Ever dream of diving with the sharks when about 40 or 50 of them are circling around you in a feeding frenzy? You’ll soon begin to realize why they call it a shiver of sharks. Nurse, black tip, bull, hammerhead, reef and the feared tiger sharks all love the clear blue waters of the Bahamas, which is probably why Andy DeHart of the National Aquarium in Washington, D.C. calls it “Shark Central” and put it on the planet’s Top 10 shark diving sites.
Bahamians say nothing will change your perspective on life more than a close encounter with a shark. Yet for everything you’ve heard about the man-eaters, people continue to flock to Nassau, Bimini and Tiger Beach in Grand Bahama to slip into a wet suit and dive into the fray.
Stuart Cove’s Shark Adventure is the most exciting dive you’ll ever do. After wrangling the sharks in “For Your Eyes Only,” Cove set up a full-service dive resort that will get you up close and personal with one of the ocean’s most efficient killers, whether you’re a nervous beginner or an intrepid adventurer.
Sharks Are Like Puppies?
As if hundreds of predators naturally prowling the coastline isn’t enough, the company sends shark feeders down with bait to lure them closer to your location. As the sharks lunge for the bait, you’ll feel them brush over your head or clip you with their tails.
If this is making you skittish, don’t worry, you aren’t alone.
“A lot of people come here with a bad perception of sharks and are scared,” said Charlotte Faulkner, one of Stuart Cove’s shark feeders. “But we educate them that sharks eat the dead or dying.”
Faulkner claims that reef sharks are “like puppies, really,” but you’ll need to take the plunge to understand what she means.
Diving With the Sharks
The company offers two dives with reef, bull and hammerhead sharks on New Providence Island and with tiger sharks at Tiger Beach on Grand Bahama Island — one with feeding and one without.
A no-bait dive means the sharks will just be curious as they swim alongside you. Although sharks are said to be shy and reluctant to approach humans, you may find them swimming up close to investigate you.
The second dive is a feeding dive, so you’ll need to kneel on the seafloor in a semicircle around the shark feeder. The reason, Faulkner explains in each safety briefing, is that sharks close their eyes when they are within 10 feet of food and are guided by movement. So, if you don’t want to be mistaken for a snack, you’ll need to stay very still. The sharks will come very close, but they will be more interested in the bait than you.
Diving with the sharks is usually perceived as a sport dominated by men in search of the ultimate adrenaline rush, but you are more likely to emerge from the deep feeling relaxed and serene. The quietness of the water, the stealth of these predators, the respect they command and the awe they inspire will captivate you. You’ll find that having a close encounter with a shark is indeed one of life’s most unforgettable moments.