epic tiger shark diving expeditions
scuba diving lead weights

Tiger Beach Shark Diving: Negative Entry

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!

dive travel insurance

Dive Travel Insurance: What you need to know?

We strongly recommend that travelers secure dive specific travel insurance for all our Bahamas Shark Diving Packages. There are a number of companies that offer this type of coverage.  By far, the two we see most often are offered by either DAN or DiveAssure. Here are some of details and benefits of getting the insurance.

Travel insurance gives travelers coverage for unforeseen problems, from a cancelled flight to a serious illness – DAN

Dive Specific Travel Insurance:

It’s not like most typical travel insurance, such as the kind you may get automatically through your credit card.  Dive travel insurance is tailored specifically to cover for the most likely things that could interfere with your scuba diving vacation. It can certainly take the sting out of missing dives for a number of reasons that are beyond your or anyone else’s control.  For example:

  • Travel Delays

    Let’s face it, travel delays are not all that uncommon.  It’s especially true for divers with multiple bags of clothes, dive, and camera equipment.   A flight delay could cause you to miss out on dives as well as add expenses of flight rerouting or even additional and unexpected hotel stay. Travel insurance will come in handy here. On the same topic, occasionally luggage gets left behind and you may be without essential dive gear until the airlines get it sorted. These insurance policies will cover the cost of having to rent dive gear to make sure you don’t miss out on any shark dives.

  • Illness/Injury

    Aside from travel, there could also be illness, injury that prevents you from making the trip. Obviously this is nothing that can be planned for, but dive travel insurance will help you recoup expenses for missing your Bahamas dive vacation.

  • Weather

    Coverage for weather cancellations is another big reason to get the insurance.  We do our best to make up for lost time when we have to cancel the shark diving for weather, but that is obviously beyond our control. We know it’s disappointing for people to travel and miss a day because the weather doesn’t cooperate. Unlike standard travel insurance, the policies offer by both DAN and DiveAssure will reimburse you for the cost of diving if any days are canceled by the crew due to inclement weather.

Single Trip or Annual:

Both companies offer single trip as well as annual dive travel insurance, which may be a great option for divers that take several scuba diving vacations each year.  Remember, this is not the same as DAN membership.  DAN membership is a great idea for all divers and DiveAssure offers similar programs.  These cover for any expenses that are incurred for a dive related illness or injury, such as needing evacuation to a recompression chamber.

Coverage Type:

One last note on the insurance. Some policies offer an optional Cancel For Any Reason clause. This insurance must be purchased for the full shark diving package price and airfare and typically at the time of booking (some within 15 days of making your initial deposit). This would allow the greatest flexibility if you needed to cancel a trip entirely. If you are simply looking for the weather day coverage, you would only need to insure the cost of the diving. Your flights and hotel would not be reimbursed if the diving is cancelled for high winds and seas.

Before traveling, take a moment to browse DAN or DiveAssure’s website, get familiar with the different policies, call them with questions, and secure extra peace of mind before flying in for your Bahamas Shark Diving Expedition.

The specific insurance coverage does vary by region, so you would need to check with the company of what the coverage includes. Each company offers several plans that also offer different coverages and limits. Most provide an easy way of getting quotes directly on their websites, and have customer service numbers if you would like to chat.

divers alert network

dive assure

bahamas shark sanctuary

Bahamas Shark Sanctuary – advancing shark conservation

The Bahamas shark sanctuary was created in July of 2011 by adding an amendment to the Fisheries Resources (Jurisdiction and Conservation) Act (Chapter 244). The amendment created shark protections throughout all the territorial waters of the Bahamas, over 650,000 square kilometers of ocean. It was a major win for sharks, who already benefit from the long-line ban of 1992. The Bahamas has long history of valuing sharks, recognizing the large amount of revenue through shark specific ecotourism. Here’s what the amendment says:

  1.  Citation.

These Regulations, which amend the Fisheries Resources (Jurisdiction and Conservation) Regulations, may be cited as the Fisheries Resources (Jurisdiction and Conservation) (Amendment) Regulations, 2011.

  1.  Insertion of new PART VA into the principal Regulations. 

The principal Regulations are amended by the insertion immediately after Regulation 36, of the new PART VA as follows-

PART VA

SHARK

36A. Prohibition on possessing, fishing for or landing shark or shark parts.

Subject to Regulation 36D, no person shall possess, fish for or land, any shark or shark parts with.in The Bahamas or within the Exclusive Fishery Zone ofThe Bahamas.

