epic tiger shark diving expeditions
tiger shark great hammerhead bahamas

Tiger Shark Diving in the Bahamas – 5 Common Mistakes

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.

tiger shark great hammerhead bahamas
Calm, clear and shallow make for easy diving, if you follow the guidelines

Being Under-weighted

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

Camera Crazy

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!

Read our Shark Diving Safety Tips & Tricks blog post.

flying after diving

Ask DAN: How Long Should I Wait to Fly After Scuba Diving?

This is a pretty common question we get diving with guests. “Is it okay if I’m on the morning flight tomorrow?”

Each diver needs to use their own judgement, but here are some of the guidelines from DAN and the Undersea Hyperbaric Medical Society. Keep in mind, most of our shark dives are just a bit deeper than the average safety stop. Typically, divers will not have a significant nitrogen accumulation during our standard shark diving expeditions.

Flying after scuba diving? The experts at Divers Alert Network explain the risks for decompression sickness and the latest guidelines on flying after diving.

DAN and the Undersea Hyperbaric Medical Society (UHMS) held a workshop in 2002 to review the available data regarding post-dive air travel. The following table outlines their recommendations for the absolute minimum time interval you should wait to fly after diving:

Single no-decompression dive

12 hours or more

Multiple dives in a day

18 hours or more

Multiple days of diving

18 hours or more

Dives requiring decompression stops

Substantially longer than 18 hours

Source: Ask DAN: How Long Should I Wait to Fly After Scuba Diving?

flying after diving

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

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 are required by all persons entering The Bahamas.


    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.

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

anatomy of a jellyfish

Jellyfish Stings

Ever wonder what’s going on with a jelly fish sting?  What can you do if you’ve been stung?  Take a look at this quick video from TED-Ed for some more information.

anatomy of a jellyfish

Looking for information on Lion Fish Stings? Check out the blog.

shark attacks kayak

As shark populations bounce back, here’s how to be safe

Now, after years of conservation efforts, shark populations are bouncing back in the Pacific Ocean. That’s leading to more run-ins like the one that took place Sunday in Newport Beach.

“Basically two generations of Americans had unfettered access to the ocean. We eliminated all those predators 50 to 100 years ago and now that they are protected, they are coming back.”

There’s a lot we don’t know about white sharks, but thanks to scientists like Lowe who have studied their behavior and tracked their movements, we have some tips for avoiding shark encounters.

      First, remember we share the waters with lots of creatures, sharks included. Since shark numbers were so low for so long, most of us aren’t use to looking for sharks. Keeping an eye out for them and thinking about risks is the first step in safety, says Lowe.

      Sharks tend to avoid heavily populated beaches. Sure, choosing to swim with the crowds might disrupt your solitude, but it’ll likely keep sharks away as well.

    1. AVOID EARLY MORNING AND NIGHT SWIMS:It’s nice to hit the waves in the early morning or evening, but if you are worried about sharks, you might chose another time of day. Lowe says these hours are when the greatest number of incidents occur.

    1. DON’T SWIM WITH SEA LIONS:Sea lions are a favorite meal for white sharks. If you are in waters near a clan of sea lions, chances are good there’s a white shark near by. Same goes for seals. It’s best to swim somewhere else, so you don’t get seen as another tasty snack.

If you see a shark, you should watch its behavior, Lowe says.

If it’s aggressive, say circling or coming close to swimmers, people should leave the water and warn a lifeguard. However, in many cases, Lowe said sharks will simply swim off on their own.

Source: As shark populations bounce back, here’s how to be safe | 89.3 KPCC

Have a read about an area utilizing drones to prevent shark attacks.

adobe photoshop lightroom

Understanding the Difference Between Photoshop and Lightroom

“What’s the difference between Photoshop and Lightroom?”. While the two programs do share many similarities, and are both widely used by the photographic community, they each serve a unique purpose and are quite different in some very major ways. Understanding what makes them similar, as well as different, can help you make an informed choice when selecting the right software for your needs.

We really enjoyed this brief article from Digital Photography School explaining the essential differences between two of Adobe’s photo-editing programs, Photoshop and Lightroom. The programs are both powerhouses in their own regards, and this article explains some of the differences, as well as similarities, between the two.

lightroom workflow

adobe photoshop workflow

We’ve grown pretty used to the workflow through Adobe Photoshop at Epic Diving, but that may soon change. After having a good look at this article, as well as talking to a few photo pros, we’re starting to look at the advantages of Lightroom. Today, with growing file size and demands for storage, the idea of Ligthroom’s catalog file is pretty intriguing.

Source: Understanding the Difference Between Photoshop and Lightroom

Lion fish envenomation

Lionfish Stings – Treating | iDive Blog

Here’s a great list of recommendations for dealing with a lionfish sting. As the invasive species continues to flourish in the Caribbean, diver’s are finding themselves running in to these guys a bunch. While we’re supposed to wipe them out (since they’re invasive), they are mesmerizing to look at and photograph. Typically, they’re well behaved and most cases of stings have completely understandable defensive reasoning by the lionfish. In other words, either people are being careless or hunting the lionfish. Either way, this quick read will give you some guidance to deal with it should you find yourself faced with the problem.

