Hurricane Dorian left a path of heartbreaking destruction through the Northern Bahamas. The storm made landfall as a category 5 hurricane and remained mostly stationary over Grand Bahama Island for more than a full day resulting in catastrophic damage. Several lives and countless homes were lost as a result of the storm’s high winds and extensive flooding.
Search and recovery operations as well as a massive clean-up is currently underway and the relief efforts are expected to take months.
We have been encouraged by the positive response and the number of divers willing to help out and donate in any way they can. There are several options for this. We will be looking to directly assist the local community of West End. Our friends and their families on the West End have either completely lost their homes or have suffered serve damage making it unlivable. This comes only 3 years after Hurricane Matthew made landfall on the West End of Grand Bahama Island and things just started to feel normal again. If not making a donation here, please consider the Bahamas Red Cross.
Hurricane Dorian Grand Bahama Relief
Money donations can be made directly here. Were looked into several crowd-funding resources and each add additional service or administrative fees. Since we will be dealing directly with members of the West End community, we will be able to ensure that 100% of the funds collected will be passed directly into the local community with no additional fees placed on top.
No amount is too small and we know with everyone’s help, we can have a big impact on people’s lives.
If you are able to donate physical goods/items, there are several drop off locations established in Florida:
Tropix Shopping 5610 NW 12th Avenue, Suite 203 Fort Lauderdale, FL 33309
Dania Beach City Hall 100 W Dania Beach Blvd. Dania Beach, FL 33004
Christ Episcopal Church 3481 Hibiscus Street Miami, FL 33133
Sand Harbor Resort & Marina 125 N Riverside Dr. Pompano Beach, FL 33062
The items in greatest need are:
Basic survival items, such as canned food, baby food, juice boxes, and water.
Medical supplies, including gauze, bandages, and antiseptic. Another big need is bug spray and citronella candles to fend off mosquitoes.
They are also in need of clothing and shoes for adults and children, diapers, baby wipes, personal hygiene items, and feminine products.
Lastly, we are looking for basic tools and shelter supplies including tarps, nails, duct tape, hammers, rope, batteries, flashlights, generators, power cords, and boxes/containers to consolidate items.
Please keep the people of the Bahamas in your thoughts as they have a long road ahead. We hope spirits can remain high during such a desperate time.
There’s no better place on earth for tiger shark diving than at Tiger Beach in the Bahamas. It is the longest and most established tiger shark diving hotspot available and divers have been traveling there for 2 decades. While the tiger sharks are certainly the headliners, there are a number of other shark species. Reef, Lemon, Bull, Nurse, and Great Hammerheads all make appearances creating one of the best shark dives you can find!!
The warm, clear waters of the Bahamas and shallow dive sites also make it an ideal shark dive for underwater photography. But don’t be fooled by the relatively easy conditions. There are a few mistakes we see commonly that can have big consequences. Here’s a list of the 5 most common mistakes we see while tiger shark diving in the Bahamas at Tiger Beach.
Most divers visiting Tiger Beach for the first time are shocked when they hear our instruction of how much weight to strap on for the shark diving. It’s not what you would normally think of coming on a warm water dive trip. You’ll just have to trust us. We recommend most people wear approximately 25 – 30 pounds of lead, depending on the thickness of your suit and your own natural buoyancy characteristics. For the most part, we’re not swimming around and the extra weight will help to keep you nice and stable on the bottom. If the current picks up, the added weight can mean the difference between enjoying your dive, having to abort the dive, or worse yet, getting carried off by the current.
Taking safety for granted
It’s true, shark diving in the Bahamas is incredibly safe. But that’s because the shark dive operators are paying close attention to the animals, the weather, the dive conditions, and the divers. We have specific protocols in place to ensure that everyone remains safe. We depend on divers doing their part at keeping safe, and first and foremost, that means following the rules.
The most important thing is to never take your own safety for granted. If you are not going to look out for yourself, you should consider taking up another hobby. Not only are there the challenges of scuba diving (sea conditions, visibility, current, etc.), but you will be surrounded by very large predators that are not trained pets. These sharks are habituated to our routine and things go smoothly when we stick to it. Please pay attention to your surroundings at all times and never let the sharks make contact with you.
