Ocean Explorers Society

Grand Bahama

The dive club recently returned from diving and revelry in Freeport, Grand Bahama. I hope you don't mind if we leave the revelry photos to your imagination, and stick to the diving.

Our Grand Bahama trip was a huge success. Everyone I talked with had a boatload of fun. Many thanks to Mark for organizing the our diving and lodging, and to Shaun for organizing the travel. You guys did great.

Because we had so many divers, we pretty much had the Xanadu diving boat to ourselves. A newlywed couple from Texas was also on the boat and were soon adopted into our group.

A young couple from Great Britain, Chris and Elisabeth, were our boat captain and divemaster. They were outstanding and we stuck together for almost all our diving.

Water was generally in the low 70's. Most people had 6 mm suits and were happy with those. I was usually warm enough in my farmer john, though I started using the jacket after a few days. Kevin was nice and toasty in his drysuit.

The first few days were actually cold and rainy. Those who hadn't anticipated the cold weather in Ft. Lauderdale topped up with antifreeze and dove on.

We were treated to much better conditions on Wednesday. The weather was warm and sunny; without the chop and surface currents of the previous days. Many did four dives that day. When I surfaced from the night dive, I was greeted by a wonderful array of stars. That was a great way for me to end the day.

The shark feeding dive was easily the best dive of the trip. They brought is down into a semicircle on the sand bottom. Once we were in place, a diver in a shark suit positioned himself in the middle and began feeding the sharks. We watched, took pictures, and tried to remember our breathing. They were close enough to touch. Here are some photos courtesy of Kevin Douglass.

Click on each thumbnail for a larger image.

Sharks with diver

On Thursday, we split into two groups. One going diving, and the other heading off on an island excursion where we snorkeled, gathered conch, found starfish, and sunned. the tour operator fed us lunch and provided beverages. General consensus was that this trip was fun, but not an E-ticket kind of fun.

Liza and Mickey took a kayack tour of a mangrove forrest and returned with good reviews.

Those who went out diving Friday morning were treated to the best sites of the trip.

Any account of this trip would be incomplete without some mention of beverages. Good local rum is cheap on Grand Bahama and they readily dispense it in quantity. The most popular drink on the island seems to be the Bahama Mama. This is a marvelous concoction of fruit punch, rum, and coconut rum. It's deceptively easy to drink.

Remember what I said about the rum? Shortly after consuming a couple of these, all that rum is swirling through the space between your ears and it's time for the pilot to call in a new navigator. Good thing nobody was driving.

Kalick, the local beer was also a drinkable, if more expensive, alternative.

We celebrated our final evening with a wonderful group dinner that included the divemasters, and the couple from Texas.

This was a wonderful trip. The company was great, the food was good, and the diving, while not spectacular, was just fine for me.

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