2015 TRIP REPORT
Running big animal diving trips can be a nerve
wracking business. There is always the chance that the stars
of the show might not show up. Fortunately, getting skunked
at Tiger Beach is about as likely as seeing an iceberg float
by in the Bahamas.
After a quick dip with the lemon sharks, our
first tiger showed up right on schedule. From that point on,
we enjoyed consistent tiger shark diving all week long.
Tiger Beach itself is a great place to dive
with lemon sharks and a nice shallow dive site to check your
buoyancy and get you camera and dive equipment dialed in
before heading to other areas.
The real action involving tigers, lemons, reef sharks and
nurse sharks generally starts on day two when we visit Fish
Tales; a deeper dive site about a mile away from Tiger
Beach. When we headed there this year, the sharks were
Fish Tales is particularly good for
photographers because it offers varied topography
including reef structure, sandy substrates and sea grass
beds. All of these make great backdrops for viewing and
shooting tiger sharks and other species that are present
here. During four wonderful days of shark diving, we set up
bait stations all around Fish Tales and took advantage of every
environmental setting that we could.
The dives we did on the sea grass were
especially rewarding. It was a big animal photographer's
To make the trip even more exciting and
challenging for the shooters in the group and as a visual
spectacle for the rest of the guests, we ended each day with
a round of 'lemon snaps' as the sun went down. The idea is
to capture close up dramatic shots of lemons (or other
sharks) half in and half out of the water. To achieve this,
we dangle bait off the swim step of the Dolphin Dream and hold our
cameras in position while the sharks make close passes and
snap at the bait. It can be incredibly frustrating when you
repeatedly miss the shot and hanging off the swim step is
really hard on your back and joints (even the fittest guests
agree on that!) but its worth every minute of discomfort
when it finally comes together and you nail a dynamic shark
portrait like this one.
One afternoon we sailed over to spot that
sometimes attracts great hammerheads. This year we struck
out but we still managed to attract a big tiger and all the
other species we have been seeing.
Our last day at Fish Tales was our best yet
with four large tigers, two dozen lemons, scores of reef
sharks and three nurse sharks all swirling together around
us at once. Keeping an eye on that many tigers can be a
challenge because they like to sneak up on divers from behind.
Fortunately, they are always very focused on the baits and
their best to avoid bumping divers.
From the tiger's perspective, it must be
quite tricky to wind through a dozen divers to reach the
bait crate without inadvertently bumping in to one or two
people. Looking at it that way, the tigers do an admirable job :)
Like all great trips, this year's pilgrimage
to Tiger Beach was over long before everyone was ready to
leave. As the Dolphin Dream sailed back to West Palm Beach,
we spent the evening wading through many thousands of images
and hours of GoPro footage that we had collectively taken
during five days in the water. Everyone got great shots.
I'll try to share some of them on our
Big Fish Expeditions
Facebook Page when I get a chance.
Join me on our next expedition to Tiger Beach in April
2016. You won't regret it!