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My Mayaguana experience (from March 2007) sry so late!

BobJHS

New Member
Mar 6, 2007
21
3
0
:rcard :naughty I apologize for not writing a report on this sooner. I hadn't logged into this site since March of 2007 and I had received a personal message from a fellow freediver asking me about my experience diving Mayaguana in the Bahamas. My girlfriend and I traveled there back in March of 2007. We took a small prop plane via Bahamas Air that really felt more like an Aerial Bus then anything else. For instince the plane services all out islands and you have to land at several of them and let more passangers on and off before you actually arrive on Mayaguana. The island has NO tourists. NO luxary western style hotels and the "Mayaguana Airport" consists of an old U.S. military air strip that was all cracked with weeds growing up all over the place, one hanger (that served as the 'terminal') and when your landing you can actually see the wreckage of other prop planes in the bush around the airstrip, which is an encouraging sign. :hmm But anyways, the islanders are just terrific people, really they are. They are some of the most friendly people you will ever meet and they know how to cook grouper and conch like nobodys buisness, seriously, it was some of the tastiest grouper I've ever had. We stayed at a place called the Mayaguana Inn Guest House at Abrahams Bay, run by an old man named Cap and his lovely wife. I had the impression they receive very few visitors here. We got there and Cap had a picture of himself, his wife, and the test team for the Tomahawk Cruise Missile, no joke! Although Cap seemed to think the test team were other tourists, as he kept refering to them as such (that must have been what they told him). When we arrived, they showed us the whole island, including the small school there, of which the people there seem immensly proud. Cap lets you rent his RAV4 by the day so your free to explore the whole island. This place is paradise. Beautiful is an understatement when describing the beaches. There are salt marshes complete with Flamenco. But most importantly the Reefs are untouched. I did some conch fishing which is simply a matter of diving down, closing your eyes, sticking your knife out and grabbing one (they are everywhere!). Cap's wife was happy to prepare the conchs that I caught as well, she was such a good cook I can't stress that enough. There are some very very healthy Reefs that surround most of the northern and eastern part of the island. Some of these Reefs are almost too healthy, as brazen reef sharks were a common site. The other thing I was taken aback by were the barracuda I saw there. I've seen my share of these fish, and they are usually a pleasant site, but these things were monsterous! I mean 4-5 ft. might not quite describe some of them, and they were way too curious. I remember one dive, they took a keen interest on my girlfriend, I was wearing my Finis comp. monofin and I actually had to shoo them away by swimming towards them and harassing them! :martialThe best place on the island both for reef diving and for beautiful serene beaches is the North Shore. Nobody lives there, but there is an abandoned house that had marble floors old spanish style fascade, was gorgous, yet abondoned. Unfortunately, the best part of the coral reef system was a bit dangerous. I didn't have access to a boat, that would have made things MUCH easier. As it was, I had to wade out in this bay (a beautiful site for pictures btw) in about 4-6 ft. for, seriously, over a mile. The transit while carrying my mask and fins took about 40 minutes. I quickly found out that the best way was to wade across the bay to an inaccessable point via rode. There the distance to the reef is much shorter, under a quarter mile (see Google Earth). This Reef, while being the best on the island, is an Advanced Freedive. There is a hedge of dead coral which creates some big breakers, and if one is not an experienced freediver or is not careful, the waves will quickly slam you around and smash you repeatedly into dead coral and jagged rocks. This is not an exaggeration. To dive here safely one should be experienced and have some good technical equipment, like a pair of Cressi long fins. However, once you get out far enough, it becomes WELL WORTH IT. The reef here absolutely opens up at about 30 ft. of water and extends down well past 100 ft. I'm talking extensive coral gardens, overhangs, finger reefs, and a reef wall that must go down to at least 130 ft. If your craving healthy reefs; that explosion of color and creatures, you will not be dissapointed here. It was almost like a jewel that you have to work hard for, like Indiana Jones or something. The easier diving on the island was in and around Abraham's Bay. However, the islanders have been conch fishing there for some time and it shows. But once you travel to North Shore and see the abundance of life there, you get dissapointed with everything else. I didn't have enough time to fully explore the eastern part of Mayaguana. We stayed on the island for six days and I only got to dive the eastern side once, it was a close second to the North Shore. I got the impression diving the east side that if I had a second or third day to explore it could proove to be a hidden gem. It's actually quite possible the eastern reefs could be better then the North Shore, I simply don't know, but according to Cap, his son, and some of the other islanders I talked to the North Shore reef is the best. The eastern part of the island is a trek, only accessible from an unmaintained dirt road on the south shore. You need need an SUV for sure, one with AWD. If I went again, which I would in a heartbeat, I would be carrying a speargun with me [and I mean for protection];) thats how I would descride diving Mayaguana. A healthy reef ecosystem with a full complement of Tertiary Predators that are eager to find out who/what you are and possibly how you taste. Overall, the lack of amenities and other people is compensated for by the quality of the diving here. I hope I've said everything I can think of and not too much. I apologize to the person who requested I write a report on this back in May of 2007 :naughty I will be an active part of this forum from now on, and again I apoligize for the inactivity in sharing this experience. I hope this helps anyone lloking for more info. on Mayaguana in the Bahamas. Good luck with your diving and most importantly, stay safe. -- James H. Stewart
 

