Monday, September 5, 2016

Nassau: Stuart Cove's

On a scale of 1 to 10 where 1 is getting mugged in a strange country and 10 is literally living your dream for an afternoon, my experience at Stuart Cove on Nassau, Bahamas was an absolute 10

There was snuba, there was snorkeling, and there was swimming with sharks. I couldn't possibly recommend this excursion more highly, especially for those who want to really experience the corals but who don't yet have scuba diving experience.

Having landed in the Bahamas on a cruise ship, they couldn't have made the process of picking us up any easier. We had called them in advance to let them know that we would be needing a ride to the Cove. They told us the time they would be arriving and to simply look for a pink bus by the water fountain where we enter from the port. They arrived right on time and we got to see so much of the island capital of Nassau on that 30 minute bus ride. The bus driver was quite entertaining and he told us all about different areas we passed on Nassau. Below is a picture of one of the beaches we passed on the bus ride.

When we arrived at Stuart Cove's, we were greeted with the amazing view below. We proceeded to check in and wait until our snuba/snorkeling mixed group gathered all together.

Eventually we piled onto a boat and began our ocean journey. Have I mentioned that this trip was my second time seeing the ocean ever? The ocean here was beautiful, clear, and warm!


Eventually we made it to our first site where we stayed for about 30 minutes. It is a site where many Hollywood films have been shot. The snorkelers in the group got to jump right in and the snuba people worked on getting all the equipment set up. Upon dismounting the boat, we were instructed to exhale to allow ourselves to sink. I did this perfectly. And then I had a mini freak-out moment when I realized that I now needed to breathe in. Not having ever breathed out of a tube previously, I quickly struggled to the top of the water to breathe some surface air. This was made more difficult by the fact that I had weights bucked around my waist purposely so that I could sink. I got a delightful mouthful or two of salt water and I held onto the boat for a little while to calm down before I trusted myself to go down.

The first difference between snuba and scuba diving is that in snuba diving, you don't have to know what to do with the tanks at all. All equipment is handled and hooked up for you. The air tanks you're using sit on a little raft which the instructor pulls along. After then figuring out how to equalize your ears every few minutes to avoid pain, we were ready go go. We got to go right along the coral, about 20 feet deep. I loved having my GoPro to be able to capture footage!.

We gathered together again on the boat and went to our second area. This area was right next to the island with the lone palm tree on the film Pirates of the Caribbean. We got to snorkel here. I was mesmerized by the schools of fish I got to see here of all sizes. 

In the 3rd and final location, we went to an area where sharks are trained to come. They hung a box with chunks of fish 30 feet under the boat. The sharks could smell this and they began swarming. We were allowed to snorkel in the water with very strict rules for safety. At times, some sharks came within about 10 feet of us! It was intense. We only got to stay in the water for about 5-10 minutes. We then got back onto the boat, they pulled up the fish food box, and then began throwing out chunks of fish to the sharks. The sharks' behavior changed dramatically as they went into a feeding frenzy. 

With this, we finished the excursion and were brought back to the Cove. If you plan on doing this event, it will take up most of your day (we were picked up at 11am and dropped off at about 5 or 6pm. The cost is $117, which was absolutely worth every penny in my book!