Lionfish Sting Guidelines

  • Remain calm. Notify your dive buddy and immediately terminate your dive.
  • Moment of lionfish sting, a diver can immediately start trying to squeeze or “milk”the venom out of stung area. This has helped other divers lessen the amount or distance of the venom spread. The diver can do this while signaling the other divers and while ascending.
  • Ascend slowly, observing all decompression stops, and surface as soon as possible.
  • Remove any foreign material such as lionfish spines. Add pressure to the wound to try and squeeze out the venom. Rinse the wound with clean water.
  • Soak wound (30 minutes) in heated, non-scalding, water as soon as possible. The lionfish venom is protein based and is neutralized by the hot water thus preventingthe protein from moving into the blood stream. The hot water is quite effective for controlling the pain.
  • Call 911 as soon as possible. The operators have all been instructed and are familiar with medical protocol for lionfish stings. They will immediately initiate preliminary assessment and treatment.
  • If not close to medical care, one could take BENADRYL (Antihistamine) and IBUPROFEN (Motrin or Advil). (Anti inflammatory). Medication will not only reduce the pain but more importantly reduce the swelling that can pressure the arteries, veins, and lymph ducts shut cutting off the bodies vital healing process to the area of the sting. The more swelling that occurs, the greater the wound and skin in the area suffers, turning grey as the swelling persists. The immediate care can dramatically reduce the damage to the affected area after a lionfish sting.
  • Monitor vitals, circulation, airway, and breathing. Lionfish victims commonly go into shock.
  • Your 911 operator will direct you to the appropriate medical facility. Get there as soon as possible.
  • No lion fish envenomation should ever be underestimated. Pain can be significant and secondarycomplications much more so. Get them treated to avoid any complications.
  • Additional information for your injury can be accessed by calling:DAN Emergency Hotline (+1-919-684-9111) orNon Emergency (+1-919-684-2948)

The injuries can be serious, and if there is hand involvement, special medical attention may be required.

lionfish sting

Learn more about lionfish envenomation and see more photos at:11 Recommendations for Treating a Lionfish Sting | Cayman Islands Diving | iDive Blog

Liked the information in this article?  Check out our blog on Jellyfish Stings.

motion sickness sea sickness on boats scuba diving

11 Quick Tips for Avoiding Motion Sickness

motion sickness scuba diving

Here’s an 11-part strategy for avoiding sea sickness published by SCUBA Diving Magazine:

  1. Need to feed. A meal before you board is highly important. For most people, an empty stomach is more sensitive to being irritated, so filling it with comfort food 45-60 minutes before leaving shore is smart. Load up on carbohydrates at breakfast and avoid acidic and greasy foods, as they may contribute to motion sickness. Lastly, avoid alcohol and cigarettes.
  2. Medicate. If you know you’re especially prone to motion sickness, investigate the use of over-the-counter antiemetic medications such as meclozine (Bonine, Antivert, Meni-D, Antrizine) or Dramamine. Meclozine reduces the activity of the portion of the brain that controls nausea. These medications are highly effective in most individuals, and thus can be a preventive measure for short trips or for mild cases of motion sickness. Be sure to start medicating the night before the dive trip to start establishing the proper blood level of the drug.
  3. Go gingerly. In addition to medications, many divers swear that the intake of ginger is a simple and tasty way to help avoid getting ill. If this works for you, it’s an easy solution – just carry a Ziploc baggie of ginger snaps aboard and munch on them before and between dives. Although it’s not yet clear to researchers exactly how and why it works, studies show that the ginger root contains a number of chemicals that seem to help relax the intestinal track. As a result, ginger is often helpful in reducing the risk of nausea.
  4. Avoid “conflicting instrument readings.” Look out across the horizon so your eyes can register the same type of acceleration changes your ears are reporting. Avoid visually focusing on things that are close-by, and most especially, avoid reading for more than a few seconds at a time. Also, face the direction the boat is traveling.
  5. Your nose knows. Odors can complicate the mix of signals to the brain, increasing your likelihood of becoming ill.  Avoid smelling diesel fumes, cigarette smoke, perfume and of course, anyone else’s vomit.
  6. Minimize movement. Standing in different locations on the boat’s deck will result in different amounts of velocity/acceleration being transferred to your body. Stay topside, close to the center of the vessel.
  7. Keep hydrated. Continue to drink plenty of fluids while on board and throughout each surface interval. This will help keep your stomach more full and will help your body metabolize food and process everything else better.
  8. Stay cool. If you become overheated while on deck, you’ll be more at risk of becoming ill. Wear a cap to keep the sun off your head and face, sit in a shady location between dives and peel off part or all of your wetsuit.
  9. Heads up! If you feel the urge to vomit, move to the leeward rail (with the wind at your back), lean forward and try to direct your explosion toward the sea. The fish will thank you. Never go into the head (marine toilet).
  10. Dive in. If you do begin to feel the early signs of motion sickness, get into the water and submerge several feet below the surface, doing so will usually quell the queasy feelings because your body will stop receiving the conflicting acceleration readings.
  11. Regulate it. If you happen to become ill while underwater, such as just after submerging, it’s usually perfectly OK to vomit in your regulator. It’s not the most enjoyable experience, but it’s typically over very quickly and you’ll feel better almost immediately.

Source: 11 Quick Tips for Avoiding Motion Sickness

Here’s some information from DAN.