When one thinks of a pumpkin patch, a wild field comes to mind, with a jumble of seemingly chaotic, thick, waxy stems and branches all twisted and knotted together. Large, broad, fan-shaped leaves grow out in all directions, and when your eyes do become adjusted to this maze you begin to see the round, orange fruit that’s grown out from this massive sea of vegetation. But a visit to the Pumpkin Patch, off New Providence (Nassau) in the Bahamas, will have you rethinking your definition.
The originally described scene was the inspiration behind the name of one of Stuart Cove’s best reef/wall sites, The Pumpkin Patch. This beautiful reef system spans a large section of New Providence’s southwestern wall and dive sites. Water flowing off the Great Bahama Bank twice a day, during the tidal change, over the wall and into the Tongue of the Ocean (a deep-sea trench running north to south from New Providence, along the Great Bahama Bank) brings with it the nutrient-rich waters that hold the sustenance needed to support this underwater ecosystem.
True to its name, large, orange sponges are highlights (especially with photographers) in this intricate coral system, providing a burst of color throughout the reef. Large gorgonian fans reach for the surface off the side of the vertical drop, filtering the suns rays, and adding an extra dimension to this already dramatic dive.
A dive site like this, located only a short 10-minute boat ride from Stuart Cove’s dive center, alive with sharks, rays, turtles, fish and other marine life, is a must. The Pumpkin Patch will please both novice and advanced divers alike.