Turtles, Stingrays & Swimming Pigs Out in the Abacos

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Laid-back diving in the unspoilt reefs around Great Abaco - wrecks, turtles, sharks and even swimming pigs


Abaco map

My first dive at Green Turtle Cay, a tiny island off Greater Abaco in the north of the Bahamas, is on the wreck of the San Jacinto, an historic US naval steamship. Built in 1847, and sank in 1865, this experimental Civil War gunship was dogged with technical problems. Today the wreck sits in only 12m of water and is mostly broken up and scattered, but some larger pieces of the hull remain intact. Being shallow the light is great for photos and the dive site is abundant with life.


The wreck of the San Jacinto, which was one of the first US naval steamships


A healthy reef with plenty of nooks and crannies to explore

Next up is a dive on Coral Canyons which is another shallow diver under 15m perfect for photographers. This underwater canyon has plenty of nooks and crannies to explore and it is really fantastic to see such a healthy reef full of soft corals and plenty of fish.

Abaco Piggyville 1One of the swimming pigs

Our last stop for the day is Piggyville, named for its resident population of swimming pigs. These pigs have learned that tourists are a great source of free food. Photographing these guys in the water is so much fun that our dive guide could only drag me away once my memory card was full.


Caribbean reef sharks gather

Our second day gets off to a very good start with some Caribbean reef shark action. With a bait box hanging from the boat we attract a handful of reefies. It’s interesting to see that these sharks are clearly not as accustomed to divers as those around Nassau. They take much more interest in us and their head-on passes provide some great photo opportunities.


Green turtles feed on the sea grass

Abaco Brendals Stingray

The stingrays search for small crustaceans

We finish off with a snorkel in a secluded bay where local fishermen go to clean their catch. It’s not long before a mob of turtles, rays and nurse sharks turn up looking for a free feed. The dive guide is happy to oblige with some of the bait left over from our shark dive. 

Green Turtle Cay is a little slice of paradise, with a lot to offer the visiting diver. Some wrecks, some healthy reefs and an abundance of marine life. And don’t forget the adorable swimming pigs of Piggyville, they might just steal your heart while they’re trying to steal all of your food! 


• Tom stayed at Bluff House Beach Resort and had two days diving with Brendal’s Dive Center. Go to Dive Worldwide to book a trip to the Abaco Islands



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