An expert opinion is a highly sought after asset when diving, but first-hand knowledge of adventurous locations, rare experiences and exciting new diving styles from William Trubridge is another matter entirely.
“There’s cave systems in the Bahamas like nowhere else in the world. In some cases they extend for miles underneath the limestone rock. You’ll go through chambers and passageways with the most incredible stalagmite and stalactites, and then you’ll pop up somewhere else in another tiny blue hole. For someone with a lot of experience it would be one of the most incredible things you can do on the planet.”
“Dean’s Blue Hole off of Long Island is widely considered the best destination for freediving in the world. The water is so deep yet you don’t have to deal with swell, waves, currents, boats and jelly fish – the things that are typical in the open ocean. It’s also a spectacular place to dive because it almost feels like you are in an underwater cathedral.”
“This is an experience that everyone should get first hand. To actually be amongst these creatures when they’re feeding makes you a lot more confident about being in the water because you see how non-threatening and uninterested they are in humans, and it can dispel some of the fear created by films like Jaws. Almost every island has a shark dive where you go out in a boat sit on the sand at the bottom and the sharks come around and swim as they feed on the fish that the dive master brings.”
Swimming with Wild Dolphins
“Atlantic Spotted Dolphins, which come through Bahamian waters, are the most social species of dolphin in the world. They will spend hours swimming around and interacting with people. And if you dive down about 30-40 feet and then come up very slowly with your hands by your sides, a group of them will often cluster around you, and as you float to the surface they will spin around and break away, kind of like a flower erupting from the water. It’s the most incredible thing to be so close to these mammals and look them in the eye and see the intelligence so vividly displayed in their gaze.”
“Almost every island in the Bahamas has a wall close by where the shelf or the flat sandy banks will drop off from 30-40 feet to thousands of feet very, very quickly, and along that edge there’s a lot of activity, a lot of reef and groupers and sharks and all sorts. So it’s a great place to dive and go slightly deeper than you can in most other places in the Bahamas and to experience that vastness of the open ocean whilst still having the reef close by.”
While these activities may seem daunting, there is a word of encouragement from the globally revered sportsman for those looking to embrace the adventure of life underwater.
What would you say to people looking to try freediving?
"If you’re on a yacht, free diving is something you can do anywhere. It’s not something that requires super deep water – you can free dive just on a shallow reef. So by learning the skills of free diving it would enrich your experience of cruising around the islands. One of the most amazing things is just to stop the boat, jump in and swim down into this ever-lasting expanse of blue. If you can acquire the confidence to hold your breath and the ability to swim efficiently, you can enjoy the water so much more and essentially become a sea creature yourself."
You also run a freediving centre in the Bahamas – what can you tell us about that?
"When I first came to Dean’s Blue Hole to see if it would be suitable for setting up camp, I fell in love not just with the Blue Hole but the island itself. It’s the perfect combination of a tropical island but with not too much tourism. It still retains its own individuality and hasn’t become another destination on package tours. And it offers a lot of things for me to do outside free diving time, most of them relating to the water, but it still gives me that diversity."