Bahamas liveaboard diving vacations

“Our liveaboard diving vacations unfortunately aren’t really suitable for non-diving friends or partners,” says Andrew Skylight of our specialist Bahamas diving operator Sail Tomorrow. “The reason is that in the daytimes the crew is constantly refilling the tanks, which tends to be a noisy process. And the reason we do that is, we want to ensure that while you’re here, you spend as much of your vacation as possible underwater. That is the essence of this kind of trip.”

The Bahamian Exumas is an idyllic archipelago with an island, or cay, for every day of the year. This is a superb destination for diving vacations, particularly those of the liveaboard variety that allow you to explore several dive sites over the course of a week. Trips here are typically based around Highbourne Cay, long a favourite of seasoned yachty types, explains Andrew: “We chose this area for a number of reasons: the expectation of picking up good wind; the rich biodiversity, and a few sheltering spots in the event of poor weather.”
Here you’ve got abundant dive sites: blue holes, caves, populated with extraordinary marine life. The legendary naturalist and dive author Ned DeLoach was the first to identify a lemon goby here, and this was also where the first lionfish in the Bahamas was sighted. The well-known Austin Smith wreck is found here, where you might encounter groupers and reef shark. The ship was a Bahamian marine force cutter, damaged during an attack by Cuban planes in the 1980s (it’s named for a crew member who was killed) and sunk to make an artificial reef. Even after 20 years it is still largely intact, lying at 18 metres and with a number of interesting features to explore from hatches that can be opened, to oil barrels and scattered cables.
When not exploring the underwater world, you might be snorkelling among shoals of fish, strolling white sand beaches on deserted islands, or relaxing on the yacht under that bright Bahamian sun. Operators look for divemasters and crews of Bahamian origin – not only does this offer employment to local communities, it means solid knowledge of where best to dive in the area, and less need to fly crew out.

Our top Scuba diving Vacation

Bahamas liveaboard diving holiday in the Caribbean

Bahamas liveaboard diving vacation in the Caribbean

Diving vacations in stunning Bahamian waters

From US $1497 to US $1597 7 days ex flights
Small group travel:
2020: 24 Oct, 31 Oct, 7 Nov, 14 Nov, 21 Nov, 28 Nov, 5 Dec, 12 Dec, 19 Dec, 26 Dec
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Why liveaboard?

The liveaboard option is perfect for divers who really want to make the most of their time. No transfers every morning, you’re right at the dive site already, with all your gear ready to go, and you can easily access more remote dives too. You will be alongside likeminded people, making for a sociable atmosphere that may also give you plenty of inspiration on where to vacation next, and of course you can usually fit in more dives each day than you could hope to on a land-based dive vacation. And then you have a friendly, professional crew making sure all the equipment is functioning properly, ready to offer diving advice if needed, and information about the local area and its amazing marine life.

Practicalities

These are week-long dive trips with passenger numbers capped at eight. Technically you can go at any time of year, but given that no-one wants to be sailing during the Bahamian hurricane season, which mainly spans August and September, the boat is typically docked through this period. “People often come to escape bad weather at home,” says Andrew, “so January to April is popular when it’s hot, and also September to November when the weather is settling down.”
You’ll be sailing aboard a twin-hulled, air-conditioned yacht with four twin cabins for passengers, each of which has an en suite shower. Single travelers will be accommodated with someone else of the same sex wherever possible, but if not then beds can be angled away from each other (single cabins can be arranged at a supplement). Don’t expect luxury, but you certainly won’t be cramped either. Andrew Skylight compares it to a comfortable motel on the water. Your crew will prepare meals for you – different diets can be catered for with enough notice. “We use local ingredients wherever possible. Bahamian cuisine is strongly influenced by America, but does tend to be a little healthier.”
Yachts use wind power as far as possible, not only for environmental reasons but because it is, simply, a more pleasurable way to sail. However if the wind just isn’t there, your yacht will be equipped with an engine to ensure you can stick to the itinerary.

PADI qualifications

Equipment-wise, tanks and weights are included, and BCDs, regulators, masks and fins can be hired. Naturally you need a minimum of a PADI Open Water qualification, says Andrew, however: “On a case-by-case basis we can help people complete their certification with us. It depends entirely on the instructors we have available at the time. There’s a good chance we can help but we can’t guarantee it.”
Written by Rob Perkins
Photo credits: [Page banner: Jakob Owens] [Top box: Michael McKechnie] [Practicalities: cogdogblog] [PADI qualifications: Paulo O]
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