Three days of Eleuthera diving was our plan. In November of 2013 we, Steve and Laura from Fort Meyers, Florida, went out to explore the famous wall in South Eleuthera. We did it with the American, Al Curry, pictured below.
Al owns the dive operation Ocean Fox Cotton Bay in the South of Eleuthera. However, Ocean Fox in the North, i.e. Harbour Island, is not owned by him.
Al will also take tourists out on his boats for... snorkeling, fishing, exploring and beach combing.
At our rental home on the Atlantic side of Central Eleuthera, we woke up to light rain. Winds blew out of the NE at 20+ knots. My first thought... “There is no way we are going to dive today”. So I called Al, the dive instructor, a little before 7am to get his thoughts.
He explained that with the wind out of the North, Northeast and East, the south end of Eleuthera is in the lee, meaning the shoreline is protected from the winds.
Al, who owns a home in Central Eleuthera, had already contacted Daryl, the dive master who lives near Davis Harbour in South Eleuthera (photo above) where the boats are. Daryl reported that the sun is out.
Feeling a little skeptical, we proceeded to get ready. We arrived at Davis Harbour, around 8:30am with the sun shining in deed. So we got geared up and left the marina by 9am on the boat below, hoping for an exciting Eleuthera diving experience anyway.
As we left the Harbor, we were surprised how calm the sea was in the South, especially compared to the large waves crashing onto the Atlantic shoreline in Central Eleuthera. I would guess the seas were less than a foot, which should make for great Eleuthera diving even though the wind was howling.
Our first destination was the Shark site, which is called the Christmas tree. The name comes from the large pinnacle reef which comes up to 12-15’ below the surface where the surrounding sand bottom is about 50 feet. Our first Eleuthera dive was over to the wall and down to a maximum depth of around 100 feet.
The wall is amazingly vertical, with large crevices through which one descends. Before we ever got to the wall the sharks were visible and coming to check us out.
The visibility was excellent, it had to be well in excess of 100’. In speaking with Daryl and Al on our surface interval, they said on a bad day the visibility is 75’ and typically the visibility is in excess of 100’.
Swimming along the wall, there is a variety of coral, with some very nice species of wire coral and quite a bit of fish. As we are advanced divers, we did a super swim-through about half way through the dive and then spent the balance of the dive exploring the top of the wall at 55-70’.
After a 30 minute surface interval we went off to the Christmas tree pinnacle.
Shark devouring a dead lion fish
The sharks were once again checking us out to make sure we took only pictures and left only bubbles.
There is a nice large swim-through on the pinnacle down around 40’. While proceeding through the swim-through, we encounter a spotted moray eel and saw a couple of the fascinating lion fish.
Out on the sand bottom there are large colonies of Garden eels which, if you hold your breath for a few second, you can get very close before they slide down into their burrows. Eleuthera diving in the South of the island is indeed quite an experience!
The visibility is so good, with the sharks swimming along the sand bottom in 50’ of water, you can clearly see the shadow they cast on the bottom. Great first day, there were only 5 divers on the trip and everyone had a great time.
We went to Rich’s Canyon for our first dive. This is a wall dive with three or four swim-throughs which start at about 55’ on the top of the wall. When you exit the first swim-through, you are at 94’ on the wall. Quite impressive!
Here the wall is extremely vertical, especially when you exit the swim-through and look down to nothing but deep blue. Lots of great coral on the wall and on the top of the reef. We were lucky and had an encounter with a Spotted Eagle Ray out over the wall.
Our second dive on the second day was to Blackbeard’s Treasure Hole. That's a boiling hole. These are blue underwater holes. Twice a day the tide flows up from the hole, which is an entrance to the intricate limestone caves and caverns underneath the entire island.
The incoming water has a different density influenced by some of the fresh water under the island. Incoming water is usually 8-10° F or 6°C cooler than the surrounding ocean water.
This movement of clean water and the lower temperature, greatly enhance the amount of marine life and coral formations in the boiling holes. And that’s why we found Eleuthera diving so spectacular.
Blackbeard’s Treasure Hole has 19 different species of coral on the one reef. We saw lots of tropical fish, anemones and an occasional Hawksbill turtle, along with an assortment of jacks, barracuda, yellow tail snappers and grouper.
We got really lucky. The weather was great, calm seas and there were five divers. We all wanted to do the Bridge drift dive. So off to the bridge we went, about a 45 minute boat ride.
The Bridge is an underwater structure which connects South-East Eleuthera with the island of Little San Salvador, some 11 miles to the East.
Drift dives on that 'Bridge' are magnificent. Visibility is usually several hundred feet, with enough current you just hang in the water and observe the marine life and coral as you rise and fall with the hills and valleys.
The water on both sides of the Bridge is 3,000-5,000 feet deep, rising to a depth of 25-60 feet on the ridge. That's called the Bridge which connects the two islands. That Bridge can be as wide as 2 miles on the Eleuthera side to as narrow as ½ mile in the middle of the bridge.
Our drift dives lasted 41 minutes on the first dive and 45 minutes on the second dive.
Overall, we had a great time with the folks at Ocean Fox Cotton Bay. There at Davis Harbour, in the very South of Eleuthera, they have equipment which is all Scuba Pro.
Click on scuba diving to read Al’s very informative interview he gave the owner of this site.
Here are some other Ocean Fox clients
who combined diving with total relaxation
On our dives it was Daryl, the dive master and/or Al, the instructor, leading the dives. One day Al and Daryl were both along. They really took care of us. All we did was hop on the boat and enjoy our days of Eleuthera diving.
Get in touch with Al Curry of Ocean Fox, South Eleuthera, and fill in the form just below...