The following caption was taken from Eleuthera .com
Snorkeling and Spear fishing
My Tips for Snorkeling and Spearfishing
(This article about snorkeling was written by Andy (32), my nephew from Switzerland. He spent the summer months of 2010 spearfishing and shark watching in Eleuthera.)
Andy: Exploring the underwater world has always been a big passion of mine. I enjoyed it especially in the clear and species-rich waters of Eleuthera.
I spent countless hours snorkeling the magnificent Atlantic side reefs during my five Summer months in 2010. And I was amazed by the beauty every time I went out to explore the underwater world.
Oh, here is a shot I took of the beauty who accompanied me on my various Eleutheran adventure tours.
Swimming by myself below the water surface always made me forget everything especially time. Often I swam the quarter mile (400 meters) from Hut Pointe beach to the outer reef. This area is on the upper left of the photo below, near the Sky Beach Club resort.
The outer reef runs along the greater parts of Eleuthera’s Atlantic side, pictured below.
Notice on the aerial photo the long, white line that extends to the left and right of the words Atlantic side of Eleuthera. That’s the outer reef.
Great Reef & Interesting Coral
Most of the reef is intact. Wonderful! Sometimes the coral is shaped like castles, and the variety of coral and fish is stunning.
I also found numerous dive troughs and fascinating caves.
Here is the strange-looking spotted trunk fish
I’m not saying that the area between the beach and the outer reef is boring, not at all. You will find many beautiful snorkeling spots close to the beach. Watch out for dark blue areas in the water. They are full of coral and sea life.
Sometimes coral reaches up almost to the water surface. Therefore you can snorkel in depths of just 2 feet. Feels like flying over a countryside.
Here’s a good example of snorkeling in shallow water. Jolana is literally floating over the “vegetable garden”.
Be careful though not to touch coral with either your fins or hands. Why?…
- Coral is fragile and breaks easily.
- Coral protects itself with a substance that will burn your skin just as jelly fish does.
One day I didn’t watch out and got stung by the nasty fireworm. This is a coral eating worm that sits on top of coral heads. The worm’s hair is highly toxic and gave me a terrible burning pain that lasted for days.
On my underwater tours I saw several crawfish (lobster) and schools of small reef fish. But also big fish like the giant barracuda (below), huge stingrays, tarpons, turtles and of course sharks.
The Joy of Watching Sharks
Elegant reef shark
There’s no reason to be afraid of sharks. They do not attack humans if there’s no blood in the water from either your body or from a fish just spear-gunned.
I was always cautious while spear fishing. How?… I dragged a Styrofoam container behind me and as soon as I had speared a fish, I threw it into that container. No blood in the water to attract sharks.
During all of my summer snorkeling in Eleuthera, I was combing the reefs for my daily food. And never did any shark bother me, with this one exception…
As I was on my snorkeling and spearfishing tour close to shore, a Caribbean reef shark turned up. I watched him quite relaxedly and he seemed pretty uninterested in what I was doing. At least that’s what I thought.
Sharks seem to know exactly what spear fishermen do. My reef shark suddenly disappeared and I presumed he had gone. Shortly thereafter I shot a yellow tail snapper.
As I was just about to take the speared fish into my hand, my reef shark shot by like a torpedo. He went for the struggling snapper. Luckily the snapper managed to get off the spear before either the shark or I could grab him. Otherwise the shark would probably have gotten the snapper as well as my hand. God, what a relief!
I was quite shocked by the unexpected and fast reappearance of the reef shark but I tried to stay cool as the predator drew his circles around me. This shark behaviour made me recognize that it’s best to leave the area now, which I immediately did.
Sharks generally will sense a struggling fish on a hook or spear from afar, and they will naturally go for it. But don’t worry about experiencing a similar situation while snorkeling. No shark will be interested in you unless a fish is fighting for his survival on your spear. Get it out of the water quickly and into the floating box behind you.
If you spot a shark, don’t panic. Stay calm and stop moving. Quietly enjoy this happy moment. I always regarded it as a true gift of nature to be able to watch these beautifully streamlined predators pass by peacefully.
As I was just starting to snorkel in Eleuthera, a local friend jokingly said to me…“Isn’t it weird to know that we are not at the top of the food chain any longer”? Well,…
I can honestly say that I have seen plenty of nurse sharks, reef sharks even hammerheads. And I never felt endangered by them. Instead, I admired these gorgeous cratures! Remember… No blood, no problem!
I‘m really grateful for having had so many breathtaking experiences in the turquoise and blue underwater world of Eleuthera’s Atlantic side. To me, it was a unique time in paradise.
Fascinating!… Four palometa fish hunting a large school of small fish
// // Surfing is also great on Eleuthera, here is some info from Eleuthera .com
Swimming At Surfer’s
Unless you are a strong swimmer I suggest you confine your swimming to the small cove at the north end of the beach. It’s to the left of the beach shack that surfers have built using driftwood. There’s a photo of the shack at the top of this page.
There’s an interesting huge rock formation that you’ll see after walking up north for a minute or so. And there’s natural shading, too, where you can rest and watch the sea.
The small cove at the north end of the beach is good for snorkeling on very calm days. Other than that, this beach is not recommended for snorkeling.
Directions to Surfers Beach
From the North, i.e. Gregory Town: 2.0 miles south of Pam’s Island Made Gift Shop turn left at the large sign that says *Surfer’s Beach Manor*…
From the South, i.e. Rainbow Inn: 5.9 miles north of the Rainbow Inn turn right at the large sign that says *Surfer’s Beach Manor*…
… follow the rocky road to Surfer’s Beach Manor. At the bottom of the hill is a T-junction. Turn left. The next road on your right – a sandy road – is the access road to the beach.
Make sure your car has good clearance. Although a 4WD vehicle is not necessary, adequate clearance and caution is.
