Underwater enthusiasts are currently following Fabien Cousteau’s “Mission 31,” a 31-day stay in the Florida Keys-based underwater habitat, Aquarius. As the Atlantic Monthly points out, funding to explore 99% of Earth’s habitable area (which is beneath the water’s surface) is a fraction of that devoted to space discovery. It’s exciting to think we are just beginning to understand our own home planet.
Exuma is one of the greatest places to encounter the world under the sea, and our area is also part of the Cousteau legacy. Grandpa Cousteau—the famous Jacques—is renowned for propelling and popularizing marine science. Here, Jacques filmed several episodes of his TV show and charted the intricate depths of Mystery Cave.
Although the cave itself is not a site for the casual SCUBA diver, the entrance is home to snapper, grunts, schoolmaster, sergeant major, and Atlantic spadefish. Its protected location makes it one of the most accessible sites for snorkeling around our beautiful islands. But rest assured, there are many, many more.
Individuals of every skill level can find something to explore. Aquaphobes can simply wade in from the beach of Chat N Chill for encounters with tame sea rays and often dolphins. Reef and blue hole snorkeling options abound. SCUBA beginners can graduate from pool to open water, while the adventure-ready can partake of trips to reefs, wrecks, and walls.
See the Dive Exuma website for information about guided snorkeling and SCUBA excursions, lessons, equipment rentals, and tank refills. Additionally, the ezine of nearly the same name (Dive EXUMA!) offers a nice map and description of area sites, which can help those renting boats to prepare for self-guided trips.
The bottom line, if you’re into snorkeling or SCUBA—or think you might be if given the chance—you should follow in Jacques Cousteau’s footsteps and book a visit to Exuma today!