That tiger didn’t go crazy, that tiger went TIGER!
— Chris Rock
Okay, most people traveling to Tiger Beach in the Bahamas are coming with underwater cameras for the shark diving. We love taking photos too! You have to accept that no picture is worth an injury and remember to make safety your priority, not photography. If you have good situational awareness, the photos will come naturally and easily. You have to have excellent peripheral vision and judgement before putting on the blinders and focusing in on only one shark in front of you. Sometimes the closer shark, better picture, and bigger threat, is behind you. Don’t get tunnel vision.
Regarding selfies, operators absolutely hate them. ABSOLUTELY. Divers create a dangerous situation when they take their attention off a shark that is behind them. Especially one that is close enough to take a selfie. If you want a picture with you and a shark, ask a friend or crew member. More people are killed each year taking selfies than by sharks, but put the two together and it’s an accident waiting to happen.
Just Keep Swimming
No, STOP Swimming. For our typical shark dives such as classic Tiger Beach, there’s no need to swim around. It stirs up sand ruining visibility, confuses the sharks with commotion, divides everyone’s attention, and wastes energy. Stay solid on the bottom and enjoy the show, that simple. If you find yourself on a dive with strong current, this is especially true.
Despite specific instructions in our briefings, we see divers struggle with current. Working hard and trying to swim against strong current to get back to the boat. This can lead to a very dangerous situation of fatigue. Breathing down your tank with potential out of air emergency, and getting swept away. When the current is ripping, simply crawl along the bottom back to the boat when the dive is over. Remember to watch your air consumption and make sure you have plenty of air to make it back to the boat taking the current into account.
Tempted to Touch
The tiger sharks at Tiger Beach in the Bahamas have been in the game a long time. They are generally not too shy about getting close to divers. While we feel it is imperative to protect your personal space and never let a tiger shark touch your body, it doesn’t mean you need to touch or push away every shark that passes by. If a shark is not on a collision course, then there is no need to reach out and touch. It only creates potential danger.
Hopefully these quick tips help you to have a rewarding experience tiger shark diving in the Bahamas at Tiger Beach. The crew gives detailed instructions and goes over all the shark diving protocols in the briefing. Safety is our top priority and we’re proud of our shark diving safety record so far!
Did you catch the first episode of this year’s Shark Week? Called Expedition Unknown Megalodon, the episode examines what may have led to the extinction of the megalodon. Referred to Otodus Megalodon in the show, it’s more commonly used scientific name is Carcharocles Megalodon. The episode points out that they reached lengths of 60 feet, similar to humpback whales and went extinct around 2 million years ago. This time frame put the megalodon’s exit around the same time that a hypothesized nearby supernova created enough radiation to cause a mass ocean dye-off.
Megalodon – new evidence
Current evidence suggest that the megs may have gone extinct closer to 3.5 million years ago. Either way, the dates have them overlapping with the appearance of the Great White Shark, which enters the fossil record 4 million years ago. This new time frame means that they went extinct long before the mass die-off. In fact, that theory itself has been called into question as it may be a simple gap in the fossil record rather than a cataclysmic event. Under the new theory of extinction occurring much earlier, it’s now thought that perhaps the megalodon’s were simply out-competed by the great white shark.
Megalodon Shark Teeth
The show did pay a bit of attention to the megalodon’s shark teeth. They represent the only fossil evidence we have of charcharocles megalodon. The shark’s teeth were absolutely massive and in fact, they find a really awesome specimen on the show with the help of a paleontologist. They mention the commonly held belief that sharks shed huge numbers of teeth throughout the life, reporting that it’s “in the thousands.”
We always love when we’re able to spot a sharks tooth on one of our Tiger Beach day trips. Tiger Beach is the coolest place for us to find teeth, as the tiger shark’s tooth is really unique, large, and an incredible souvenir. So how often do sharks really “shed” their teeth. If a shark lived for 30 years, loosing 1 tooth per day would mean over ten thousand teeth left on the ocean floor over their lifetime. That’s incredible. If a shark lost 1 tooth per week, the number would be much less, at around 1,500. If it’s really “in the thousands”, then sharks must loose teeth at an average of more than one per week. Stay tuned on this one…
The episode does a cheesy comparison of the great white shark tooth with a megalodon tooth. The hypothesis they presented here was that the great white tooth is much sharper than the megalodon’s tooth. This would have given the great white shark a competitive advantage helping them push the megalodon to extinction. I find it hard to believe that a fossilized meg tooth would retain much of it’s sharp edge and serrations, if any at all. In fact, I think that a megalodon’s shark tooth would have been a terrifying enlargement of a modern great white tooth, just as sharp and much more deadly. Nice try on that one.
Overall, the show was not a bad attempt to give some information about the time and circumstances surrounding the extinction of Megalodon. Catch all the episodes for this year’s Discovery Shark Week. You can find the schedule of shows by CLICKING HERE
Discovery Channel is gearing up for it’s annual Shark Week programming. Now in it’s 31st season, it remains one of the most popular cable tv programming series around. There has been plenty of criticisms surrounding the nature and content of the programs and the network has shifted its focus. We’ll see what this year has to show. Love it or hate it, here’s a look at the series schedule:
There are a few locations that come to mind when looking for the best shark diving hotspots on this blue planet. Cocos, Galapagos, South Africa, Fiji, Australia, and Mexico all have some amazing shark dives. But there’s no denying that the Bahamas ranks high on that list, perhaps taking the title of Shark Diving Capital of the World! We’re excited to bring you to some of the best of Bahamas shark diving. Read on for an introduction to each diving location and what species of sharks we expect to find there.
Tiger Shark Diving @ Tiger Beach
Just a small part of the Little Bahama Bank, Tiger Beach has long been a world class shark diving hotspot. Scuba divers can get uncaged and up-close encounters to this super predator! The tiger sharks that migrate through this area are very well known to the operators that work here. Some of the sharks that are still interacting with divers today have been documented at the site 15 years ago! Most of the animals you’ll see there are quite used to divers and the shark diving routine. Just stick to the rules and enjoy the show. Bahamas shark diving at it’s best!
Bahamas Shark Diving: Oceanic Whitetip
Once considered that most abundant vertebrates on earth (over 100 lbs), Oceanic Whitetip Shark populations have been decimated making them very difficult to find. The Bahamas, however, is one of the last strongholds for a healthy population of this pelagic shark. Shark divers from around the globe can expect to reliably encounter this species during their peak season of April – June. They’re bold, curious and incredibly photogenic, making the trip out here well worth it. This species makes Bahamas shark diving unique.
Bahamas Shark Diving: Great Hammerhead
Moving over to the Great Bahama Bank, divers can expect to see numerous Great Hammerhead Sharks. Once the elusive chance encounter, shark divers can expect to be surrounded by these large and unique animals during the winter months. Here’s another species where Bahamas shark diving reigns supreme.
Bahamas Shark Diving – and then some…
Each of these locations also provide shark diving beyond the target species. For example, at Tiger Beach, you can see up to 6 species of shark on a single dive, including tiger sharks, great hammerhead sharks, bull sharks, reef sharks, lemon sharks, and nurse sharks. While diving with great hammerhead sharks, its common to see nurse and bull sharks as well. During the oceanic whitetip shark diving season, divers will also encounter reef sharks, dusky sharks, as well as chances at seeing great hammerhead sharks and blue marlin!
What a great day today! We had some challenging conditions with a stiff current to battle, but it was all worth it the moment Emma showed up. Today marks her return to Tiger Beach after leaving the area at the end of 2018. The crew was elated and the guests on this day trip to Tiger Beach were thrilled to have met the Queen of the Beach. Emma, along with 4 other tiger sharks, a great hammerhead shark, a few bull sharks, and of course the reef and lemon sharks, along with a solitary nurse shark, made for a 6 species dive! Shark diving doesn’t get much better than that!
We go over a lot of details during our shark diving briefings in the Bahamas, and make a lot of recommendations. One of them, is that divers make a negative entry. But this is not always clear, sometimes confused, and often done incorrectly. What is a negative entry, and why do we recommend it?
