ISLAND GREAT HAMMERHEADS
A BIG FISH EXPEDITIONS TRIP
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 :)
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.
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
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.
DEEP TIGER SHARK! (600ft down)
DEEP TIGER TWO! (800ft down)
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
At the shark lab with our second group of