SHARK DIVING 2018 TRIP REPORT
Tiger Beach 2018 in
a Nutshell: Another awesome trip to Tiger Beach!
Tiger sharks, lemon sharks, bull sharks, Caribbean reef
sharks, nurse sharks and great hammerheads :)
Windy conditions kept us from shark diving
on day one but the rest of the week was fine. The shark
to build all week long.
I think we had six tigers on the busiest
dives but it was hard to be sure with so many other sharks to keep
As always, we started at Tiger Beach Wreck -
the shallowest spot where our divers can get used to the
sharks and fine-tune their buoyancy.
Enter the TIger Sharks
On Day Two we moved to Fish
Tales - a slightly deeper site where tigers are abundant and more than happy to share a close up moment or
Well Behaved Bull Sharks
This year the bulls were back. Bull sharks have now firmly moved in to Tiger
Beach but fortunately, they are not creating any
problems. This is likely because we never feed them. The
tigers get the snacks (and so does the occasional sneaky lemon or
nurse shark) but we make sure that the bull sharks always go
hungry. That sounds a little unfair but his stops them from becoming too aggressive and
driving off the other species.
Nurse Sharks and Southern
There are always a few nurses kicking around
at Fish Tails. This year we had a couple at Tiger Wreck as
well as at the Sugar Wreck; a shallow wreck
dive that we have started to sneak into our itinerary.
Other noteworthy elasmobranchs (sharks and rays) included a handful of southern
stingrays. I am always amazed how these large 'flat sharks' swim nonchalantly among
the big boys, even though they would be easy pickings for
the tigers and they're a favorite food of the great hammerheads.
Our resident great hammerhead that the crew call
Patches has been in the general Tiger beach area all season.
The crew saw a second hammer on the edge of the feed while
we were there but it wouldn't come in to feed. Patches had
no such concerns :) She was more than happy to feed
alongside the tigers and actually muscled a few of them out
of the way to be the first in line. She has become a total
rock star and everyone wanted to get their picture taken
Caribbean Reef Sharks
in the Blue
I sometimes feel bad for the reef sharks.
They are largely ignored by the feeders. Of course they
don't care as long as they get the occasional fish, but they
are beautiful sharks. In my opinion, Caribbean reef sharks
are the quintessential shark. Robust yet streamlined, casual
cruisers on tjhe reef but ever vigilant, ready to change
speeds whenever an opportunity arises.
They are residents at fish tales so we always
know that we will see 20 or more circling as soon as we drop
anchor. This year was no exception.
With so many potentially aggressive sharks around, we generally
remove the bait boxes before anyone jumps in after dark but
that doesnèt mean they leave the area. Removing the bait
simply stops the
sharks from getting exciting and makes the night dive
This year, slipping in at dusk, we were
immediately visited by all the players: 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 :)
Diving the Mountains
To break things up a bit, on our fourth day we motored over to dive
a beautiful site
called Mountains. This gorgeous reef is essentially a large
coral outcrop that rises dramatically from the sand.
It was a nice change of pace and still quite sharky because
truly healthy reefs are usually patrolled by reef sharks.
As we weren't feeding the sharks, they
were a little more standoffish than at other sites on the
trip but this gave me a chance to get creative with the
corals and sponges with sharks in the background.
Back to Fish Tales
After mountains we did a quick wreck dive and then headed
back to Fish Tales to finish off the trip among the rock
stars of the shark world. All the players were still there;
tigers, lemons, bulls, reefies, nurse sharks and our
resident great hammerhead Patches. The wind
completely dropped out so the ocean was like a lake and the
encounters were world class.
Awesome Guests - swimming with sharks!
Out of time, we wrapped up the week with a
group picture of our excited guests and headed for Florida.
I would like ton add a special thank you to this years 'live bait' for
joining us on our yearly Tiger Beach Shark Diving Adventure.
This year was particularly interesting
because we were joined by Garrett Gee and
many of his friends. Garrett is a brilliant young socoal-media
influencer that spends his year traveling the
world with his family; better known as the Bucket List
Family. You can follow their fascinating adventures on
Instagram and Facebook. He is easy to find! lol.
More Tiger Beach trips to
look forward to
This November, I am leading our second Tiger Beach trip of the year.
This extended trip will focus on great hammerheads as well
as tiger shark diving so we will look for hammers at Tiger
Beach and then move to Bimini if we decide we want even more
My next regular Tiger Beach trip is next April.
No special missions and no photo workshops. Just lots and lots of
world class 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