36B. Prohibition on the sale of shark, shark parts or shark products.

No person shall sell any shark, shark parts or shark products within The Bahamas or within the Exclusive Fishery Zone of The Bahamas.

36C. Prohibition on export or import of shark, shark parts or shark products.

Subject to Regulation 36D, no person shall export from, or import into, The Bahamas–

(a) any shark;
(b) shark parts; or
(c) shark products.

36D. Permit to fish for, possess or export any shark or shark parts for educational, scientific or research purposes.

(1) A person who wishes to fish for, have in his possession or export any shark or shark parts for educational, scientific or research purposes, shall apply to the Minister for a permit.
(2) An application made under paragraph (1), shall be made in the manner set out in Form 19A in the First Schedule.
(3) Where the Minister approves an application made under paragraph (1), he shall issue a permit as set out in Form 20A of the First Schedule, specifying the terms and conditions of the approval including the payment of fees as specified in the Third Schedule

36E. Catch and release of sharks.

A person who hooks or catches a shark while fishing shall promptly release the shark into the sea unharmed.”.

We’re obviously very excited to work in a sanctuary where sharks are protected and valued.  There’s certainly work to be done and as with any new regulations, it will take time and proper enforcement to effect change.

Bahamas Shark Sanctuary

bahamas shark sanctuary

tiger beach shark reef

Tiger Beach Dive Experience: Why One Day is not Enough

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.

tiger shark bahamas diving

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.

tiger beach shark reef

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!

bull shark at Tiger Beach

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!

Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

lemon shark cleaning Tiger Beach Bahamas

Plan Your Next Bahamas Shark Diving Excursion

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

    Passports are required by all persons entering The Bahamas.

  • VISAS

    You can find the full list of Visa requirements by clicking here.


    All persons entering The Bahamas require a Bahamian visa except the following persons:

    • United States
    • Canadian citizens
    • United Kingdom citizens.
    • Citizens of Western Union.

    British Commonwealth citizens with the exception of the following countries:

    • Pakistan.
    • Cameroon.
    • Mozambique.
    • India.
    • Nigeria.
    • Ghana.

    Citizens of South American countries, however the nationals of the following countries can visit for periods not exceeding 3 months:

    • Argentina.
    • Bolivia.
    • Brazil.
    • Chile.
    • Colombia.
    • Costa Rica.
    • Ecuador.
    • El Salvador.
    • Guatemala.
    • Honduras.
    • Mexico.
    • Nicaragua.
    • Panama.
    • Paraguay.
    • Peru.
    • Uruguay.
    • Venezuela.
  • TRAVEL ADVISORIES

Airports and airlines:

  • 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 tiger shark at tiger beach bahamas

Emma cruises over the sargassum beds at Tiger Beach in the Bahams

tiger shark at tiger beach bahamas

Dive with Tiger Sharks: Best of Bahamas

Perhaps no more thrilling adventure awaits a diver.  A dive with tiger sharks in the crystal clear, warm waters of the Bahamas is unforgettable. Epic Diving runs daily tours out to the world famous Tiger Beach during the tiger shark high season. Virtually guaranteeing guests come face to face with these large, but well behaved, predators. According to the crew, the diving there has only been getting better, season after season. Here are some of the reasons why…

Dive with Tiger Sharks…made easy!

You’re not going to find better conditions anywhere for a dive with tigers than Tiger Beach in Northern Bahamas. Technically speaking, the dive conditions out at Tiger Beach are quite easy. Most of the dive sites there are shallow, between 20 – 35 feet (6 – 10 meters).  There are some reefs a bit deeper, between 40 – 60 feet (12 – 18 meters). The water temps are usually pretty warm during the season, but can dip down to the mid 70s F (23.5 C). Those two features, combined with the generally great visibility, pose few challenges to divers.

The one factor that can catch guests by surprise is the occasionally very strong currents, typically driven by the turning tides. To compensate for this, divers are instructed to wear extra lead to help keep them stationary on the sandy bottom.  Tiger shark diving at the classic, sandy Tiger Beach are static dives, meaning divers will be positioned in a line on the sand and remain stationary for most of the dive.

…Close Up!

All of our trips are out of the cage and up close and personal with the tigers (in addition to the reef and lemon sharks). We do not offer any cage diving and all of the guests need to be SCUBA certified. During the dives, we’re typically surrounded by 30 or more reef and lemon sharks in addition to the larger-than-life tiger sharks. Without any barriers, the animals get close, making for some incredible photographic opportunities!

