When you end up in a place called Fish Farm, logic tells you that you are likely to see a lot of fish. Off the shore of Grand Bahama, this “fish farm” however, is not the kind that raises fish for money, instead it is a shallow scuba spot that has a ton of sea life from coral and eels, to plants and yes, fish. Because of the shallow depth, the light is perfect to get extra vivid photos of the creatures beneath the surface. Lobsters, brain coral, fan coral, butterfly fish, spotted eels (they are mean by the way), barracudas, poisonous stonefish, lionfish and more surround you in this underwater tropical paradise.
Because of the gulf stream, the water is a bit cold, but no one is complaining when the temperature is nearly 80 degrees on the surface, even in the middle of winter. A word to the wise though: the scuba companies in the Bahamas go on their time. It makes sense. Life is slow on the some 700 islands that make up the Bahamas, and with only 350,000 people sprinkled between these islands, it is easy to see why. Most of the settlements outside the main towns have less than 500 people in them and much of the travel around the islands is by boat. (continued below)
Recently when I visited the area, our dive master took us out four different times, and on each one he came back with dinner. The third outing provided underwater hunting as part of a 100 ft deep dive that led to a sandy basin full of conch. The dive-master came back with 5 of those classic shells which carry the sound of the ocean with them and are used to make the Bahamian specialty: Conch Salad. The dive before got him 5 lobster, and the same day his friend gave him a freshly caught Barracuda.
After 12 days in the Bahamas, the idea of leaving becomes more and more difficult to stomach. Not in the “I don’t want to go home” variety. Instead it is more of a “diving in gorgeous clear blue water to come back with fresh fish and lobster for dinner only to eat it on a boat at sunset drinking a cold beer with friends is the way I want to live” type of sentiment. Times like this give a different perspective on what is important in life. Bahamians have some of the worst service on the planet when it comes to tourism, but their way of life is something that reminds us of the idea that, much of the time, less is more and the simple life can make smart-phones look more like a bar of kryptonite than a useful tool.
Make sure to scroll down and see the photos of the spotted eel. As you will notice the camera gets a little shaky as the eel started to chase me… and I won’t deny it… it scared my pants off.