sharks do not go frenzy, they do not fight for food as I have heard. On the other hand, I realize that it is not these 40 fish heads that will feed these giants of the seas, there are about 60 sharks around us and some are more than 2 meters 50 long. It would astonish me that a head Of fish (mainly cartilage) fills a shark for the day. Sharks are healthy, no visible wounds, none are lean or seem to have skin disease. They are very close and I can observe them as I never had the chance to do. Nurse sharks such as puppies wisely expect a piece of fish to escape from their cousins in order to have their share.
The experience is within everyone's reach, I hope you will have the chance to experience it. Every day hundreds of people of all levels (beginner diver, expert or Snorkler) have the chance to participate in one of the different "shark experiences" offered by Stuart Coves. Most of them, before they have the chance to approach these magnificent animals, are still traumatized by the films of our childhood. But once in the water the fear is forgotten and once back on the boat their speech changes, they have only one desire is to share with their loved ones what they have lived and become ambassadors of the cause. After this fabulous experience with Stuart Cove I can clearly state that shark feeding is extremely beneficial to the environment. Of course, everything must be done according to the rules and I imagine there are places where there are abuses, but here in the Bahamas everything is perfectly organized .
Luckily during my stay, I was able to test again the fabulous underwater scooter SEABOB, a high-end futuristic machine. And this time in addition to the wrecks, there was any kind of shark. I was afraid that the electromagnetic field of the engine would not face the fish. But no, nothing, after a few seconds of hesitation the fauna resumes the course of his life and does not even pay attention to my underwater ballet. I can even follow the sharks on long distance without making noise and take me for one of them. Stuart Coves became one of the first official centers to offer diving trips in SEABOB. If you have the opportunity to try it do not hesitate. The sensations are incredible and the experience is unique..