cdavis

Well-Known Member
Jan 21, 2003
3,819
661
218
69
Sarasota, Fla
Outstanding report!! No apologies needed. Thanks a lot!! You just put M back on my must do list.

Questions later.

Connor
 

cdavis

Well-Known Member
Jan 21, 2003
3,819
661
218
69
Sarasota, Fla
Hi James,

Again, thanks for posting. The place sounds like the Bahamas used to be, but I haven't seen it like that for almost 30 years. The shark behavior sounds about normal(as in aggressive as heck) for the southern Bahamas. Once, in Long Island, an aggressive one tried to taste my brand new wife, so I know what you are talking about. Makes it tricky to spearfish without a boat.
Did any of the terrain look like narrow rocky canyons, 20-60 ft deep, top and upper sides covered with live coral? If so, could you describe in more detail, like how deep the tops of the canyons were?

Very curious about access to different areas on the Island. I found Google Earth (nice site). It shows two roads to the north shore in the narrowest part of the island. I think that must be in the large bay you described, as well as the point of land on the east end of the bay. Given the geology of the island, that point should have one of the best reef developments.
Apparently, another place to stay on the island has opened, up at Pirate Well on the northwest tip. Did you get up there? The map shows a road from the airport to Pirates Well which should give access the northern part of the western shore. The reef along the west shore is probably not as well developed, but the drop off looks real close. Did you dive any of the western shore? Any sign of vertical walls starting in say, less than 50 ft?
Eastern shore: where exactly do you mean? I could not see the shore road. On the map, the east end has a long narrow bay and getting to the end of it looks like it requires a boat. Reefs should be outstanding, but how to get there?

Did the guest house have cooking facilities or did they cook for you all the time? Costs? Did the rooms have working air conditioners?

Is there any shade on the land on the north side of the island near the diving, or any place else you dove?

Did you meet any local divers?

Rough swells and beach entries can be obnoxious, but you were there in March which normally has a strong easterly swell. Summer or Fall will be much calmer. Check out the surf pics by Fondueset on the "Blue hole report" thread in freediving stories. Was it that big?

Do you have serious interest in going back? When? Want company?

