New Providence undersea is just as diverse as it is topside. The primary area for underwater activities is the southwest side of the island – the opposite end of the island from where the city is located.
One of the most dramatic features on New Providence Island is the Tongue-Of-The-Ocean which is a deep oceanic trench that is 120 miles long, and 24 miles wide, with depths reaching 6,000 feet. The Tongue spans the gap between New Providence and Andros Island and comes to with-in a half a mile of shore on the southwest side of New Providence. Imagine the Grand Canyon, filled with water, and within a 1/2 mile of a pristine beach.
Besides creating dramatic visual sights, the Tongue-Of-The-Ocean also creates a unique marine environment. The deep waters bring large pelagic marine life close to shore. Nutrients from the deep well-up through the colder deep waters to the shallower warm waters creating nutrient rich waters in the shallows.
Consistent Clear Waters
Nassau has a reputation for having consistently clear waters throughout the year. However, when a storm does pass by, waters may get stirred up. The deep oceanic trench nearby allows sediments suspended in the waters from the storm to be quickly swept over the edge of the wall with the tidal changes once the winds die down. In a very short time – crystal clarity returns.
How Clear Is Our Water?
Well let me tell you a story…. “Speed 2” was shot in 1996, primarily off the coast of Saint Martin. However, as the production deadline was nearing, the crew still had not completed some key underwater sequences because the waters there were not clear enough for the action. With 2 weeks to go, they sent a unit to Stuart Cove’s to finish filming the key scenes. After the first day’s shooting, the director was reviewing the daily’s, and he did not seem very happy. At first we thought our underwater crew had done something wrong. We then learned that the real problem was the water was too clear – “it looked like a swimming pool”. So the next day we re-shot the scene, only this time adding some extra divers above the camera dusting the area in front of the lens with sediment so the “clarity” problem could be resolved.
On top of the wall there is a large flat expanse that runs up to the shore line. In this area you will find extremely well developed shallow reefs which are teaming with marine life. Shallow reefs shoot extremely well because the shallower depths allow more light to penetrate into the water and offer longer bottom times for divers who are working in water. Many of the underwater sequences you have seen shot around Nassau are filmed on these shallow reefs.
|Southwest Reef||Shallow Reef||25′||A huge healthy expanse in 15′ to 30′ of water. Fields of Blade Fire Coral, punctuated by pristine Elkhorn and Brain Corals, provide refuge for schools of grunts along this picturesque reef scape.|
|Porpoise Pens||Reef||40′||High profile coral heads shelter a wide range of Caribbean tropical’s. Also nearby the second major movie set for the feature film “Flipper”.|
|Schoolhouse||Shallow Reef||25′||Here you will find coral heads that come to the surface with hundreds of friendly fish.|
In the middle of the walls and shallow reefs there is a small 10 acre island named Goulding Cay. It is un-inhabited, and makes an excellent location for transition shots between water and out of water. It offers a choice topography including sandy beaches and iron shores. Surrounding this Cay are shallow pristine coral reefs. Dominated by Elkhorn Coral, they rise so near the surface they are awash at low tide.
Some of our wrecks were originally sunk as props for early feature film work. More recently, we have continued adding wrecks to serve as artificial reefs and provide additional housing for marine life. When a wreck is sunk in what was a barren location, marine life will use the ship as protection and a new home. After a few years, a good population develops and spurs additional growth in the area.
|Bahama Mama||Wreck Dive||50′||Sunk in January of 1995, the Bahama Mama is a 95′ “party boat” sunk on a sand bottom. Nearby is a prolific reef. With the addition of the wreck, what was an average site has now become an outstanding site. Off to the side at a coral head you will find a large variety of eels and tropical’s. Sharks also frequent this site.|
|Tears of Allah||Wreck Dive||40′||This wreck was used as a move set for the 007 thriller “Never Say Never Again”.|
|Vulcan Bomber||Wreck Dive||40′||While not a real airplane, the bond thriller “Thunderball” created a set which resembled a large bomber. Today the thin coating has weathered away and large curtains of gorgonian’s, sponges and other growth dip from its gym-like framework.|
|Willaurie Wreck||Wreck Dive||50′||Sunk in 1989, this 100′ Bahamian mail boat is now lying in a reef area. This site is an awesome night dive. Expect to see turtles, octopus, and numerous trumpet fish.|
|David Tucker||Wreck||50′||Sunk in 1997, this 71′ Bahamian Defense Force island patrol cutter (originally a US Coast Guard cutter) was donated and sunk as part of Nassau’s artificial reef program and is located along Clifton Wall.|
|Edwin Williams||Wreck||60′||This is the 2nd of 3, 71 foot cutters donated by the Bahamian Defense Force. This wreck is located out by Shark Wall.|
|Hope||Wreck||50′||The ‘Ray of Hope’ is a retired cargo ship that was donated by the Bahamian Government for use as an artificial reef. This 200 ft wreck rests on the sand in about 50ft of water with the wheelhouse at around 20ft. Stingrays can be seen in the sand around the wreck as well as resident Caribbean Reef sharks. It is right next to the Tongue of the Ocean and also located right next to the Bahama Mama.|
Because the Tongue-Of-The-Ocean drops vertically, dramatic underwater walls exist. Beginning at depths as shallow as 35 feet, you can see sheer vertical drop off’s that plummet to depths of 6,000 feet. At shallower depths, the walls are covered with life. As the depth increases past 130 feet and the light decreases, the growth diminishes and you have stone sides.