What is the Cobia Cage?
Pretty much exactly what it sounds like, the Cobia Cage is a submerged cage meant for growing cobia near the island of Eleuthera, Bahamas.
Spaceship-shaped and humongous, Cobia Cage is a breathtaking dive site. It’s located right off of Cape Eleuthera, so it’s actually a well-protected area from the wind during hurricane season!
From the side, Cobia Cage is diamond shaped. It’s made of netting fastened to beams, and there’s no way in or out of the cage – at least not a human-sized one!
It floats in 80’ feet of water, anchored to the sloped sandy bottom just 75 yards from where the wall drops off. Long ago it was used as a cobia farm pod in a project between the Island School and the University of Miami.
The cobia would be raised in tanks onshore to a point, then the juvenile fish would be gently transferred to the cage to further grow into adulthood. The program included using the mature fish as food in the local community.
There were some design flaws in being a commercial aquaculture success, but it now attracts fish both large and small, various sharks, and it makes for an eerie backdrop for underwater photographers who dive the site.
What’s Scuba Diving Like at Cobia Cage?
It’s incredible. I dived this site in November while an east wind was making it impossible to dive in the Exuma Cays. The dive briefing couldn’t have prepared me for what I saw when I jumped in.
Looking down on the Cobia Cage is unbelievable. It’s huge and weird-looking and almost kind of intimidating! It looks like an ominous setting for a creepy underwater movie.
Obviously, I was immediately intrigued. Swimming down to the base is a good way to start so you can really comprehend the sheer size of the structure. Then, working up from the bottom is interesting while you’re exploring around the cage.
It’s strange to dive around the bottom, where the cage is a sort of awning above you and the white sand below. Don’t stir it up or it’ll get cloudy fast!
The netting on the cage is completely covered by algae and corals and macro critters. There’s no shortage of lettuce sea slugs or arrow crabs on this dive site. Photographers love having the chance to spot so much variety of tiny stuff in a single area on a dive.
Swimming around the top of the cage and treating it almost like you’re swimming over a reef will allow you to cover a lot of area of the netting relatively quickly, so you aren’t just staring at a patch of algae the whole time.
There’s so much to see if you move around and check all the little hiding spots! Even though I was distracted more by the the macro life in Eleuthera, the big stuff is amazing, too!
I’ve heard of a local hammerhead who likes to hang out over the sand around the Cobia Cage, but I’ve yet to see him. I did, however, see a very large and old loggerhead sea turtle swimming right past me above the cage.
As previously mentioned, there is a wall close to the cage, which divers can also visit if they’d prefer it. But, I think Cobia Cage is worth diving over and over again.