Connor
 
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BobJHS

New Member
Mar 6, 2007
21
3
0
Hey Connor,
Yes, your description of rocky canyons/coral outcrops fits the kind of reef that you see off of North Shore very well. Once you get out far enough to where it's about 25-30 ft. to bottom that becomes the type of terrain you will see. That eastern tip/point you see on the big bay on the North Side of the island is absolutely covered with jagged rocks. You have to be really careful walking over there (even with wetsuit socks/boots) not to slip because you will absolutely slice/tear up your feet/leg if you do and there are definately no ambulances on Mayaguana to help you out ;). I remember Cap telling us a story about his son gutting fish in ankle deep water on the beach of that very bay and a reef shark coming up and taking a healthy bite out of his leg. :crutchI would say that the largest coral formations extend up about 40-50 ft. and the canyons get larger as the water gets deeper. When the reef first opens up it's alot of coral gardens/small coral formations. At about 50 ft. you start to see prevalent canyons and overhangs. A little farther then that, maybe 10-20 ft. further depth there is a coral wall. The wall and the canyons really blend together well. This is where most of the action is at about 80-90 ft. to the tops of the formations (120-130 ft. to the actual bottom.) That wall goes down to about 130 ft. The surf you encounter when you get out to the reef might have been a little bit rougher than the picture I saw in that album by Foundueset. But it was comparable.
As far as Pirate's Well is concerned, thats where I would reccomend staying hands down. We did take a day trip up there. The place is really the only true 'hotel' on the island. It's really the only true commercial enterprise on the island for that matter! They have a nice little restaurant, wireless internet, and there is always vaccancy as you could imagine. The place we stayed in Abraham's Bay was just a Guest House right next to Cap's house. His wife cooks all your meals for you. Good little place for two people to stay, but if I went back, I would stay at the place you mentioned at Pirate's Well. The place we stayed was cheap, cheap cheap, <$20 a night with food included, no AC. If I remember correctly that place on Pirate's Well was called the Baycaneer. Our trip to Pirate's Well was lunch at the hotel restaurant, then I made a trip out to a small island with steep cliffs using my monofin. (I love to do that, did it on Santa Helena off Roatan, Honduras too) It was probably about one and a half miles out maybe more. Unfortunately I didn't have time that day to fully explore the reefs around that small island, but if or when I do go back it's worth checking out. I didn't dive on the west shore, again, worth finding out what it has to offer. The road to Pirate's Well is well maintained, no problems there. The road east along the south shore however is really overgrown, as I said, AWD and a healthy sprit are a must. The road starts out dirt and becomes two tire tracks through the bush. Cap said it extends all the way along the Eastern Shore. We went as far as we could but eventually, it gets too overgrown, so we had to stop and thats where we did our eastern shore diving. I'm not exactly sure where we were in relation to the island as a whole, but the reef there starts at about a quarter mile out, probably less than that. I remember when we turned back, the RAV4 we had got stuck on the way back. :mad: Luckily we were able to get out in less than 20 min., because there wouldn't have been anyone to help us and we would have had to walk back. The locals do dive, but I would consider them more fisherman. One thing I thought was crazy is that there is a pier off Abrahams Bay made out of the discarded conch shells from over the years. You can walk out on it and try to find that one perfect conch shell to take back as a souvenir ;).
That bay that I talked about has one semi-homeless guy living in a shack and that beautiful abondoned house I described on it. The only reason that road even exists is because that was/is? to be the spot that will be developed when the new airport is built. The island was in the process of building the new airport when we were there, funded in the $billions by a development group called the I-Group out of Boston if I remember correctly. They had plans to develope that whole big bay, with good reason, because it is absolutely virgin/pristine and it would be a sad thing if they succeed. Cap was saying that the abondoned house was built by a rich man who changed his mind and simply left. I had ideas about buying the rights to it and moving there, but never got around to it. I would love to go back. I don't know if you read the other post I made, but I'm moving from here in Massachusetts to Hawaii in 20 days to study Marine Biology at HPU. I'm really excited about it. If you want to plan a trip together, I probably couldn't go right away, but I'm open to the idea. I've been freediving since I was 7-8 years old. First trip was with my Dad to Grand Cayman. I still remember how amazing the corals were on that trip. I hope I was able to answer all of your questions. Feel free to respond with more, I'd be happy to talk more about the island with you. -- James H. Stewart
 
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cdavis

Well-Known Member
Jan 21, 2003
3,819
661
218
69
Sarasota, Fla
Congratulations on getting into HPU, a very competitive program. What are your career goals? More than a few moons ago, I did a masters on hogfish at the University of Miami.

Accommodations at the guest house sound amazingly cheap. At that price, I'll take the cook for 3 a day, although it sounds like not a place to stay in hot weather. Would the guest house accommodate 3 or 4 serious divers? The other inn gets a bit pricey after air fare, rental cars, boats, etc.

You must have one extraordinary girl friend. She sounds like a keeper.

The reef sounds wonderful. In pristine reef like that, you usually have a cap of staghorn, elkhorn, mixed in with big porites, and brain corals. Much of this has died off in the rest of the Bahamas. Did you see much for stag and/or elkhorn? How about off the south shore or in Abraham's Bay?

I'm going to seriously explore a M trip in 2009. Not sure when, but will keep you posted. Any chance you coming to Florida? Spring diving here can be pretty good.

Connor
 
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BobJHS

New Member
Mar 6, 2007
21
3
0
Hey Connor, thanks alot for the congrats!
Right now I'm doing the whole Marine Bio. thing, but eventually, if my resume is good enough, I'm thinking of applying for a dual-degree program for a masters of coastal management and an environmental law degree. But I might just end up opening up a dive tours buisness. Maybe one on Mayaguana ;).
I have to correct myself on a few things. I spoke with my girlfriend and she was able to refresh my memory as I was mistaken about a few details. The Mayaguana Inn Guest House did indeed have AC but the price we paid was $60 a night, not <$20. I was thinking about the trip we took before to Roatan Honduras, where we were able to stay in a place for that price (but with cold showers, no AC) The Guest House has accomodations that would be good for four people. I believe it had three or four rooms each with two beds, some of them might have been a queen size, not quite sure. But it did have Direct TV (although some nights it didn't work, Cap's explaination was a bad sat. signal which seemed a little odd :hmm ) The island definately has enough to keep you occupied. The Flamenco that hang out in the salt marshes around the island are a pleasant sight. There are alot of little things about the island that I think you'll enjoy. For instance, all the little critters that live on the beach in and around the rocks on the North Shore. I'm no expert, but it seems like those kinds of things are the first to go when a place loses that wild feel about it.
You are very knowledgable about corals. I'm hoping to learn some of the stuff that you already know about reefs when I go to HPU. What you said about the stag/elkhorn and the brain corals was completely true. I didn't realize it until you said it, but those are indeed the types of corals that are missing/lacking from so many dive sites where you see reef degradation. There weren't a whole lot of brain corals on the reefs there (at least not as many as I remember from diving Grand Cayman with my Dad way back in the day) But I saw plenty of stag/elkhorn corals on the reefs there. Alot of fan and finger corals too. The only diving I did on the south shore was in Abraham's Bay. There are plenty of conchs to be found there, and the bay is pretty shallow. The bay often has alot of sail boats moored, as Mayaguana is a hot spot for amateur sailors to stop by on their way to Turks and Caicos and points farther south. The reef there is nice, not spectacular but it's definately worth checking out as it's about a 2-3 min. walk from the Guest House.
There was so much to be seen on the Northern side that I found myself going back there day after day. I wish I could have been there longer and had more time to check everything out.
I'd love to come down to Florida some time for a visit. I'll keep you updated on my move to Hawaii, I leave Jan. 14th.
 
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blumon

Free to be Free
Jun 30, 2004
74
14
48
Atlantic Gulfstream and Bahamas
Aloha BobJHS...Great trip report on Mayaguana...I spent a lot of time out in the Far Bahamas myself and never got there except to use the anchorage occasionally for storm shelter. I remeber stopping at the western edge of the Island on one of my trips to wait out an angry 'rage' (storms that are common in the Islands)...it was a huge bay and very calm being on the leeward side...anyway, long story short the storm soon moved on and I was standing on the swim platform relieving my bladder when the biggest dolphin I had ever seen, ('Tursiops truncatus' I believe), breached no more than 10 yards in front of me causing me to lose complete control of the situation. I found out later in the Turks and Caicos that he was likely the famous JoJo (has his own website) who frequents that area between T+C and Mayaguana. Anyhow I was needless to say, cleaning up more that just salt from my foulies after that experience, but it is my fondest memory of Mayaguana!
Most of my time was spent at Samana Cay - a deserted, but fantastic anchorage behind Propellor Cay and an extremely tricky entrance channel with incredible Staghorn and other hard coral. The diving and spearfishing was the best I have ever encountered with vast valleys of coral formations, caves, arches and swimthru's. The Nassau grouper were abundant as were the Conch...many of which were stuck in huge holes approximately 15ft deeper than the surrounding bottom depth of about 25ft. We called these spots 'Natures Refrigerator' and taking only what we could eat , we were able to easily live off the sea. We also hunted on the Island for a Bahamian Dove that was a pleasant change from the mostly seafood diet we subsisted on for our time there.
I also spent a lot of time in the southern end of the Exumas, Long Island, Rum Cay and the southern end of Cat Island (a favourite of mine basing at the rustic Greenwood Beach Resort) Believe me when I say that there is so much to discover and experience down Island and underwater that it is hard to put into words. I have found caves along cliffs packed with lobster, a Spanish anchor (in 90ft) and re-discovered a Spanish-American War shipwreck with 11inch cannons; I have witnessed Whale shark feeding in huge schools of tuna, Hammerheads as big as VW's, giant turtles...and the list goes on. The Islands are a very special place and if you ever have the opportunity to visit there again, you will leave with an even greater appreciation of an ocean environment that is relatively unspoiled!
It's great to hear about your plans in Marine biology and I wish you all the very best at HPU. Regards Bruce
 

cdavis

Well-Known Member
Jan 21, 2003
3,819
661
218
69
Sarasota, Fla
Now, I'm really getting itchy for the southern Bahamas.

Final questions, what was the visibility on both north and east (south?) sides of the island? Was there much wave action on the east side when it was rough on the north side?

