West End, Grand Bahama (Little Bahama Bank), 6-8 day charters

westendThis is what we call diving in our own backyard. Less than fifty miles from our dock lies what we feel to be some of the best diving the Bahamas has to offer. Our guests are constantly amazed at how pristine the walls and reefs are. This area is covered in lush corals and sponges and teaming with schools of jacks, snappers, grunts, countless tropical fish and it is one of the best places anywhere for “big animals” like sharks, turtles, rays, and wild dolphins. The macro life is equally impressive with nudibranchs, sea slugs, crabs, lobsters and other crustaceans. Photographers will have an endless variety of subjects.

We depart West Palm Beach in the early evening and cross the Gulf Stream to West End, Grand Bahama; which takes approximately five and a half hours. After we clear Bahamian customs and immigration the following morning, we’ll start diving after a nice breakfast. The first day will be spent diving between West End and Memory Rock, diving sites like Wood Cay Wall , Sherwood Forest , Delaine’s Reef, and the Swim-throughs . You can easily get in three or four dives on the first day. We will generally anchor up for the night in the lee of an island called Sandy Cay.

The following day will start diving by about 8:30am at what we think is some of the best diving in the Bahamas . Mount Olympus and Garden of Eden are two of the most pristine sites around. Starting at about 60 feet of water, coral heads go down to 100 feet, with a wall starting from there. El Capitan in 60-90 feet or Anna’s Reef in 50-100 feet of water are two favorites not to be missed. Friendly hawksbill turtles live on almost every site.

El Dorado is the place for sharks, besides being a simply gorgeous reef in 45-70 feet of water; our shark dive is one of the most exciting. Here you can see anywhere from ten to over twenty Caribbean Reef sharks. The Sugar Wreck is a must see, in only 15 feet of water it makes a great dive, day or night and is also a great snorkeling site. This site is a photographers dream.

These are just a few of our favorite sites. We will move the boat after every dive, giving you an endless variety of sites, unless of course, you want to stay onsite for another dive.

On the some trips you may head towards Freeport where sites like Theo’s Wreck await you. There is also the chance to have a night out on the town in Port Lucaya, where you can visit the straw market, enjoy some local music, conch chowder, and sip on a rum drink, island style. It is up to the group to decide if we go to port, unless weather determines that we need to go in that direction.

We may also head north towards Matanilla Shoal and dive Trigger Fish Reef, Deep Snapper Ledges and Creepy Crawly Blue Hole . While on route, we might throw out a line and catch a tuna, wahoo or mahi-mahi for dinner.

On any West End trip wild dolphin encounters are a possibility and we recommend taking the time to head up to White Sand Ridge for a chance to snorkel with these playful animals. It will be an unforgettable encounter that you will never forget. It is easier to take this time on trips that are three days or more. It is not however always necessary to go to White Sand Ridge for these encounters. On many occasions we find pods of dolphins just outside West End, or even on our dive sites! (Actually, they find us :)

We have some great night dive sites, including the Sugar Wreck and Barrels of Fun, and at least one night, we may snorkel with the wild dolphins while they feed on flying fish and squid in the deep waters of the Gulf Stream .

We will head home, on the last day of diving after the night dive and anchor up in the intracoastal waterway until we dock at the Port of Palm Beach at 8am on the return day to clear US customs and immigration, before heading back to our dock to unload. You will generally be off the boat by 9-9:30am.

Whether you are a novice or a seasoned diver, this trip is a fantastic opportunity to dive an area that rivals any Caribbean destination. It will keep you coming back for more, year after year.