Freeport has a wide variety of scuba diving all from the same place, You can dive with sharks one day and dolphins the next! You can dive the reefs and wrecks one day and caves/caverns the next. There are also blue holes to dive. (I don't know anyone who has regular trips to them so you may have to get a group together yourself to be able to dive them)
There are two big dive operators in Freeport; UNEXSO (underwater explorer's society) and Neal Watson's Xanadu plus many small independent dive operators. I've only dove with UNEXSO so far and have nothing but great things to say about them. Both have shark dives but only UNEXSO offers diving and swimming with dolphins. If you're adventurous enough to want to take the shark feeding course, UNEXSO IS THE PLACE TO DO IT.(see shark diving page)
UNEXSO is located in Port Lucaya. There are plenty of restaurants, casino for gambling, shopping, etc nearby. Non divers can snorkel or go swim with the dolphins if they choose. UNEXSO has a great facility if you have some in your group who want to take an introductory scuba course to see if they may like it. They have a large swimming pool right at the dive shop. Stay at Pelican Bay at Port Lucaya hotel and you can walk to the dive shop in under a minute! Can't get more convenient than that! Eat at Zorba's while you're there, just a short walk from the dive shop (maybe another minute) No matter what you eat at Zorba's, try their Guava or Raisin duff for desert! Highly recommended!!!
Xanadu Undersea Adventures is located near Port Lucaya as is UNEXSO. They offer two introductory scuba classes daily for those who haven't yet experienced the wonders of life underwater. I personally have not used them yet for two reasons:
First, I tried contacting them several years ago about their diving and could not get anyone to answer and they were very slow to respond to emails. Being slow to respond to emails is very normal in the Bahamas, however. The other reason is while I was waiting for them to respond I was able to talk to UNEXSO and have not found a reason to use anybody else. At UNEXSO, you can do the shark feeding course which you can't at Xanadu and UNEXSO is the only operator offering dives with dolphins in the open ocean.
Xanadu does have some good package prices on their web site.
DIVE SITES: (Don't miss Theo's Wreck or the shark dive at UNEXSO!)
Ben's Blue Hole — At this site is a horseshoe-shaped ledge with several coral heads growing on the lip. This ledge is a blue hole and part of a large fracture that runs east from the mooring line. By following the fracture over two coral heads, you will find another small blue hole behind the second coral head. Very often you will find jacks, schoolmasters, dog snappers, porkfish and schools of creole wrasse by these holes.
Pretender Wreck (a.k.a. Shark Junction) — This wreck is a twin prop light duty transport boat which only the hull can be seen sticking out of the sand, surrounded by white sand , coral heads further away forming a perimeter. Bits and pieces of a small cabin cruiser are scattered on the bottom near the tug. Stingrays and garden eels are usually spotted on the sand.
This wreck is a 45' tugboat that lies upside-down between isolated coral heads. Bits and pieces of a small cabin cruiser are scattered on the bottom near the tug. Stingrays and garden eels are usually spotted on the sand. (45'-60')
SPID is an acronym for the Self-contained, Portable; Inflatable Dwelling that was once used for short-term habitation experiments in the mid-to-late 70's. Large schools of Horse-Eye Jacks, Baracudas, Yellowtail Snappers, Atlantic Spadefish are usually seen in this area. Blue parrotfish are often seen grazing on the bottom. As you head south, the coral will become solid with surge channels running through it. This site is very close to the location of our shark dive, so you may see one or two Caribbean reef sharks passing through. (45'-60')
At the mooring pin you find sections of high profile corals running from east to west. Running parallel to this first line, you will find another row of very pretty coral heads. Queen, grey and French angelfish are often encountered in the area. (35'-45')
The coral heads at this site form a rough triangle, hence the name. You can see a bit of everything here: sandy bottom at the blue hole, scattered coral heads to the east and a more solid reef to the west and southwest. A blue hole, eel garden and stingrays are some of the highlights. (45'-60')
Once a car ferry operating in the Carolinas, this vessel was featured in the movie Halloween. Sunk in early 1992 in an area of scattered coral heads, schools of silversides shad, schoolmaster snapppers and grouper make their home in and under the wreck. (50'-60')
It's a very pretty site with several large, tall coral pinnacles situated on the top of the coral ridges. Porkfish and yellowtail snappers are frequently seen. (45'-60')
Divers watch as the instructor hand feeds Caribbean Reef Sharks. The sharks are four to eight feet in length and there can be as many as 30 sharks at the site. At the site there is an old recompression chamber with coral reef surrounding it. There are also Jacks, Angelfish, Grouper, Hogfish and a large Green Moray Eel. There may be the occasional Nurse Shark, or Hammerhead shark. (45'-50')
Divers swim through the reef system surrounded by the sharks near to the shark feed site. (45'-50')
Papa Doc Wreck
A group of mercenaries headed to fight in the Haitian Revolution to overthrow Francois "PapaDoc" Duvalier made it no further than this spot. Their 70-foot boat sunk in a storm in 1968. As recently as ten years ago, ammunition clips could still be found among the scattered coral heads. Two engine blocks and assorted sections of the old shrimper are still visible. In 1996 a small tugboat "Badger" was sunk at the site. It sits upright on the outer edge of a line of high profile coral heads. (35'-45')
Sunk in 1982; Theo's was a 228-foot cement hauler. She lies on the port side at 100 feet, adjacent to the continental shelf. The dive includes two penetrations-the engine room and the cargo hold. A giant moray plus a few spotted eels sometimes resides in the wreck. (100')
Balance between two separate coral heads, this 40-foot tugboat allows divers to swim under the hull. Lobsters and crabs can occasionally be seen hiding in the crevices between the wreck and the reef. In the winter, congregations of tiger groupers are in the vicinity. (60'-80')
Sharks and spotted rays are frequently seen here. There is a coral cavern that passes through the reef for about 100 feet. The cavern is inhabited by soldier and squirrelfish. (65'-80')
It is possible to swim through this smaller circular cavern. In the summer it is filled with silversides. Schools of horse-eyed jacks hover above the reef and, occasionally, spotted eagle rays are seen here. (60'-80')
This site has two lairs (small caves) created by the coral growing over the surge channels. It is possible to swim through the most westerly of these two lairs. This area is loaded with white, French and blue striped grunts. (60'-80')
Many varieties of hard coral have formed here. Many plate coral overlap above the surge channels. The blue hole here is quite large and comes right out of the side of a high profile coral. Mahogany and yellowtail snappers, goatfish, and French grunts are usually seen. (60'-80')
The high profile corals here from small caves. One would have to be as small as a pygmy to swim through them. Quite often, lobsters or spotted morays are hiding in these small crevices. Here you will also see lapping plates of hard coral. Frequently, schools of spadefish float near the surface. (60'-80')
Plate and deep-water staghorn coral adorn the area. There are numerable swim-throughs at this site that can be full of silversides during the summer months. Dramatic deep channels house blue tangs, eels, and schools of grunts. (65'-80')
Pelican Bay at Lucaya - right next door to UNEXSO but close to Xanadu too. I have stayed there my first time to Grand Bahama Island and it's nice enough for me but more expensive than what I think it's worth. Remember, I like to do it cheap without staying at a dump. Have kids and need a babysitter? They have in room babysitting at Pelican Bay.
Xanadu Beach Resort - WARNING!!! Stay here at your own risk! This property is currently for sale and from reading all the reviews, it is VERY RUN DOWN! Evidently, it was a nice place at one time but has seen it's better days!
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