Connor
 

Billwarren

New Member
Feb 13, 2019
4
0
1
64
California
:rcard :naughty I apologize for not writing a report on this sooner. I hadn't logged into this site since March of 2007 and I had received a personal message from a fellow freediver asking me about my experience diving Mayaguana in the Bahamas. My girlfriend and I traveled there back in March of 2007. We took a small prop plane via Bahamas Air that really felt more like an Aerial Bus then anything else. For instince the plane services all out islands and you have to land at several of them and let more passangers on and off before you actually arrive on Mayaguana. The island has NO tourists. NO luxary western style hotels and the "Mayaguana Airport" consists of an old U.S. military air strip that was all cracked with weeds growing up all over the place, one hanger (that served as the 'terminal') and when your landing you can actually see the wreckage of other prop planes in the bush around the airstrip, which is an encouraging sign. :hmm But anyways, the islanders are just terrific people, really they are. They are some of the most friendly people you will ever meet and they know how to cook grouper and conch like nobodys buisness, seriously, it was some of the tastiest grouper I've ever had. We stayed at a place called the Mayaguana Inn Guest House at Abrahams Bay, run by an old man named Cap and his lovely wife. I had the impression they receive very few visitors here. We got there and Cap had a picture of himself, his wife, and the test team for the Tomahawk Cruise Missile, no joke! Although Cap seemed to think the test team were other tourists, as he kept refering to them as such (that must have been what they told him). When we arrived, they showed us the whole island, including the small school there, of which the people there seem immensly proud. Cap lets you rent his RAV4 by the day so your free to explore the whole island. This place is paradise. Beautiful is an understatement when describing the beaches. There are salt marshes complete with Flamenco. But most importantly the Reefs are untouched. I did some conch fishing which is simply a matter of diving down, closing your eyes, sticking your knife out and grabbing one (they are everywhere!). Cap's wife was happy to prepare the conchs that I caught as well, she was such a good cook I can't stress that enough. There are some very very healthy Reefs that surround most of the northern and eastern part of the island. Some of these Reefs are almost too healthy, as brazen reef sharks were a common site. The other thing I was taken aback by were the barracuda I saw there. I've seen my share of these fish, and they are usually a pleasant site, but these things were monsterous! I mean 4-5 ft. might not quite describe some of them, and they were way too curious. I remember one dive, they took a keen interest on my girlfriend, I was wearing my Finis comp. monofin and I actually had to shoo them away by swimming towards them and harassing them! :martialThe best place on the island both for reef diving and for beautiful serene beaches is the North Shore. Nobody lives there, but there is an abandoned house that had marble floors old spanish style fascade, was gorgous, yet abondoned. Unfortunately, the best part of the coral reef system was a bit dangerous. I didn't have access to a boat, that would have made things MUCH easier. As it was, I had to wade out in this bay (a beautiful site for pictures btw) in about 4-6 ft. for, seriously, over a mile. The transit while carrying my mask and fins took about 40 minutes. I quickly found out that the best way was to wade across the bay to an inaccessable point via rode. There the distance to the reef is much shorter, under a quarter mile (see Google Earth). This Reef, while being the best on the island, is an Advanced Freedive. There is a hedge of dead coral which creates some big breakers, and if one is not an experienced freediver or is not careful, the waves will quickly slam you around and smash you repeatedly into dead coral and jagged rocks. This is not an exaggeration. To dive here safely one should be experienced and have some good technical equipment, like a pair of Cressi long fins. However, once you get out far enough, it becomes WELL WORTH IT. The reef here absolutely opens up at about 30 ft. of water and extends down well past 100 ft. I'm talking extensive coral gardens, overhangs, finger reefs, and a reef wall that must go down to at least 130 ft. If your craving healthy reefs; that explosion of color and creatures, you will not be dissapointed here. It was almost like a jewel that you have to work hard for, like Indiana Jones or something. The easier diving on the island was in and around Abraham's Bay. However, the islanders have been conch fishing there for some time and it shows. But once you travel to North Shore and see the abundance of life there, you get dissapointed with everything else. I didn't have enough time to fully explore the eastern part of Mayaguana. We stayed on the island for six days and I only got to dive the eastern side once, it was a close second to the North Shore. I got the impression diving the east side that if I had a second or third day to explore it could proove to be a hidden gem. It's actually quite possible the eastern reefs could be better then the North Shore, I simply don't know, but according to Cap, his son, and some of the other islanders I talked to the North Shore reef is the best. The eastern part of the island is a trek, only accessible from an unmaintained dirt road on the south shore. You need need an SUV for sure, one with AWD. If I went again, which I would in a heartbeat, I would be carrying a speargun with me [and I mean for protection];) thats how I would descride diving Mayaguana. A healthy reef ecosystem with a full complement of Tertiary Predators that are eager to find out who/what you are and possibly how you taste. Overall, the lack of amenities and other people is compensated for by the quality of the diving here. I hope I've said everything I can think of and not too much. I apologize to the person who requested I write a report on this back in May of 2007 :naughty I will be an active part of this forum from now on, and again I apoligize for the inactivity in sharing this experience. I hope this helps anyone lloking for more info. on Mayaguana in the Bahamas. Good luck with your diving and most importantly, stay safe. -- James H. Stewart
 

Billwarren

New Member
Feb 13, 2019
4
0
1
64
California
Hello I'd like to talk to you about diving in mayaguana.trying to find you on Facebook there just too many guys with you name.I have some important information for you about what's under water in mayaguana and I would like you to contact me and maybe tell some of your other friends to contact me. [email protected]
 