Doing a negative entry requires confidence and comfort in the water
SCUBA Diving Magazine (June 6, 2017)
Simply put, a negative entry means that you’re getting below the surface as quickly as possible. Usually you make a giant stride from the boat with air in your BCD and hang on the surface for a moment to get yourself situated. With a negative entry, you’re jumping in with no air in your BC and making your way to the bottom. Why do we do this?
Tiger Beach, Bahamas
At Tiger Beach in the Bahamas, the shark diving is technically pretty easy, but there are some challenges. First off, we often have to wait for the reef sharks and lemon sharks to clear a path for us so that we can get off the dive platform. There are loads of sharks hanging around the surface and it’s a good idea to get down right away. Often times, when divers are lingering at the surface, they are distracted and not looking in the water. That’s where the sharks are!
During the dives at Tiger Beach, we also occasionally experience strong currents. This means that the longer a diver spends at the surface, the further down current they will end up before hitting the bottom. Getting off the surface and down to the bottom quickly helps ensure that you end up as part of the dive group and not a lone diver down current having to struggle to make your way back to the line.
Here are some tips straight from SCUBA Diving Magazine’s article:
Make sure you’re properly weighted – for our shark dives, that means wearing plenty of lead.
Be prepared – because you’re heading straight down, empty the air in your BCD, hold your mask, and make your way off the surface
Jump like a pro – make sure you clear the platform and exhale to empty your lungs.
Equalize early and often – make sure you control your decent and equalize your ears, which likely means adding air as you descend.
Finally, if you have any questions on the technique, just talk to the dive crew. They’re always there and happy to help out! We always prefer people understand and feel comfortable with the diving so they can focus on and enjoy the sharks!
To say this season has been one of the best yet is a bit of an understatement. Tiger Beach has consistently been getting better and better and we have enjoyed every minute of it! We have been averaging 5 species on most dives, including Tiger, Reef, Lemon, Great Hammerhead, and Bull sharks. The nurse sharks are around but have been least likely of the 6 species we can expect to see to show up on our dives.
Here’s a short video to give you an idea of what the dives have been like:
January – March Dive Stats
Water Temperature: 77 – 79 F (25 – 26 C)
Dive Site Depths: 20 – 35 feet (6 – 10 meters)
Average Visibility: 60 – 100 feet (18 – 30 meters)
Average Dive Time: 80 minutes
This time of year is definitely hot at Tiger Beach! The dives have been incredible! We have had to contend with a bit of weather, but overall the divers have had their fill of sharks! Make sure when you’re planning a trip out during this peak season that you plan for weather. We recommend reserving a minimum of three dive days as well as securing dive specific travel insurance (www.DAN.org or www.DiveAssure.com) that will cover for lost days of diving due to weather cancellations. And don’t worry, as long as we’re able to make it out to the dive site, we’ll show you the very best that Bahamas Shark Diving has to offer!
Tiger Beach, Bahamas
Take a look at some tips and tricks for diving with sharks in these articles:
We’re really proud to be able to introduce divers to the tiger sharks at Tiger Beach. It’s an amazing experience and definitely worth investing a few extra days to get the most of it. Since we offer day trips, we do get a lot of inquires asking about booking a single day of shark diving at Tiger Beach. Here’s a few thoughts on why you should consider spending a bit more time there.
Tiger Beach Diving: Travel
The pain in everyone’s trip! We have seen our share of travel delays, canceled flights, missed connections, and delayed baggage. Fortunately, Freeport is the second largest international airport in the Bahamas. It can accommodate larger commercial jets which does decrease the likelihood of significant delays. But it is certainly still a possibility. Not having an essential piece of gear or missing a flight all together could ruin the only dive day you have planned.
Tiger Beach Diving:
Have you just dusted off your gear and packed it for the trip? Did you just get your gear back from servicing and haven’t broken it in yet? Did you just get a new mask, one that’s sure to fog up on you? Have you just gotten a new wetsuit and not really sure how much weight you should wear? Did you just get new gear or are renting equipment and aren’t very familiar with it yet? The shark diving at Tiger Beach is technically pretty easy. That doesn’t mean we don’t see a fair share of first day blunders. If you’re not diving on a regular basis, consider the first day a check out. They’ll certainly be sharks all around, but you may be focused on clearing your mask and getting your BCD inflator to cooperate.
