2014 TRIP REPORT
This year's Tiger Beach Expedition started
with calm clear seas and plentiful sharks but we were
forewarned that a storm might lock us out of the best sites
towards the end of the week so we didn't waste a
single dive while the weather held!
We spent our first day at Tiger Beach itself
photographing the abundant lemon sharks that swarmed the
back of the Dolphin Dream from the moment we arrived.
When the sun slipped too low for good
in-water encounters, the guests crowded onto the back deck to
try their hand at lemon snaps (over/unders of lemon sharks
at the surface). To capture the action from a different
perspective, I slipped in with the lemons and shot the scene
from within their ranks. Although I was repeatedly bumped
and jostled by the sharks as they swam towards the bait,
none of them showed any aggression except towards the free
fish that the captain dangled from a (hook free) fishing line.
It was a lot of fun and resulted in some
The next morning we sailed over to Fish
Tales, a slightly deeper dive site just a km away from Tiger
Beach. After a quick dive on the reef with a school of
about two dozen Caribbean reef sharks, the first tiger
We swam to an area of sea grass and
conducted two 90 minute dives with a tiger that is nicknamed
Smiley because of the way her jaw gapes on one side, probably as a
result of a run in with a fisherman.
Conditions were great. The visibility was the
best I have ever seen it and Smiley could not have been more
accommodating, swimming from one diver to the next, posing
for images at every turn. While Smiley strutted back and
forth, another tiger arrived and made sporadic passes but
never quite plucked up the courage to come in close.
Before long, we had Caribbean reefs sharks,
lemon sharks, tiger sharks and nurse sharks all cruising
over the sandy substrate or swimming among the adjacent
As predicted, on day three the winds started
to climb so we anchored on the leeward side of Tiger Beach.
I wondered if we would have any luck finding sharks but
within minutes, the lemons had made their way over to our
new location. We slipped in for two dives and managed to
attract a tiger, a nurse and plenty of beefy lemon sharks
but the visibility was far from ideal.
By late afternoon the captain was keen to run
for cover so we headed further over the bank and anchored
where the waves could barely reach us.
Morale remained pretty good on Day Four even
though we spent the first half of the day watching movies
in the spacious salon of the Dolphin Dream. By mid afternoon
the wind finally abated and we poked our nose out to sea
again. Back at Fish Tales, the water was surprisingly clear
considering that a storm had just barreled through.
On our first drop, two tigers (including
Smiley) immediately came over to meet us. It was a great,
late start to the day.
By the end of the second dive we had
accumulated four 10-12ft long tigers, five or six lemon
sharks, a few nurses and countless Caribbean reef sharks
overhead. A dive not soon to be forgotten!
Back onboard, while the other guests reviewed
their images and joked about their close encounters, I
captured a few final frames of the dying sun 'Tiger Beach
When we arrived at Fish Tales on our fifth
and final day, the tigers were waiting! By the end of our
second dive, we were surrounded by five tiger sharks,
perhaps a dozen nurse and lemon sharks and scores of reef
sharks. It was dizzying keeping an eye on 5 tigers at once
but it was an amazing experience and the photographic
opportunities were world class!
After a third and final dive in the whirlwind
of sharks we climbed back on deck for a final crack at some
'lemon and tiger snaps' and then set a course back to West Palm Beach.
It was a great trip with a really great group but that is
exactly what I have come to expect at Tiger Beach!
Join me on our next expedition to Tiger Beach in April 2015: