A BIG FISH EXPEDITIONS TRIP
Shark Diving Expedition 2012
This year's trip to Cat Island was off the
hook! Cat Island is the place for oceanic whitetip
shark encounters but I had no idea how good it could be!
For this year's trip I chartered one of
Stuart Cove's large dive boats. While myself and 8 guests
flew in to the island and settled into Hawks Nest Resort,
the crew battled strong winds all the way from Grand Bahama
to meet us on the island.
Our first day on the water was very windy but
underwater nobody cared because we had 12 oceanics swimming
around our group in 3000ft of clear blue Bahamian water.
That was an experience that I will never forget! Having a
few oceanic whitetips swimming around a group of divers is
one thing, but having 12 oceanics surrounding 6 or 7 divers
is completely different. They were very bold but not
particularly aggressive. While the dive boat circled and
dropped a small but steady rain of chum to keep the sharks
interested, we got busy with our cameras and video and shot
the circling sharks from virtually every direction. What a
Although the wind continued to make surface
conditions difficult, we were able to dive on all five days
and we had oceanics with us every day.
On a couple of days we came into more
sheltered water in the late afternoon and explored Cat
Islands pristine reefs. Not that many big fish or sharks but the reefs themselves were beautiful:
Usually we went out to extremely deep water
but one day we chummed on a shallower bank which still
bought in 5 oceanic whitetips but we also had a bunch of
silky sharks show up. Although they ran the risk of ending
up as lunch for the oceanics they stuck around all day with
their much bigger cousins.
On our third day, Film Maker Mark Rackley
successfully put one of the oceanics into tonic immobility.
This is a response that has been well documented with
various reef sharks but I had never seen anyone manage it
with an oceanic whitetip. I caught most of it on video but
here is a still shot of what it looked like. The fisheye
lens makes the shark look kinda small but in reality it was
way bigger than Mark. As you can see, he prefers to free
dive (we were all on scuba) and the weight of the limp shark
started pulling him down:
To keep things interesting, we organized a
little over/under shoot with the nurse sharks in the marina
one evening. I've shot over/unders of lemons, tigers, reef
sharks, blues and a few other big animals but this was a
first. Great fun and definitely something that we'll do
again next year!
Between the fantastic oceanic whitetip
action, the nurse shark shoot, the silkies, the occasional
reef shark that randomly showed up and a fly by of a blue
marlin two days in a row, it really was a spectacular trip
which was made even better by a really great group. My thanks to everyone (all my guests and Stuart
Cove and his crew) for making the trip what it was.
Hopefully next year will be even better!
BTW, the boat is half full already. Join me if you
Whitetip Shark Expedition 2013