The Check-In: Dive into the Bahamas, road trip snack essentials, and more

It's a diver's paradise in the Bahamas, with sharks, reefs and shipwrecks

A scuba diver near a reef in Freeport
(Image credit: Reinhard Dirscher / ullstein bild via Getty Images)

Welcome to The Check-In, our weekend feature focusing on all things travel.

The Bahamas is a paradise for all types of divers

For divers, no place compares to the Bahamas. There's shark diving, scuba diving, reef diving, wall diving, cave diving, and shipwreck diving. The water is clear, with visibility of up to 200 feet, and warm year round.

Reef diving offers a good introduction to what the Bahamas has to offer under the sea. The Andros Barrier Reef is the third-largest fringing reef on Earth and home to more than 160 species of fish and coral, while the stunning Victory Reef in Bimini is known to attract grouper, snapper, barracudas, and sharks.

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A gray angelfish swims in the Bahamas

A gray angelfish swims in the Bahamas.
(Image credit: Reinhard Dirscher / ullstein bild via Getty Images)

Looking for a deeper adventure? Consider cave diving, where you can maneuver through caverns and tunnels at sites like Ben's Cave in Freeport. Be sure to set aside time for exploring a blue hole — Dean's Blue Hole by Long Island is the second-deepest in the world — and one of the many natural and artificial shipwrecks scattered around the islands. There are some in shallow areas and quite a few deeper down — movie buffs will appreciate the James Bond Wrecks in Nassau.

The most thrilling option of all is shark diving. The Bahamas has been a shark sanctuary since 2011 — the capturing and killing of sharks is illegal — and is also "arguably the shark diving capital of the world," Candace Fields, a contributor to National Geographic's SharkFest, told The Week. It's a huge revenue generator, bringing in about $114 million a year.

Candace Fields

Candace Fields
(Image credit: Courtesy photo)

Cage diving is an option, but many adventurers choose to swim with sharks in open waters. At Tiger Beach off of Grand Bahama, it's a near guarantee that divers (and those who choose to watch from the safety of a boat) will spot tiger sharks. Many tour operators will feed the sharks, so they are drawn to where the group is and everyone can get an up-close view.

Fields encourages anyone who wants to see sharks in their natural environment to come visit the Bahamas. "The crystal clear water is pretty hard to beat," she said. "That's a big sell. The water is nine times out of 10 crystal clear, and you aren't in murky water worrying about what's coming up behind you. I always have a sense of calm knowing I can see."

A scuba diver in a shark cage

A scuba diver in a shark cage off of Grand Bahama Island.
(Image credit: Reinhard Dirscher / ullstein bild via Getty Images)

Mushroom chips, energy balls, and plant-based jerky: Pack your bags with these road trip snacks

Besides a full tank of gas, the most important thing to have on a road trip is a cooler filled with snacks — lots of snacks. On those long stretches of highway where exits with drive-thrus and convenience stores are few and far between, you'll be glad you thought ahead. Here are a few suggestions for snacks that will keep you satisfied until you reach your final destination.

Frooze Balls are plant-based energy balls that prove you can pack a lot of flavor in a small package. The ingredients are straightforward, with dates and real fruit juice adding sweetness and cashew butter adding creaminess. There are several flavors, with two standouts: the peanut butter and jelly, which tastes like an elevated version of the real thing, and the lemon cheesecake, a deliciously citrusy take on a dessert classic.

Dot's Pretzels are a snack revelation. These pretzels are covered with a secret, buttery seasoning blend that is so tasty you don't ask questions — as long as Dot knows the ingredients, that's all that matters. Two tips: Buy the biggest bag at the store and make sure to get the original version (there's also honey mustard and southwestern).

Popadelics are crunchy mushroom chips that will leave you asking "Potato who?" These vegan snacks pack an umami punch, and come in three flavors — Trippin' Truffle Parm, Twisted Thai Chili, and Rad Rosemary + Salt — that will absolutely delight mushroom lovers and may even turn the haters into fans.

Jack & Friends plant-based jerky can trick even the biggest carnivores. The jackfruit and pea protein combo gives it nearly the same taste, texture, and appearance of meat jerky, and the high protein content will keep you full on the road. Get the variety pack to try all three flavors: ginger teriyaki, sweet barbecue, and tomato and poblano pepper.

With snacks covered, don't forget two other necessities: drinks and gum. Extra's sugar-free Pink Lemonade flavored gum is tart, sweet, and perfect for summer, while Spindrift's Nojito sparkling water is a bubbly mix of lime and mint.

The writer received samples of some of these products.

A road through a desert landscape

(Image credit: James O'Neil / Getty Images)

In case you missed it...

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A Delta flight attendant got an A+++++ for customer service this week, when he flew down with a passenger's forgotten passport to ensure she made it on her honeymoon cruise.

Passport delays are likely here to stay, at least through the end of 2023.

A stack of U.S. passports

(Image credit: Douglas Sacha / Getty Images)

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Catherine Garcia

Catherine Garcia is night editor for Her writing and reporting has appeared in Entertainment Weekly and, The New York Times, The Book of Jezebel, and other publications. A Southern California native, Catherine is a graduate of the University of Redlands and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.