Looking for a vacation destination to take the whole family—a place where you can enjoy nature together and pluck dinner from the ocean and have it cooked that night? Look no farther than the Bahamas.
Just a short plane or boat ride from Florida, the Commonwealth of The Bahamas consists of more than 700 islands, cays and islets set in crystal clear water. When it comes to diving, it’s hard to find a more beautiful place with such an abundance of sea life.
The warm, clear water and shallow depths make it a diver’s paradise, suitable for beginners and advanced alike. Whether you’re interested in sightseeing on scuba, hunting while freediving or simply snorkeling, everyone is sure to have a good time. Very young divers can snorkel on the surface and are likely to see fish, turtles, stingrays and more. If you’re an underwater hunter, there’s no better place to find a large variety of delicious fish within easy freediving depths. Hogfish, snapper and grouper, as well as conch and lobster, can be found on the beautiful reef formations.
It’s no accident that The Bahamas boasts some of the best spearfishing grounds in the world. It was the first country to establish a Land and Sea Park to protect the reefs. Spearfishing is only allowed while freediving and by use of slings or polespears. No scuba or spearguns are allowed. As opposed to being a deterrent, the regulations have made slinging and polespearing a fun and popular trend. While some might consider it a challenge, the clear shallow water and abundance of fish work in your favor, and no one goes hungry in the Bahamas!
Regulations allow conchs and lobsters (during open season), as well as 20 scale fish like groupers and snappers. That’s more than enough to feed a large family. Always double check for the latest regulations, as these may change. If you are hunting, you will want to charter an experienced captain, such as Capt. Luke Maillis with Reel Addictive Charters out of Long Island or Capt. Jesse Leopold with Andros Beach Club out of South Andros Island.
If you’re not into hunting—no worries. You can scuba or snorkel on one of the many guided sightseeing charters, which will take you to swim with sharks, dolphins and/or stingrays. There’s Big Game Club Scuba Center or Bimini Undersea out of Bimini, UNEXSO in Freeport, and Stuart Cove’s in Nassau. There’s also AllStar Liveaboards, which offer 4- to 7-day trip packages.
At the end of the day, there’s nothing more satisfying than gathering over a meal and talking about your underwater experience. If you picked up seafood along the way, there are many restaurants on the islands that will be happy to cook your catch. This is the type vacation that’s sure to generate fond memories that last a lifetime.
There’s a reason they say, “It’s better in the Bahamas.” Check it out and find out why!
Sheri is a world-record holder, host of Speargun Hunter, and producer of “The Blue Wild Ocean Adventure Expo” in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. Follow “Sheri Daye” and “The Blue Wild” on Facebook and Instagram.