Saturday, December 8, 2018

In the Bahamas, Cat Island offers spectacular diving and solitude for miles

A corroding fishing boat, abandoned after its captain died, lists on a beach in Exuma Sound on Cat Island. The Out Islands still support small-scale commercial fishing, with catch almost exclusively bound for local consumption. (John Briley/For The Washington Post)

By John Briley

Sometimes, a shift in perspective makes all the difference. I am 100 feet deep in a Bahamian sea, finning along a reef wall that plunges like a waterfall of color into the blue depths below. Jacks, parrotfish and dugongs glide through a jungle of corals and sponges — green, yellow, purple, red — that sprout from the reef. A school of Bermuda chub passes overhead, silhouetted in the refracted sunlight. And here, at the nadir of this dive, my mood is improving by the second.

I’m a half-mile offshore of Cat Island a crooked scythe of limestone 130 miles and a galaxy away from the cruise ports, casinos and bulging resorts of Nassau and Freeport. Cat is one of the Out Islands of the Bahamas, an assortment of wispy islets strewn like twigs across the tropical Atlantic Ocean.  Read more >>