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November 2021    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Vol. 47, No. 11   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Riding Rock Resort, San Salvador, Bahamas

a dive resort awakens, post-pandemic…

from the November, 2021 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

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Dear Fellow Diver,

If it weren't for my Jonesing for the reefs after an 18-month pandemic hiatus, I wouldn't book an August trip to the Bahamas, where it's hot, humid, and the threat of a hurricane lingers. But I just had to get back in the water, away from crowds. So I got a good price for my four friends and me at Riding Rock Resort, San Salvador Island, population 1200, where COVID has been almost nonexistent, and headed off for the excellent wall diving.

Riding Rock Resort Rooms and PoolIt's a joy to arrive at a small airport, where everyone is friendly, the luggage comes to you on a four-wheeled cart, and the only stuff to buy is Bahamian beer or rum. I did have to show my CDC vaccination card to multiple people, and that's good. Bahamians take COVID precautions seriously, and everyone always wore a mask indoors. Aside from COVID, the island is not much different than it was several decades ago, a real treat in today's world.

At 5:30 p.m., I checked in to the same room I had 12 years ago, then, with the usual rum punch in hand, I was ready to pepper Michelle, the long-time manager, and dive leader Bruce with questions about the diving operation and schedule. But my more significant questions were, would the diving measure up to what it was 12 years ago when I reviewed it for Undercurrent and would being the first group at a reopening resort work out smoothly?

Well, diving with Guanahani Divers pretty much did measure up, with some exceptions. Sand Castle was a typical second or third dive. I kicked past sea fans and then dropped over the lip of the wall to 75 feet and eased along -- Bruce was fine with the slow, exploratory dive style of our group -- finding squirrelfish and a tiny arrow blenny in holes. As on other dives, 6- to 7-foot Caribbean reef sharks patrolled the waters. They seem acclimated to divers, and I quickly acclimated to them. Like on most of the dives, my computer logged a max depth of about 80 feet. I saw nice live boulder (elephant ear) coral and a few wire corals, and up top, along the sand bottom, small patches of live coral, where I was greeted by an ever-intriguing mixed school of streaming blue chromis, bluehead wrasse, and other small wrasses. A variety of parrotfish was on hand, including stoplight, red band, princess, and striped. I watched a Spanish hogfish clean the gunk off a barracuda as a mutton snapper waited its turn. I was stunned when a reef shark passed by with a huge rusted hook poking through its mouth. For a moment, I wondered if I could remove it, then thought better....

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