…and more!

When you sign up for one of our trips to dive with tiger sharks, you’re not going to just see tiger sharks! They’re certainly the stars of the show, but let’s not forget about the other sharks. Diver’s will certainly see reef sharks and lemon sharks, in addition to the tigers. During the winter time, there are also very high chances of seeing great hammerhead and bull sharks as well. Throw in a nurse shark or two, and we’ve seen up to 6 species on a single dive! At some of the sites we visit, there are also loads of large, friendly grouper and southern stingrays.

Dive with Tiger Sharks…sign me up!

Ready to book your adventure of a lifetime? Interested in returning to the worlds greatest shark dive? Take a look at our packages to dive with Tiger Sharks which includes all the details you’d need, including travel tips, boat details, accommodations info, and frequently asked questions. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you need any more info or would like to make your reservation.

Dive with Tiger Sharks: Best of Bahamas!

dive with tiger sharks tiger beach bahamas

Oceanic Whitetip Shark cat island

Day Trips to Dive with Oceanic Whitetip Sharks: Bahamas

The Bahamas undoubtedly offers some of the best shark diving options available in the world! Tiger Beach has been a long time favorite among shark diving enthusiasts with it’s abundance of large sharks including Tiger Sharks, Reef Sharks, and Lemon Sharks. Bimini has emerged as a hotspot for reliable encounters with the elusive Great Hammerhead Shark, as well as regularly seen Bull Sharks and Nurse Sharks. But there is another hidden gem in shark diving lying in the central Bahamas. On the eastern edge of Exuma Sound, the deep water is a favorite hang out of the endangered Oceanic Whitetip Shark, an extremely photogenic pelagic species.

When do you run Oceanic Whitetip Shark Diving day trips?
The spring season is the right time of year to seek out encounters with the oceanic whitetip sharks. They are migratory but return each year in large numbers during the spring months. Their migration is believed to be related to mating or gestation as most of the oceanic whitetip sharks we see are female, and many of them are pregnant.

What are day trips to dive with the Oceanic Whitetip Sharks like?
A typical day trip to dive with the oceanic whitetip sharks involves an early start to grab a bite to eat before boarding the boat for the ride out to the shark grounds – click here to visit Intrepid Powerboats used for the trip. MV Thresher is fully equipped for comfort and safety to enjoy the whole day out on the water. In addition to all the seating space on the dive deck and up on the flybridge, there’s also a fully enclosed cabin to get out of the elements on some of those not so inviting winter mornings. Both the flybridge and inside cabin have stereo systems with bluetooth connectivity to enjoy your favorite playlist. The oceanic whitetips stay around the boat all day long, allowing for lengthy in water encounters. We will do a combination of SCUBA diving and snorkeling/freediving to best take advantage of the opportunity and maximize our water time. The encounters are different on SCUBA vs snorkel, and each have their pros and cons. SCUBA diving with oceanic whitetips is effortless drift diving where proper buoyancy is crucial and you’ll be able to sit back, relax, and enjoy the show. While snorkeling with oceanic whitetip sharks, you’ll be able to take advantage of the awesome surface light and close up photo ops. Read more here to make the right choice.

How many days should you swim with Oceanic Whitetip Sharks?
We recommend no less than three days planned to dive with the oceanic whitetip sharks. Even though it’s the spring season when weather is usually getting calmer, there may still be occasional squalls of heavy winds and high seas, preventing us from making it out for diving or snorkeling with the oceanic whitetip sharks. The dive area is located in deep ocean water and can seas can build quickly. We offer standard packages with either 3 or 5 days of diving planned. We know it can be really disappointing to lose a day of diving and we strongly recommend travelers secure some form of travel insurance specific to diving, such as the kind offered by DAN or DiveAssure.

What can we expect to see in a day trip to dive with Oceanic Whitetip Sharks?
We have been diving with oceanic whitetip sharks for the past 8 years and the encounters have only gotten better over time. We have had days with up to 15 of the pelagic sharks spending the whole day with the dive group! The exciting part is that aside from the oceanic whitetips, you never know what else might show up while drifting out in the crystal clear deep blue. We have had regular encounters with Silky Sharks, Dusky Sharks and Reef Sharks, as well as the occasional Blue Shark, Mako Shark and even Great hammerhead and Tiger Sharks! And sharks aren’t the only marine animals bringing in the heart pounding excitement. Huge schools of tuna, mahi mahi (aka dorado or dolphin fish), and even Blue Marlin and White Marlin! It really is a special place worth checking off your list of shark diving hotspots!

