SHARK DIVING 2017 TRIP REPORT
Tiger Beach 2017 in
a Nutshell: Mind blowing! Definitely our best
week ever at Tiger Beach. Six species of sharks including
tiger sharks, lemon sharks, Caribbean reef sharks, nurse
sharks, bull sharks and a friendly great hammerhead.
As usual, the week started at Tiger Beach
Wreck - a 100+ year old anchor chain encrusted with corals
and sponges. The chain is the original location of all Tiger
Beach shark encounters.
Lemon sharks started arriving as soon as we
dropped anchor. By the end of day one we probably had 25
lemon sharks in attendance to the delight of our excited
divers. With so many lemons right next to the boat, it was a
great opportunity for us to try some lemon-splits at sunset.
The next day we headed to Fish Tales (a km
away). Most of the lemons followed us there so we had plenty
of lemons on every dive of the trip.
The tiger action this year was typical. And
by typical, I mean insanely good! We started collecting
tigers at Fsh Tales very quickly. By the end of the second
day we had 6 or 7 cruising around the boat. By the 3rd day
we had 8+. By the end of the week, I think we likely had
more but it was hard to count them with all the other sharks
Caribbean Reef Sharks
The reefies ar Fish Tales are residents so we
know that we will always find 20 or 30 of them as soon as we
arrive. This year was no exception!
There are always a few nurses kicking around
at Fish Tails. This year we had a couple at Tiger Wreck as
well. Looking back through my images, I realized that I
didn't actually photograph any this year. Its a shame because
they're cute sharks and very important predators on
Caribbean/Bahamian reef systems. Anyway, here is another
tiger pic :)
We generally get a fly-by or two on our April
Tiger Beach trips. Its a great time for tigers and the
weather is usually excellent, but its no 'ideal' for hammers
because they are generally migrating north and south by
This year, that all changed. For the entire
season, we have had a resident great hammerhead not only
swimming around Fish Tales but actually coming in to feed.
Having a great hammerhead mixed in with the tigers adds a
very cool dynamic and makes for some brand new photo ops!
Our second surprise this year was the bull
sharks. We had 5 or 6 swimming on the periphery of the shark
feed at every dive at Fish Tales. Where they came from, I
have no idea. Why they showed up, I haven't a clue! All we
know is that they seem comfortable among the other species
so as long as no one distresses them, we're hoping they hang
Chances are they'll disappear over the hot
summer months and then if we're lucky they'll come back when
it cools down in the fall. Time will tell!
With so many sharks around, we generally
remove the bait boxes before anyone jumps in after dark. The sharks stay put anyway. Removing the bait stops the
sharks from getting exciting and makes the night dive
This year, slipping in at dusk, we were
immediately visited by tigers, bulls, lemons and the
omnipresent reef sharks. I confess that I get a kick out of
watching the divers nervously dropping in at night. An irrational fear of the dark combined with a very
reasonable fear of sharks, puts everyone on high alert.
After a few minutes, everyone calms down of course but
watching their worried expressions during the initial descent
always makes me chuckle - I can't help it :)
An Incredible Week
Looking back on the trip, I can't envision
how it could have been any better. We even saw two
pods of dolphins during the week; one pod of bottlenose
dolphins and one pod of spotted dolphins. With so many
sharks in the area, they didn't stick around for photo
opportunities but it was still lovely to watch them porpoise
through the dive site on their way to who knows where.
Regardless of the action, the success of any
trip in part comes down to the attitude of the group. Like
most of our trips, we had guests with mixed experience
levels. Some were pro-shooters, most had shark dived a few
times before, but
a couple had literally just come from their open water
course! Fortunately the diving is shallow and the currents
are mild at Tiger Beach so other than the fact that the
sharks can get a bit friendly at times, this trip isn't such
a bad place to get comfortable in the water. Shark divers
are an unpretentious bunch so it was not surprising to see
the veterans welcoming the newbies.
Many thanks to our great guests and to the
crew of the Dolphin Dream for making this week so much fun!
More Tiger Beach trips to
look forward to
This November, Big Fish Expeditions' trip leader
is leading our second Tiger Beach trip of the year. For
those that want to hone their Photoshop and Lightroom
skills, he will also add in some presentations during the
trip. It won't impact the diving in any way so if you're
just there for the sharks, you won't miss a single dive.
My next Tiger Beach trip is next April. No
workshops on that one, just lots and lots of shark diving.
If you'd like to join either trip, please let
Until next time,
Andy is a professional photographer, author
and the founder of Big Fish
FEEDBACK FROM SOME OF
THE GUESTS ON THIS YEAR'S TRIP:
The two words that come to mind when I
describe my first experience with Big Fish Expeditions and
tiger sharks: Life Changing. Andy and
his team has truly brought experiencing marine life to a
forefront and provides an unforgettable experience to
novices like myself, as well as to dive veterans looking for
incredible underwater shots. It made such a lasting impact
on me that I booked my next trip even before I left the
boat! I can't recommend them enough!
See you next year!
Shital Patel, USA.
In April 2017 I did two
back-to-back trips with Andy Murch to Tiger Beach in Grand
Bahama and the Cat Island for the oceanic white tips.
I was really pleased with both trips and Andy did a great
job of leading them – there when you needed him for advice
or guidance, but never in your face… He really does know
what he is doing and does it well, which is a rare
Diving and photographing potentially dangerous animals like
tigers, bulls and oceanics has to be done with care – both
for the humans and the sharks. Andy understands that
connection intuitively and manages it very well. I will
definitely use Big Fish again and am really looking forward
to the next adventure!
Don Silcock, Australia.
The experience with Andy
was the best I have ever had. Scuba diving with Great whites
in the past has now failed in comparisons to what I have
enjoyed with Andy and the Tiger Sharks (plus five other
shark species I encountered). Big Fish Expeditions is now
part of my new bucket List.
Mike Lewandowski, USA.
The Tiger Beach Trip was
perfect, everything went smoothly, from airline to luggage,
to a good boat, great crew, good guests, good visibility,
great shark action, good weather. All the stars were aligned
for a great week, The trips is on my top 6 easy.
Here a video, to show this wonderful week
Thanks a lot for the photos and this
amazing trip. I really enjoyed this unbelievable shark
diving at tiger beach with you!
Matt Ringelhan, Germany.