Grand Bahama Island is reporting a renewed interest in its dive offerings since October last year and is inviting visitors with a passion for diving to come and explore its great reefs and wrecks.
Ian Rolle, Acting Chairman of the Grand Bahama Island Tourism Board (GBITB), reports that the island and its reefs fared well during Hurricane Dorian. “Three weeks after the hurricane, a crew from UNEXSO, our leading underwater experts, went on an exploratory dive of the reefs stretching along the south shore of the island, from the Grand Lucayan Water Way all the way to Silver Point Reef. At that time, it was discovered that all the reef structures were in standing positions and the wrecks were in the same location and status as before the storm,” noted Rolle.
Six weeks after the storm, the visibility gained its usual clarity at an average of 80ft on all the dive sites. Once the visibility cleared to the usual level, a second assessment was completed to verify that no damages had been conducted by the sediments stirred by the storm.
The reefs were found to be clear and thriving. Soft and hard corals were still attached in their original locations and no heads had been overturned or broken. Sand had settled everywhere, and life has resumed as usual. Schools of fish now roam the different sites and the wrecks of Sini’s and Sea Star. The sites of Plate Reef, Little Hale’s Lair, Gail’s Grotto, Caves, Moray Manor I and II have shown no effects from the storm. This also holds true for the medium sites of Picasso’s Gallery, Papa Doc, Shark Junction and Chamber.
Snorkeling and scuba diving in the shallow reef have resumed and guests continue to enjoy the clear waters and marvel at the healthy reef life. Sharks and familiar local marine life that the operators are used to seeing on their dives, all seem to have survived both the storm and the ensuing months without any issues; populations are present and healthy, with numbers at their usual level.
According to the Board Chair, it’s very encouraging to see dive operations picking up again, and strong interest in our product. “We recognize that healthy reefs are a precious resource and a wonderful attraction for dive enthusiasts. Dive tourism contributes hundreds of millions of dollars to the regional economy each year and our hope is that we can increase our earnings this year,” stated Rolle.
As one of the region’s top scuba diving destinations, Grand Bahama Island has the perfect combination: great dive shops with instructors, guides and educational facilities such as UNEXSO; great hotels including the Viva Wyndham Fortuna Beach, Lighthouse Pointe, Taino Beach Resort & Clubs and Flamingo Bay Hotel & Marina (opening March 30, 2020); and great local bar and restaurants such as the Sea Grape Grill. Other world-class restaurants compliment Grand Bahama’s dining offerings, such as The Stoned Crab, Sabor, Taino by the Sea, Flying Fish Gastro Bar, and for a real local flair – Out Da Sea Bar & Grill.
About Grand Bahama Island Tourism Board
The Grand Bahama Island Tourism Board (GBITB) is the private sector marketing and promotion agency for Grand Bahama Island. The GBITB is mandated to support economic growth for tourism stakeholders on Grand Bahama Island.
Activities include the development and execution of various marketing and promotional initiatives designed to enhance and increase Grand Bahama Island’s awareness and profile in the market. The Board’s membership includes a wide range of tourism related businesses including the accommodation sector, restaurants, bars, attractions, transportation providers, artisans and retailers.