Just west of Staniel Cay lies Thunderball Grotto, showcased to the world as the location of many of the scenes in two James Bond movies, Thunderball and Never Say Never Again, as well as Into The Blue with Jessica Alba and the Disney movie, Splash. Aside from its Hollywood fame, however, Thunderball Grotto (or Thunderball Cave, as it is also known) is renowned as one of the top scuba-diving locations in the world.
Amid a veritable maze of entrances and underwater pathways, divers enter this hollowed-out rock and find themselves in a magical ‘fishbowl’. The ceiling, which is as high as 20 feet in some spots, is dotted with natural skylights where rain has eroded the rock, allowing the sunlight or moonlight to stream down upon the sparkling waters. Hundreds of varieties of fish, coral and sea life meet the eye. Animated groupers, lobsters, snappers, and angelfish abound. It is even possible to also observe a slow-moving sea turtle or small wayward octopus from time to time.
At high tide, there are five entrances that require you to dive underwater to reach the grotto and two which can be accessed from above so you don’t even have to be a diver to appreciate the beauty of this incredible place. High tide can be tricky though, because the currents are strong at times.
At low tide, you can tie up your boat to nearby mooring buoys and swim right in. With the water level low, you may not even need a mask and snorkel.
Many snorkelers bring bread crumbs with them during their dive to Thunderball Grotto. The fish love it and will swarm around you for the tasty treats, giving you a rare opportunity to see them up close.
Visitors are encouraged to enjoy and admire the spectacular beauty of Thunderball Grotto but the cave is protected by the Bahamas National Trust and touching or breaking off coral or other flora is prohibited.
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