This summer our very good friend Max Gilbert set sail to visit Nassau, Bahamas on business which we consider pleasure as well! His job? Lead a group of divers for his dive shop Southeastern Divers located in Huntsville, Alabama. Pretty sweet job, right?
From July 26 – 31 Max and his group stayed at Orange Hill Beach Inn, which he recalls is not your typical resort because it’s geared mostly towards divers (sounds like our kinda place).
For the next four out of five days Max and his group were taken to different sites around Nassau to enjoy some great dives. This was his second or third time leading a group, which consisted of first time divers and experienced technical divers. He loves making sure everyone is having a great time BUT tells us that it’s very different from diving for fun with a couple of buddies.
You’re pretty much responsible for everyone and you want to make sure everyone is having a good time and diving safely, he explains.
Other than that it’s just good old diving fun PLUS the Stuart Cove dive operation picked everyone up from the hotel each morning and took everyone to great spots like:
Port Nelson wreck a small cutter coming in at about 110 long and sitting upright on the bottom at about 75 feet. Her engine hatches are missing but her deck gun still stands ready. Max wiggled his way through the wreck and took a few snapshots inside.
Treasure Cove is a sunken barge, The Bahama Mama (you can thank Mother Nature for sinking this one). Her bow section is badly twisted, but her stern section has a nice covered walkway that made it an easy swim. The best part about this dive? The SHARKS!
We probably saw seven or eight because the site we were diving is where Stuart Cove does some of their feeding dives, so the sharks like to check out the dive boats to see if it’s chow time, Max recalled.
Mikes Reef was the final dive on the roster for the first day. The group enjoyed lots of great corals, but the main attraction was a monster of a sea turtle. And after watching it feed on the corals for a good 10 minutes, the group swam back to their anchor line.
Mikes is also where Stuart Cove performs their shark feeds, but we will get to that in a bit.
Will Laurie wreck Wreck is an old mail boat that freighter that was sunk for divers. There is a cage built on her decks amidships for soft corals to grow on and that growth is coming along great. (According to Max, but we want to see for ourselves!)
Razorback is a huge coral mountain that sticks up out of a sandy flat like a razor. Max and his partner spotted a nice scorpion fish, lion fish, barracuda and a ray.
The dive master led the group to corals, marine life, and even shark feeding dive, which Max recalls everyone on the boat was tickled to have such a close encounter.
The sharks they encountered were Blacktip Reef sharks and were easily about twice the size of everyone there. I had done a shark dive before in Honduras and the sharks were maybe about 10 feet away, but on this dive the dive master who was doing the feeding came at arms reach to the sharks, he tells us.
Talk about up close and personal we are excited to try this one soon! Another line on the bucket list perhaps?
As we mentioned earlier Max and his group stayed at the Orange Hill Beach Inn in Nassau and they loved it.
It was Max’s first time in Nassau, Bahamas and he recalls everyone being extremely friendly and hospitable at Orange Hill.
What do Max and his group remember most from the resort besides their hospitality?
They have a little bar in the resort which was the focus of most of our evenings whether you drink or not! We just had a blast, he shared.
Max went on to telling us that he didn’t really do much topside because after a long day of diving everyone pretty much has this mentality:
shower. drinks. eat. sleep. dive. repeat.
It’s the best kind of pleasant tired feeling you could ever have, he told us. And we couldn’t agree more.
Max would love to go back again. But at the moment he plans on leading another group to Honduras and Bonaire.
Check out Southeastern Divers Facebook page for more of their Bahamas 2012 album.