A Big Fish Expeditions Trip Report
As trips go, our Bimini Great Hammerhead Expedition was up there with the best! We spent two amazing weeks in calm, clear, 78F water. We lost only one day to bad weather – not a bad average for the Bahamas during the winter months.
As for the hammerheads, we saw them everyday that we dove. On our best day we saw 9 great hammerheads. Personally I only saw 5 at once but the feeders are much better at identifying individual animals and they assured me that throughout the day nine different hammerheads showed up. That was a new record for them. Of course, next year we have to try to break it 🙂
Our success was largely due to the experts at Neal Watson’s Bimini Scuba Centre who we partnered with for this adventure. As well as having the most consistent hammerhead encounters (Neal has NEVER been skunked), Neal Watson’s is the local operator so our funds were channeled into the local economy; always a good thing on an island that depends on fishing and diving to stay afloat.
Some days it took us a little while to bring in the hammerheads so we entertained ourselves with the bull sharks that seemed to always be present. In fact, the bull shark action was so good that I have decided to scratch our Mexican bull shark trip altogether and concentrate on great hammerheads and bull sharks in Bimini instead.
Here is an awesome video by one of our guests. If you think that I have simply cherry picked a few images to make this trip look good, this video will give you an idea of how amazing the action really was! Thank you Steve Karm for allowing us to add this great video to BFE.
What really amazed me was how close the great hammerheads came to the divers. They were more than happy to swim inches in front of our cameras even though we were using bright strobes and video lights.
One afternoon, Neal offered to take us over to Triangle Rock for a Sunset Reef Shark Feed. This led to more spectacular photo ops, this time with Caribbean Reef Sharks.
Mixed in with the Caribbean Reef Sharks were a few tiny Blacknose Sharks (Carcharhinus acronotus). I first saw this cute little shark when I worked in St Maarten many years ago but this was a completely new species for most of our guests.
No trip to Bimini would be complete without a visit to the Bimini Biological Field Station Shark Lab. Doc Gruber set up the lab decades ago and has conducted some of the worlds longest running shark studies. After a presentation that included an in-depth look at the lab’s current hammerhead project, we waded out to the shark pens to take a look at the baby lemon sharks.
If you visit the island with or without us, make sure that you pay a visit to the lab and leave a donation. Shark conservation is a tough sell without good science to back it up!
Half a mile from the beach, the shallow sand flat (where the hammers show up) plummets into the deep. This was a great place for me to drop the Deep Cam. Conditions were not always suitable but twice I managed to position the cam in deep water; once in 600ft and once in 800ft. Both drops were wildly successful. Male tiger sharks took the bait on each occasion. What they were doing at that depth I have no idea as there did not seem to be much down there to eat. Here are a couple of short videos that show what happened.
I’m all about the sharks so I don’t normally give much thought to the topside amenities but I have to say that Bimini Sands was really great. From the large condos to the infinity pool, and the great menu and flowing refreshments, the ‘all-inclusive experience’ was a very nice touch.
Suffice to say, we will be back in Bimini next February for more amazing great hammerhead action. Bimini belongs on every shark diver’s bucket list so join us if you can: Bimini Great Hammerhead Expedition 2015