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San Salvador

As one of the 700 islands of the Bahamas, San Salvador stretches 12 miles long and 5 miles wide. It has a small population of about 1000 people. The island is actually the peak of a submerged mountain whose bottom reaches about 15,000 feet to the ocean floor. San Salvador is surrounded by 4000 meter deep waters with a visibility of about 150 feet in the water, a characteristic that renders it attractive to divers, snorkelers and fishermen.

Deep Sea DivingThe temperature ranges anywhere from 74 to 92 degrees (F) during the summer and 64 to 84 degrees (F) during the winter. The major rainy season which lasts from September to November is caused by tropical storms, hurricanes, and tropical depressions.

A Little History
It is believed that Christopher Columbus set foot on San Salvador during his voyage to discover the New World. The island was originally called Guanahani by the native Lucayan Indians but Columbus renamed it San Salvador (translates to Holy Savior). He noted that “The beauty of these islands surpasses that of any other and as much as the day surpasses the night in splendor.”

There are four monuments that mark the exact spot where Columbus landed on October 12, 1492. Some believe however, that he landed on Long Bay where a stone cross stands. George Watling, a British pirate, took over the island and renamed it Watling Island. In 1925, the Bahamian government changed the name back to San Salvador.

What to do
While the island is small, the list of activities to enjoy is quite the opposite. The numerous reefs and underwater wrecks are paradise to snorkelers and divers, and the waters are fishermen friendly as well. If you are not a fan of water sports, you can visit the capital of Cockburn Town (pronounced Co-burn), home to a white-washed Catholic Church and a museum of historical artifacts dating to the days of the native Indians. You can also take interesting tours of old plantations, check out the Lucayan Indian sites, or climb the old kerosene operated lighthouse.

 


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