Classic Tiger Beach: Shallow Sand Flats
Tiger Beach Diving: Photography
A lot of divers that visit Tiger Beach are hoping to get that perfect image to take back to their friends. From the GoPro to the biggest DSLR camera rig, it’s not always a sure thing that you system is going to dial itself in and give you that perfect shot right away. Seasoned photographers are constantly adjusting their settings. You may have to work with the dive conditions to get great images. Booking a multi-day trip to Tiger Beach also gives you the opportunity to experience the different dive sites. In reality, it’s quite a large area and we tend to visit different sites each day. We take advantage of the different topography, from sand flats, to sargassum beds, to the beautiful reefs of Tiger Beach.
Two big tigers glide past divers on the reef
Tiger Beach Diving: Sharks
Spending so much time in the water with the sharks really allows us to appreciate the individual behaviors of the animals. We know them by name and by personality. A multi-day trip gives you the opportunity to gain more insight into what these animals are really all about. You gain a better appreciation for the sharks the more time you spend with them. In addition, we can see up to 6 species of sharks out at Tiger Beach. Having several days gives you the best chances of having that special encounter!
A Bull Shark over the sargassum meadows at Tiger Beach
Tiger Beach Diving: Weather
With only a single day booked for the shark dives, you’re really rolling the dice. No matter what time of year, no matter what the season is. There is always a chance that mother nature forces us off the water. Tiger Beach is located on a shallow sand bank off shore. There is really no protection from high winds and seas. Even if it was safe for the boat to be out there, even if you weren’t seasick, there’s still a high likelihood that rough weather would wipe out the visibility on the site and keep us from doing any shark diving at all. If the weather doesn’t cooperate, it certainly pays to have some buffer days scheduled in.
We’d hate to end this conversation with only focusing on the potential negative reasons that 1 day may not be enough. Here’s a look at the positive side. If the conditions are perfect, and you have a great day of diving and fall in love with the sharks, you might want to do it again. Unfortunately, 99% of the time, we won’t have any space left open the days before and after your trip. Make sure you don’t regret giving it only 1 shot!
The Bahamas has been a shark diving hub for decades and there are now a number of hotspots throughout the archipelago that offer reliable encounters with a variety of species of sharks. Caribbean reef sharks certainly are the most commonly encountered shark species on dives here, but there are also a number of marquis species that can be found.
Tiger Beach is undoubtedly the best place on the planet to scuba dive with tiger sharks. Bimini is now well-known as a hotspot for the endangered great hammerhead shark and Cat Island is one of the last places divers can reliably find the elusive Oceanic Whitetip Shark. Of course, you can find multiple species at each of these locations.
Planning your trip to the Bahamas? Here are a few consideration to help get the ball rolling:
Plan early, especially if you’re traveling from far specifically to find a particular shark species to dive with. These specialized trips generally book up quite far in advance and space is limited both for safety and comfort reasons. Make sure to book your diving before making other travel reservations including airfare. If your main reason for traveling is the shark dives, then make sure that’s available first.
Consider travel requirements. Some folks will need Visas in order to visit the Bahamas. Others may even need a Visa to enter the US if your air travel includes a stop-over there. Below are some quick details.
Passports are required by all persons entering The Bahamas.
Tiger Beach – Grand Bahama International Airport (Freeport). The airport code here is FPO. Freeport is about 40 minutes from the West End by taxi.
Bimini Hammerheads – South Bimini Airport. The airport code is BIM and located on South Bimini. Most hotels are located on North Bimini so you’ll need to take a taxi/water ferry to get to the other island.
Cat Island – New Bight Airport. The airport code is TBI. Cat Island has 2 airports. Make sure you’re booking your ticket to TBI.
The Bahamas is truly a shark diving paradise! It’s tough to beat in terms of the number of sharks, the variety of species, and the ease of shark diving and photography. Make sure you have all the necessary information and travel documents before your trip. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.
Emma cruises over the sargassum beds at Tiger Beach in the Bahams