Attachments

JasterPKH

New Member
:rcard :naughty I apologize for not writing a report on this sooner. I hadn't logged into this site since March of 2007 and I had received a personal message from a fellow freediver asking me about my experience diving Mayaguana in the Bahamas. My girlfriend and I traveled there back in March of 2007. We took a small prop plane via Bahamas Air that really felt more like an Aerial Bus then anything else. For instince the plane services all out islands and you have to land at several of them and let more passangers on and off before you actually arrive on Mayaguana. The island has NO tourists. NO luxary western style hotels and the "Mayaguana Airport" consists of an old U.S. military air strip that was all cracked with weeds growing up all over the place, one hanger (that served as the 'terminal') and when your landing you can actually see the wreckage of other prop planes in the bush around the airstrip, which is an encouraging sign. :hmm But anyways, the islanders are just terrific people, really they are. They are some of the most friendly people you will ever meet and they know how to cook grouper and conch like nobodys buisness, seriously, it was some of the tastiest grouper I've ever had. We stayed at a place called the Mayaguana Inn Guest House at Abrahams Bay, run by an old man named Cap and his lovely wife. I had the impression they receive very few visitors here. We got there and Cap had a picture of himself, his wife, and the test team for the Tomahawk Cruise Missile, no joke! Although Cap seemed to think the test team were other tourists, as he kept refering to them as such (that must have been what they told him). When we arrived, they showed us the whole island, including the small school there, of which the people there seem immensly proud. Cap lets you rent his RAV4 by the day so your free to explore the whole island. This place is paradise. Beautiful is an understatement when describing the beaches. There are salt marshes complete with Flamenco. But most importantly the Reefs are untouched. I did some conch fishing which is simply a matter of diving down, closing your eyes, sticking your knife out and grabbing one (they are everywhere!). Cap's wife was happy to prepare the conchs that I caught as well, she was such a good cook I can't stress that enough. There are some very very healthy Reefs that surround most of the northern and eastern part of the island. Some of these Reefs are almost too healthy, as brazen reef sharks were a common site. The other thing I was taken aback by were the barracuda I saw there. I've seen my share of these fish, and they are usually a pleasant site, but these things were monsterous! I mean 4-5 ft. might not quite describe some of them, and they were way too curious. I remember one dive, they took a keen interest on my girlfriend, I was wearing my Finis comp. monofin and I actually had to shoo them away by swimming towards them and harassing them! :martialThe best place on the island both for reef diving and for beautiful serene beaches is the North Shore. Nobody lives there, but there is an abandoned house that had marble floors old spanish style fascade, was gorgous, yet abondoned. Unfortunately, the best part of the coral reef system was a bit dangerous. I didn't have access to a boat, that would have made things MUCH easier. As it was, I had to wade out in this bay (a beautiful site for pictures btw) in about 4-6 ft. for, seriously, over a mile. The transit while carrying my mask and fins took about 40 minutes. I quickly found out that the best way was to wade across the bay to an inaccessable point via rode. There the distance to the reef is much shorter, under a quarter mile (see Google Earth). This Reef, while being the best on the island, is an Advanced Freedive. There is a hedge of dead coral which creates some big breakers, and if one is not an experienced freediver or is not careful, the waves will quickly slam you around and smash you repeatedly into dead coral and jagged rocks. This is not an exaggeration. To dive here safely one should be experienced and have some good technical equipment, like a pair of Cressi long fins. However, once you get out far enough, it becomes WELL WORTH IT. The reef here absolutely opens up at about 30 ft. of water and extends down well past 100 ft. I'm talking extensive coral gardens, overhangs, finger reefs, and a reef wall that must go down to at least 130 ft. If your craving healthy reefs; that explosion of color and creatures, you will not be dissapointed here. It was almost like a jewel that you have to work hard for, like Indiana Jones or something. The easier diving on the island was in and around Abraham's Bay. However, the islanders have been conch fishing there for some time and it shows. But once you travel to North Shore and see the abundance of life there, you get dissapointed with everything else. I didn't have enough time to fully explore the eastern part of Mayaguana. We stayed on the island for six days and I only got to dive the eastern side once, it was a close second to the North Shore. I got the impression diving the east side that if I had a second or third day to explore it could proove to be a hidden gem. It's actually quite possible the eastern reefs could be better then the North Shore, I simply don't know, but according to Cap, his son, and some of the other islanders I talked to the North Shore reef is the best. The eastern part of the island is a trek, only accessible from an unmaintained dirt road on the south shore. You need need an SUV for sure, one with AWD. If I went again, which I would in a heartbeat, I would be carrying a speargun with me [and I mean for protection];) thats how I would descride diving Mayaguana. A healthy reef ecosystem with a full complement of Tertiary Predators that are eager to find out who/what you are and possibly how you taste. Overall, the lack of amenities and other people is compensated for by the quality of the diving here. I hope I've said everything I can think of and not too much. I apologize to the person who requested I write a report on this back in May of 2007 :naughty I will be an active part of this forum from now on, and again I apoligize for the inactivity in sharing this experience. I hope this helps anyone lloking for more info. on Mayaguana in the Bahamas. Good luck with your diving and most importantly, stay safe. -- James H. Stewart
Very in-depth report man! Thanks for sharing.