Interview about Surfer’s Beach near Gregory Town
Here you can view a cool video and read everything about Surfer’s Beach as experienced by long-time surfers Jon, Brandon and Cameron. I had a chat with the brothers Brandon & Camron who told me everything I wanted to know about Surfers Beach. And now you’ll know, too.
You will find directions to the beach at the end of this page.
And there’s a link to a very detailed map of Gregory Town and Surfer’s Beach right after the interview with Brandon and Cameron.
But first let’s take a look at the beach and the shack where surf fans meet.
Interview with California and Eleuthera Surfers
Interviewer: Cameron, it’s the end of December 2005 and we are meeting here in Eleuthera. You are 18 and your brother Brandon is 20.
I.: You are from California. What do you like best about Surfer’s Beach near Gregory Town in Eleuthera?
Brandon: What I like best is that it’s not very crowded. I mean the most I’ve seen out there was ten or twelve surfers.
The two surfer brothers. Cameron left, Brandon right.
Interviewer: How does California surfing compare to Eleuthera surfing?
Brandon: California is always crowded and surfers are fighting for waves while here everybody is real chill and there’s no competition for waves.
Cameron: California can get surf all year round but Eleuthera can get way better surf during the Winter plus you’ve got the warm water which is about 78 to 79 degrees ( 25 to 26°C.) … and then the warm air. It’s really nice. The amount of people is probably the biggest difference.
I.: Please give us an example of your experience at Surfer’s Beach in Eleuthera.
Cameron: There was one day where nobody else was surfing but Brandon and me. And we were surfing all day. The only person we saw was Pete, one of the locals who came down for about five minutes. He caught only one wave and then left. And we just had perfect surf all day and beautiful weather.
Brandon: We went out surfing one time and I didn’t know it at the time but when I got in, people were saying that there were sharks under us. Now, nothing scary. Just little four foot reef sharks that won’t even bother you. But it’s just a cool little story. Laughs.
And here is what Jon told me about Surfers Beach. Jon is a teacher from New Zealand. He has worked for a private school in Eleuthera for a year… and he went surfing every week.
Jon: At surfers beach the waves break over a rock reef which extends out from the water’s edge. The sand comes and goes, but at low tide it is not unusual for rocky points to jut out of the sand. An additional potential hazard is that the steep beach profile creates a dumping shorebreak and entering and exiting the water requires care and timing.
Once past the shorebreak it is an easy paddle out to the main takeoff area. The wave forms a nice peak with a left-tapering wall which often hits a deep spot half-way toward shore. Surfers who can negotiate this flat spot may be rewarded as the wave feels bottom again and races shoreward.
Overall the wave is soft but shapely, providing an open face which allows expansive swooping turns. I have heard that it can get hollow when swell size, sand buildup and tide are in synch.
I.: What time of year is good for surfing here and what months would you rather not recommend?
Cameron: I’d say definitely during the Winter from end of September to, well, late March is really good… The summer months are flat. Take a look at this excellent Surfers Beach Surf Report and Forecast where you can see some terrific Surfers Beach photos. (This opens a new window. You’ll be right back here when you close it.)
I.: If one of your California surfer friends decided to come to Eleuthera, what advice would you give him regarding transportation of his surf gear?
Brandon: Make sure you tighten the strap on top of your car. One day I lost a surf board driving, hmm… a bit too fast.
Cameron: And for the flights, wrap your board in cloth to prevent scratching.
I.: What kind of accommodations would you recommend?
Cameron: I would recommend Surfers Beach Manor or the MoJoKingdom pictured below. A really nice house that was built by a surfer actually. And he built it from all kinds of cool things that he found. It’s an art work more than a house. It’s cheap and it’s really close to the beach.
I.: Let’s say this surfer has just arrived in or near Gregory Town. Now he may need some local surfing information. To whom would you send him?
Cameron: To Tom Glucksman from Surfer’s Haven.
I.: After a day at Surfer’s Beach he’ll probably want a good meal, drinks and some entertainment. Where would you send our newly arrived surfer?
Brandon: I’d go to Surfer’s Beach Manor and ask for Floyd. He is a real good guy. He’ll give you a good meal and all the information you need.
And then on Tuesday and Friday nights there’s the local bar Elvina’s. They do jam sessions twice a week. So that’s a lot of fun… getting a couple of drinks, hang out, meet some of the locals, etc.
I.: Hey, what about an insider tip for surfers new to Eleuthera?
Brandon: Don’t get caught in the bone yard at surfer’s. This is an area in the sea near the big rock formation… see map link at the end of the interview. Ask locally where exactly the bone yard is.
Cameron: And watch out for poison wood, a plant that causes severe skin burning. Some of the narrow roads going down to the beach are grown in and you could touch poison wood leaves while driving. Let locals show you this plant and learn what to do, when you get burnt.
I.: As there is no public transportation system on Eleuthera in the Bahamas, how do surfers generally get around?
Brandon: Most people rent cars. Or just walk everywhere. You can also hitch-hike but usually not with your board. The locals are very friendly and the first or second car by will give you a ride.
I.: Tell me, are your Eleuthera surf friends usually flying into North Eleuthera or into Governor’s Harbour in Central Eleuthera?
Cameron: North Eleuthera (airport code ELH) is better for getting to surfers beach because it’s closer. And if you’re not gonna rent a car, the cab ride is much cheaper from North Eleuthera than from Governor’s Harbour airport.
I.: And is there a preferred airline from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, over to Eleuthera?
Brandon: I always take small TwinAir, from Ft. Lauderdale, http://www.flytwinair.com/ But Bahamas Air will also take surf boards. If you’re interested in another airline, it’s important to ask whether they accept surf boards. Continental Airlines to my knowledge does not take them.
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