Turquoise Waters around Grand Bahama and the Abaco Islands
The shallow water around two of the main Bahama island groups, Grand Bahama (left) and the Abaco Islands (right), appears light turquoise in contrast to the deep navy blue surrounding them.
The islands rest on limestone platforms known as the Bahamas Banks; these platforms drop off suddenly to the depths of the ocean floor. The ridged terrain of one such cliff is visible towards the center, stretching between the eastern tip of Grand Bahama and the southern part of the Abaco Islands.
Grand Bahama is one of the northernmost of the islands of the Bahamas, and the closest major island to the United States, lying just 55 mi (90 km) off the state of Florida.
It is the fourth largest island in the Bahamas island chain of approximately 700 islands and cays. Grand Bahama is approximately 96 miles (154 km) long west to east and 17 miles (27 km) at its widest point north to south.
The Abaco Islands lie east of Grand Bahama and are comprised of the main islands of Great Abaco and Little Abaco, as well as other small islands and cays.
The Abaco Islands boast important natural areas, especially important coral reef areas known for their intact elkhorn and staghorn coral structures, barrier-island terrestrial habitats and large forests of Caribbean Pine.
Notable species include the Abaco subspecies of the rock-dwelling rose-throated parrot, which exists only in Cuba, the Cayman Islands, the southern Bahamas and Abaco.