Friday, February 1, 2008

Diving in the Bahamas

Water and being around it has always held a fascination for me since I was a child, but at the age of forty, what started out as something to do with my sons on a vacation to Grand Cayman, has now become a passion to me.

The sport of scuba diving has taken over my life, so to speak. No longer subscribing to Country Living and Good Housekeeping,
Scuba Diver and Diver Alert magazines now fill my mailbox. I ask for new diving and underwater photography equipment for birthdays and Christmas. I dream of my next destination for a dive trip, and am packed weeks in advance. On a dive trip, my underwater camera is always loaded with fresh film and new batteries in readiness for that "perfect" photo. I don't care if I am diving in the warm waters of the Caribbean Sea, the turbid Pacific Ocean or the forty degree lakes and quarries of my native state of Wisconsin. Just so I am diving !!!

On getting certified, I met on my first Bahamian trip, three other women divers. We have since become best of friends and have been dubbed by the other divers in our circle, the "Viking Women", for the mere fact that the four of us out dive everyone else on our trips, including the men. On a four day trip, it is not uncommon for us to get in 18 dives.

On this first Bahamian trip, the "Viking Women" chose the island of Providence, (its capital being Nassau). The resort is called Dive,Dive,Dive and is on a remote side of the island, away from the bright lights of the city. We have since returned there to dive because of the beautiful reefs on what is called the Tongue of the Ocean.....a crevice that reaches out into the Atlantic Ocean and drops to 6000 feet. But what really draws us there is the incredible shark diving.
For whatever reason, the population of
sharks is more abundant: Gray Reef, Caribbean Reef, Bull, Silky and an occasional Hammerhead. Despite what Hollywood has instilled into our psychics, sharks do not as a general rule attack people and use them as lunch. Sharks can be an aggressive animal, but if one is careful and does nothing to threaten them or their territory, then observing them can be a very pleasant experience. Their long streamlined silvery-gray bodies glide through the water in silence, and their elliptical unstaring eyes penetrate your very soul as they pass by you.

Diving on a shipwreck, such as the Bahama Mama with the sharks, makes for an unforgettable dive. The wreck looms up out of the abyss like a ghostly figure, and the silhouetted sharks add to the eeriness of the scene. Some of the shipwrecks in these waters are sunken cargo ships, rum-runners and Haitian escapee boats. Pirating is still alive and well in the Caribbean.

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