With lots of mask spitting and (surely unfounded) rumours of uncouth divers peeing in their wetsuits, you'd be forgiven for thinking that diving is a million miles away from any hint of glamour. Enter the Commonwealth of the Bahamas. Known to its buddies simply as 'the Bahamas', the island nation lies within the Lucayan Archipelago of the West Indies and has been attracting Hollywood A-listers and the glitterati for many a year, including James Bond and Captain Jack Sparrow. With plenty of fine-dining options in celebrity-chef restaurants, luxurious beach-side resorts and high-end cocktail bars on land, you'd be forgiven for thinking that the glamour ends where the ocean begins. But with James Bond wrecks to dive and plenty of aquatic A-listers - hammerheads, tiger sharks and oceanic white-tips - the best diving in the Bahamas is also some of the most glamorous in the world...
The nation's capital city of Nassau is located on the island of New Providence and is home to the vast majority of the country's population. While the capital's high-rise skyline and bustling streets may not be everyone's cup of tea, it is home to one of the most exciting shark dives on Earth-and not one, but two James Bond film-set dives.
The 1965 film Thunderball starred Sean Connery as fictional MI6 agent James Bond diving to search a submerged Vulcan bomber for stolen nuclear warheads. While you may not be able to start the dive as glamorously as Bond did - with a helicopter entry - you can explore the site where the epic underwater fight scene was filmed, complete with resident reef sharks (but without the spear guns).
When Sean Connery stepped back into Bond's shoes for the 1983 film Never Say Never Again, the production team sent him below the Bahamian waves once more. This time the film sees Bond dive down to a wreck now known as the Tears of Allah, which is still dive-able to this day and boasts dense coral cover and an impressive amount of marine life.
If you're looking for some shark action when in Nassau, signing up for the Shark Adventure Dive will see you jump into New Providence's sharkiest sites, with Caribbean reef sharks all but guaranteed. There's also a good chance of silky sharks making an appearance, and with a possible visit from a tiger shark too, New Providence's sites can definitely be counted among the best diving in the Bahamas.
Stepping away from the bright lights and big-city feel of Nassau's glamorous vibe allows you to discover the quieter side of the Bahamas. Heading to the Exumas for either a liveaboard trip or a luxurious resort stay not only takes you to more of the best diving in the Bahamas, but also has you following in the footsteps of James Bond again. After snorkelling in the impressive Thunderball Grotto, you can head out to the superb wall dives in search of hammerheads.
A surface interval spent on Big Major Cay allows you the opportunity to enjoy one of the Bahamas most iconic experiences: paddling with the famous swimming pigs at Pig Beach. After posing for a photo with your newly-found porcine pals, you can also head off for one of the area's signature shallow-but-fast drift dives, with an array of pristine corals, turtles and reef sharks zipping past your mask.
Boasting immaculate, footprint-free white-sand beaches to complement the superb diving, the Exumas' picture-perfect cays offer the ideal setting for a family retreat or a couple's getaway.
If shark diving is high on your list of priorities for your trip to the Bahamas, then the great hammerheads off Bimini will surely pique your interest. The crystal-clear waters surrounding Bimini allow for stunning photography and up-close-and-personal encounters with the great hammerheads, which can grow to an imposing six metres in length. With the hammerheads making an appearance on shallow sites in as little as eight metres of water, you can take your time adjusting your camera settings to ensure the perfect shot. While Bimini is one of the best places in the world to dive alongside great hammerhead sharks, you should also keep an eye out for nurse and bull sharks too.
Atlantic spotted dolphins, seahorses and southern stingrays can also be spotted on dive trips around Bimini, making it a shoo-in for lists of the best diving in the Bahamas. But remember, if you wish to uphold the pretence of glamour when diving in the Bahamas, mask defog and comfort zips are the way to go!