There are plenty of blue shades ranging from Prussian to navy, but the blues of the Bahamas are hard to put in words.
The water in the Bahamas is described as a striking iridescent turquoise. It's so clear that it almost washes out the sky in comparison.
A sight like this makes you wonder and ask: "Why is the water so blue in the Bahamas?" and "Why don’t all beaches look the same?"
While the most common reason coming to mind is pollution, you can't really determine the ocean’s color by human activities.
Instead, it’s the result of different forces and mechanisms of nature. Everything in nature is so closely intermingled that it’s sometimes hard to make sense.
Why Is the Water So Blue in the Bahamas?
Would you believe that the earth's rotations affect the color of the Bahamas water? Well, it does.
That’s not the only factor that comes into play, though. A lot of elements give the Bahamas water its sparkly blue color, including:
1. The Earth’s Rotations
As the earth rotates, the ocean’s water moves in the eastern direction. As a result, a phenomenon called upwelling happens.
During upwelling, the colder and deeper water replaces the warmer water of the ocean. The colder water brings tons of sediments with it, making the water murky.
You can observe such a phenomenon across the coasts of Australia, China, the USA, Philippines, Japan, and Western Mexico. Consequently, the water on these beaches is brownish-gray.
On the contrary, the water in the Bahamas doesn't undergo upwelling.
That is because the reefs block the deeper water moving into the ocean, leading to energy dispersion.
As the water reaches the coast, it gets calmer and doesn’t create an upwelling.
No upheaving of water means no sedimentation reaching the cost. Thus, the water stays crystal clear.
2. Phytoplankton Population
Phytoplankton refers to the microscopic organism, algae, living at the bottom of the ocean.
Since phytoplankton is rich in chlorophyll, it imparts a greenish color to the water surface.
In contrast, waters with low phytoplankton population or no phytoplankton at all are relatively clearer.
That is exactly what happens in the Bahamas: the beaches appear deep blue because there’s very little plankton living at the bottom of the ocean.
3. Nutrient Level
If you’ve ever asked yourself, "Why is the water so blue in the Bahamas?, you should understand the concept of different nutrient counts in waters.
As mentioned earlier, gray-brownish waters are nutrient-rich because of the higher concentration of phytoplankton and zooplankton, making the water look cloudy.
- Phytoplankton is the algae or other microorganisms in the water that produce their food through photosynthesis.
- Zooplankton refers to ocean animals, such as jellyfish, that feed on other animals to get energy. They are also called marine heterotrophs.
Along with both kinds of plankton, the water also has silt and sand, which further contributes to its brownish appearance and makes the surface water murky.
In contrast, the water in the Bahamas has larger sediment particles that settle to the bottom rather than staying afloat on the surface.
As such, the beaches are cleaner, bluer, and clearer, but it doesn’t mean that the murky-looking beaches are any dirtier or less enjoyable.
4. Water Depth
Another reason for the water appearing so blue is that the ocean in the Bahamas is relatively shallower than others.
In deep waters, the color is deeper since no reflection takes place from the ocean floor.
On the contrary, shallow waters allow more reflection since the sun rays can reach the ocean floor and get reflected.
Therefore, the Bahamas water is so blue because it’s shallow and allows maximum reflection from the ocean floor.
5. Sun Rays
Apart from the earth's rotations and marine life, if something can take credit for the Bahamas' blue water, it's the sun.
To fully understand how sunlight can make one beach look gray and the other blue, you need a little lesson on how colors work.
Everything around you has a specific color. That color is visible when light passes through it.
Depending on how intense the light is, the color can be darker or lighter.
In open areas, such as beaches, the sun gives color to everything through its rays, but the sun alone isn’t responsible for the brilliant blue color you see.
Sunlight, coupled with the surface of the object, the ocean, in this case, makes the masterpiece that is the Bahamas water.
As the sun's rays hit the ocean surface, some wavelengths are reflected while others penetrate the water, getting absorbed.
For instance, if an object is red, it would absorb lights of all wavelengths except red.
Likewise, plants are mostly green because they reflect green while absorbing all other colors in the light spectrum.
Remember back in primary school when we used to color the sun yellow? That's because we didn't know any better.
The sun actually appears white because it's a culmination of all colors. To see the different colors in the sun's rays, you can use a prism.
Sun rays, when passing through a prism, distribute into their respective wavelengths, showing a rainbow of colors.
In the ocean, the water is the prism. Water can absorb all colors of the rainbow.
In fact, it can absorb most colors of the spectrum except blue and green. Hence, beaches either appear green or blue, in some cases turquoise.
On top of that, when phytoplankton is abundant in the ocean, it intensifies the color.
Since plants absorb every color except green, they give a green hue to the sea. When mixed with blue, the resulting color is a pure turquoise.
Also, the sun helps the growth of plankton. Since these organisms use light to produce energy, they thrive well in the presence of immense sunlight.
In short, the sun does two things. First, it gives the water its blue color as the surface absorbs all other colors of the spectrum.
Second, the sun provides an energy source to the phytoplankton, making its population grow.
The outcome is the beautiful islands of the Bahamas with striking blue waters.
Other Places With Clear Blue Water
If you enjoyed the sight of the Bahamas' clear blue waters, you'd be delighted to know that there are hundreds of beaches around the world with similar colors.
You may find some European options a lot more expensive, though. One of these beaches is Egremni, Greece.
A quiet, peaceful evening on Lefkada Island will bring inner peace and contentment.
Also, the white sand contrasts with the clear, blue Ionian Sea, making you appreciate nature to the fullest.
If you’re looking for an option in America, go no further than Oregon.
Situated in a sunken volcano, Crater Lake is one of the most beautiful lakes in the world.
Since there are no incoming rivers, the water is crystal clear and free of turbidity.
Being the deepest lake in the USA, it has a depth of over 1900 feet. As mentioned earlier, deeper waters mean lesser reflection; thus, the intensified blues.
When it comes to natural beauty, Asia is never behind. The Con Son in Vietnam is the only island among the sixteen in the region inhabited by humans.
The brown sand meets the beautiful blue sea, creating a breathtaking view that you’ll never forget.
The Bahamas' Blue Waters
Whether you’re passing over the Bahamas in a plane or sipping a martini at a local resort, it's hard not to notice how brilliant blue the water is.
The next time you're lucky enough to experience the sight, you'd know why the water appears the color it does.
So why is the water so blue in the Bahamas? It mostly depends on the natural phenomena governing something as simple as the water's color.
Whatever the reason is, the blue waters in the Bahamas make it a popular tourist destination.