Bahamian birds-eye view •

The Bahama Islands are a favorite place on the Planet for astronauts to photograph. The beautiful large shallow seas appear in light blue.

The edge of the Little Bahama Bank in the northern Bahamas shows a straight line of a coral reef. White waves appear on the seaward edge of the reef, and the sea floor deepens north of this line.

This view shows details in the shallow water. The brighter swirls are shelly sands molded into sweeping shapes by the flow of water moved repeatedly on and off the bank. The largest sand feature lies opposite the widest break in the coral reef—where the tidal flow is strongest. A gap in the line of breakers shows the opening.

The small island known as Strangers Cay is 3.6 kilometers (2.25 miles) long, giving some perspective on the vast stretches of seafloor affected by the tides on this shallow bank. Other black shapes are the shadows of clouds.

Regular patterns of swells appear in the deeper water. The quieter, shallow water in the center of the image is protected from the open sea by the reef was streaked by a brisk northeast wind on the day this picture was captured.

Credit: NASA

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