Abaco Scuba Diving Conditions and Forecast: September 2016

An Abaco queen angelfish. PHOTO CREDIT: DIVE ABACO!
An Abaco queen angelfish. PHOTO CREDIT: DIVE ABACO!

September is considered the ‘off season’.  Summer is over, the crowds are gone and kids are back in school. It is also the warmest and wettest month. The water temperature is 86°F and the air temp is a few degrees more. Thunderstorms are frequent in the afternoons, but almost always over as quickly as they appear. While a time for keeping a watchful eye on the tropics, it remains an excellent month to experience the underwater wonders of Abaco and the world’s third longest barrier reef. The reef runs the length of the eastern side of the barrier islands, the Cays.

It’s almost too hot to do anything but ‘dive in’!  The winds are virtually non-existent and seas are almost always glassy calm. Abaco offers a wide range of diving opportunities, shallow reefs, mini-walls and swim-throughs. If you take the time to slowly work your way around the reefs and rock formations in as little as 15 to 20 feet of water, you will be amazed and delightfully surprised at the varied sea life that lives amongst the shallows. There are so many tiny sea creatures to behold and their colors are glorious. The light shining down on the reef makes for a marvelous kaleidoscope of colors. With the crystal clear water surrounding the island, it is effortless to observe the abundance of marine life and it offers great photo opportunities for the novice or experienced photographer.

In addition to brightly colored tropical fish, we are seeing Caribbean reef sharks, black grouper, Nassau grouper, blue tang, trumpetfish, hawksbill turtles; a variety of damselfish, angelfish and snapper; as well as green moray eels, spotted moray eels, southern sting rays, arrow crabs and flamingo tongue. The swim-throughs remain filled with silversides and copper (glassy) sweepers.

Crawfish (lobster) season is in full swing.  We recommend you check in with the Department of Marine Resources in Marsh Harbour for updated rules and regulations and to familiarize yourself with the boundaries of the protected areas. A couple of the most well-known protected areas encompass the Fowl Cay National Marine Park and the Sandy Cay National Land and Sea Park.  A few ‘tings’ to remember: Please (1) leave the ladies alone (female crawfish); (2) be aware it is unlawful to spearfish, including crawfish, while on SCUBA or within 200 yards of any shoreline in the Out Islands, and (3) know it is also illegal to remove anything from the ocean floor while on SCUBA within the Islands of the Bahamas.

The Full ‘Harvest’ Moon occurs at 3:05 p.m. on 16 September with a moon rise at 7:20 p.m.  And if you can believe it, fall begins on Thursday, September 22, 10:21 a.m.

One final thought, there is something about the light during this time of year, which is magical. In the late afternoon, just before the sun sets, it becomes difficult to tell where the ocean ends and the sky begins. It always keeps us mindful of our limited time to absorb the beauty of this magical place called Earth – and happy to be breathing!

Come DIVE ABACO!  We look forward to sharing the magic with you.