How do I arrange day trips to dive with oceanic whitetip sharks?
Having such a short season, we generally book up well in advance, so it’s best to contact us early. Our calendar is set and boat reserved throughout the season so we don’t have space for your typical open bookings. Contact us for dates and availability.

dive with oceanic whitetip sharks bahamas shark diving

Oceanic Whitetip Shark and Pilot Fish

day trips to Tiger Beach

Tiger Beach Video: Prawno Apparel & Dive Photo Guide

We had an awesome time during our combined Dive Photo Guide/Prawno Apparel trip to dive Tiger Beach and Bimini’s Great Hammerheads. The trip was not without challenges courtesy of Mother Nature, but we were able to strategize as a team and get the most out of our dive time! With Bimini out of the equation because of weather challenges, the stars aligned and we spent all of our dives at Tiger Beach enjoying the Tiger sharks, reef sharks, lemon sharks AND Great Hammerhead and Bull sharks! It was a great couple of days out there and we’re happy to share Jeff Honda’s video from the trip! Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Tiger Beach Dive Trip Report

More in videos: Southern Stingray: Grand Bahama Island

great hammerhead tiger beach shark

Great Hammerhead Sharks at Tiger Beach!

The diving at Tiger Beach has only been getting better, season after season!  We’ve been so excited to see the changes, and this year is no different.  The shark diving at Tiger Beach has become a fan favorite.  Not only are we enjoying numerous tiger sharks with the reef sharks and lemon sharks to compliment the show, but we are now having regular dives featuring great hammerhead sharks and even bull sharks.  During the early part of the year this past season, we had several days during each of our trips that had great hammerhead sharks mixed in with the tiger sharks!  It has been incredible and the photographic opportunities are top notch.

tiger beach great hammerhead shark

great hammerhead tiger beach shark

The 2018 season is already shaping up to be another record setter with loads of tiger sharks and a few great hammerheads making regular appearances.  Obviously, this time frame has become quite a popular time to visit.  We are already taking reservations for the 2019 season and the calendar is filling up fast.  If you’ve been thinking of making a visit, there’s no better time.  Tiger Beach off Grand Bahama Island is hotter than ever!  Be sure to check out our Tiger Beach packages and contact us early to reserve your spot for these unforgettable adventures.  It was recently named the Reader’s Choice #1 Big Animal dive destination in SCUBA Diving Magazine.

scuba diving magazine cover

Bahamas – 1st Place Pick for Big Animals 2018

The January/February issue of SCUBA Diving Magazine was just released and covers the 2018 Readers Choice Awards. Not surprisingly, the Bahamas ranked on top for the reader’s pick, best big animals destination! The 2-page photos used for the article was taken during one of our Tiger Beach expeditions this past February by Jennifer Penner of NewMediaSoup.

great hammerhead at tiger beach

Grand Bahama is underrated in the diving community. Great reefs and, of course, the abundance of sharks make it amazing!”

The article features all three of our favorite shark diving hotspots: Great Hammerheads off Bimini, Tiger Sharks off Grand Bahama, and Oceaincs Whitetips off Cat Island. Here are a few excepts…

Bahamas Big Animals
  • Great Hammmerheads – Bimini plays host to endangered Sphyrna mokarran. Once the hammers show up, you’ll drop down on a shallow-water sand beach in blue water, perfect for wide-angle photography. Bull sharks often crash the party.
  • Tiger Beach Excursion – Sixteen-foot tigers are the main attraction at this shallow water site off Grand Bahama’s West End, but you’ve also got a good chance of encountering lemons and Caribbean reefs.
  • Cat Island Sharks – Open-ocean advanced diving is available in the central Bahamas with oceanic whitetips, plus dusky, lemon, tiger, and silky sharks – and possible encounters with Atlantic blue marlin, which can measure 16 feet long and weigh up to 1,800 pounds.

Tiger Beach is undoubtedly one of the world’s best shark diving sites and each year seems to get better and better.  In the recent few seasons, we have been having reliable encounters with Great Hammerheads during the January – April timeframe.  It’s an amazing experience to have Tiger Sharks, Reef Sharks, Lemon Sharks and now Great Hammerheads and Bull Sharks all together on the same dive.  Contact us for more details and to make a reservation.