Resort’s recreation area now reaches under water


Deep Water Cay has begun to offer scuba, snorkeling and dive excursions to a vibrant world that has few signs of human visitation.

A free diving spearfisher explores the reefs near Deep Water Cay, an island resort near the east end of Grand Bahama Island.
A free diving spearfisher explores the reefs near Deep Water Cay, an island resort near the east end of Grand Bahama Island.
Deep Water Cay / Courtesy photo


Though best known for abundant bonefishing, Deep Water Cay — a small, private island off the east end of Grand Bahama — now is becoming a dive.

The resort, which opened in 1958, recently began offering scuba diving instruction, snorkeling and dive excursions aboard a 33-foot power catamaran and a 22-foot rigid inflatable.

“A lot of marine life, tons of brain corals, lots of friendly fish,” dive instructor Phillip Russell said.

Russell, a native of Grand Key in the Abaco Islands who has been an instructor since 1997, took over the resort’s dive shop this year. He’s currently in the R & D phase — exploring the many coral reefs and blue holes (marine caves) located within a short boat ride of the island in search of the best dive sites. It’s an enjoyable job with an abundance of riches: with the closest dive operation more than 80 miles away in Freeport, the area shows few signs of human visitation.

Among the main draws: Drift Harbor, a narrow channel that runs north-south for about a half-mile between mangrove islands where snorkelers can glide along with the current to see a blue hole up close, along with all sorts of marine life.

“Spotted eagle rays, barracudas, turtles, schools of jacks, snapper, lobster,” Russell said. “It freaked me out. I’ve been diving for years and fell in love with it. You can see just about anything you want to see.”

A popular new dive site is “Big Rock,” located on the south side of Deep Water Cay — named by Russell for a huge stand of mountainous boulder coral that he calls “diving’s version of an oak tree.” Large schools of colorful tropical fish — along with toothy, fierce-looking Cubera snapper and barracuda — circulate around 35-foot-deep coral heads that rise nearly to the surface.

Nearby is 40-foot-deep “Jane’s Reef,” named for an avid 15-year-old scuba diver from Northern Virginia who first helped Russell explore the site. Here, a dense curtain of tiny silver minnows darts and flashes in a sand canyon between coral boulders, chased by black grouper and jacks. On a recent dive, a large hogfish patrolling the perimeter was so unafraid of humans that it swam well within spearing range to check them out. Fortunately for the hog, neither diver carried a speargun; Bahamian law prohibits spearfishing with scuba gear.

For those not scuba-certified, Russell offers the Professional Association of Dive Instructors’ “Discover Scuba” program where novices practice skills in the resort’s infinity pool, then take a shallow plunge to about 20 feet in the ocean with full scuba gear furnished by the shop. Russell also teaches PADI’s full open-water scuba certification course, which takes about a week.

And for guests who want to get out on the water but not under it, there is a full complement of water sports equipment.

“The resort wants to expand. They want to make it a family-oriented getaway,” Russell said. “You can fish, dive, snorkel, kayak, paddleboard and sail.”

For Deep Water Cay lodging, fishing and water sports information, visit www.deepwatercay.com

Read more Outdoors stories from the Miami Herald


    South Florida outdoors notebook: Seminar on bottom fishing set for July 10

    Captain Bouncer Smith will conduct a seminar on Bottom fishing from 20 feet to 2,000 feet at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, July 10, at Dusky Sportcenter, 110 N. Bryan Rd., Dania Beach. Admission is $15, redeemable for store merchandise. Call 954-922-8890.

Tyler Vick of Pawleys Island, South Carolina, holds up a nice snook caught near Flamingo in Everglades National Park.


    Snook appear to have made full recovery in Everglades National Park

    The fishing near Flamingo in Everglades National Park is so good these days you almost forget about the bloodthirsty insects descending on you and the cloying heat enveloping you the minute you get out of the car.

  • Fishing Report: Redfish are best bet in Florida Bay

    Captain Jason Sullivan of Rising Tide Charters reported having some of the best tailing redfish action he has seen in years over the flats in Florida Bay. At times he has come across schools of redfish that numbered close to 100. Captain Jon Fetter of Catching the Cure Backcountry Fishing Charters out of Fort Myers reported redfishing has been hot during the early mornings around the mangrove shorelines. Shrimp-tipped jigs have been the top redfish baits this week. Plenty of mangrove snapper can be caught along the mangrove islands and oyster bars where they are attacking shrimp-tipped jigs.

Get your Miami Heat Fan Gear!

Join the

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category