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Scuba Diving

Thunderball Grotto: Underwater Cave Diving in the Exuma Bahamas

Many avid cave divers will tell you that there are several awe-inspiring locations for underwater cave diving in the Bahamas. However, one of the most famed and stunning sites to engage in this exhilarating sport is Thunderball Grotto or Thunderball Cave as it is sometimes called.

Location
Located just west of Staniel Cay in the Exumas chain, it has been featured in several Hollywood films, such as Ron Howard’s ‘Splash’, two James Bond movies, ‘Thunderball’ and ‘Never Say Never Again’ and also in ‘Into the Blue’, which starred Jessica Alba.

Sea Life
Underwater Cave DivingAmid a veritable maze of entrances and underwater pathways, divers can enjoy seeing numerous varieties of fish, coral and sea life. Animated groupers, lobsters, snappers, and angelfish abound. It is possible to also observe a slow-moving sea turtle or small wayward octopus from time to time.

Many snorkelers have taken to bringing bread crumbs with them during their dive to Thunderball Grotto. The fish certainly appreciate it, returning the favour by swarming around the diver and offering an up-close and personal view of their natural beauty.

There is no shortage of magical and wondrous things to see in Thunderball Grotto. Upon entering this hollowed-out rock, be sure to look upward to admire the natural skylight that has been produced by erosion, breath-taking in both the sun and moonlight. The beams of light snake in from the holes above and the azure waters light up like precious jewels. In certain places, the cave ceiling is only a few feet above the diver’s head, and in others, the ceiling stretches up to an astounding twenty feet or so.

How to Get Into Thunderball Grotto
During times of high tide, there are five entrances that require you to dive underwater, and two more entrances that can be accessed without having to dive underneath the surface. Although this is a popular spot for underwater cave diving, you do not have to be a diver to access it.

At low tide, snorkelers can make their way in to view this natural wonder. Since the water level is low, a mask and snorkel are optional; however, when the water is high, diving equipment is necessary to access this underwater paradise. It is actually recommended to enter the cave at low (slack) tide as the current can be very strong at times.

Visitors are welcomed to look, admire and drink in all the stunning natural beauty of Thunderball Grotto, but touching and/or breaking off coral or any other flora is strictly forbidden. The cave, as well as two of the surrounding islands, is protected by the Bahamas National Trust. Visitors can tie up their boats to nearby mooring buoys and seek out adventure.

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