NASA astronaut Douglas Wheelock, who was aboard the International Space Station in November 2010, reflected on a photograph taken from the station of the Bahamas, “Of all the places on our beautiful planet few can rival the beauty and richness of colors in the Bahamas.” The clear, turquoise waters that surround and flow between this group of about 700 atolls and cays, making up the Bahamian islands, are indeed a diver’s paradise.
The shallow waters surrounding New Providence hold gardens of coral heads, which are scattered across the sandy bottom, creating individual ecosystems. These hubs of activity are perfect spots for all water enthusiasts. From boaters and fishermen to snorkelers and scuba divers, the Great Bahama Bank has been a long-time resource for both locals and tourists alike.
School House Reef is just one example of what shallow reef diving in the Bahamas is all about. The large cluster of coral heads, sponges and extensive rocky outcrop is an ideal spot for photo enthusiasts, students, non-certified divers and those who enjoy really examining all parts of a reef, especially for those elusive critters that are easy to miss such as blennies and gobies. Found in only 20 feet (6 m) of water, Schoolhouse Reef on a still and warm summer’s day truly illustrates the magic of the Bahamian ocean.