A Memorable Morning
I’ve had some pretty memorable dives with sharks and too be honest all have been truly amazing. However there is one dive with Tiger Sharks in The Bahamas that seems to stand out more than others. A short dive that ended with being alone on the sea floor with 2 huge Tiger Sharks. Quite a daunting prospect but all turned out ok as I’m here to tell the tale.
It was our 1st dive of our last day in the beautiful Bahamas at Tiger Beach. The sea was beautifully calm and was silky smooth, that ‘Bahama Blue’ creating a true paradise. The vis down below was a different story though and still wasn’t ideal for shark diving. Most the group wanted to wait until the current changed and took the bad vis with it. I decided I wanted to get in with a few others as I wanted to get some shots of the reef and lemon sharks swimming at the surface with the dappled sunrise light as a backdrop. The current wasn’t cooperating with my photography attempts and every time I was concentrating on getting the shot I found I had drifted a little way from the boat and had to swim back. Not an ideal situation to be in when diving off a liveaboard in the middle of the ocean but I got one shot I was happy enough with.
After a few minutes I thought it was best to drop down and join a few other divers who had gone down for the dive. The vis wasn’t great but I had a little swim round the reef where I spotted an invasive Lionfish cruising around. Unfortunately I had no way of ridding the reef of this non-native species but they are very photogenic so I couldn’t resist a photo.
Caribbean reef sharks were also cruising the reef. Patrolling back and fourth keeping an eye on their patch. It was a shame the vis wasn’t great but it was great fun to be amongst them with the colours of the reef. A change from the usual sandy bottom area we were used too for our shark diving trip in the Bahamas.
I left the reef and came back to the sandy bottom under the boat to see what sharks were around. All the other divers decided to abandon the dive and were doing their 3 minute safety stop on the line but were still in view. I decided to wait a little longer below as they could see me and I could see them. We were only diving in 13 metres to the bottom. This is when my moment came being alone with a 4m tiger shark. What a beauty she was and to be alone on the bottom as she snuck up on me was quite a thrill. I felt more connected to her as it was just me there. I really had to be vigilant of her presence. She would swim out of view and circle back round a few times getting a close look at me as she passed allowing me to take some shots.
I felt comfortable with her presence. Having just the one Tiger Shark to keep an eye on was fine but after about her third pass and watching her swim away I was spooked by another tiger shark swimming close behind me checking me out. I turned round to make eye contact so the shark was aware that I knew she was there. I then watched as the second shark swam slowly off leaving me alone on the bottom. I now had 2 Tiger Sharks ready to circle back into view but from which direction I did not know. I decided I was happy to keep an eye on one Tiger Shark on my own but trying to keep an eye out on 2 was pushing it a little. It was time to join the rest on the safety stop and take a short break before we all returned back in the water with better vis and more eyes to watch each other’s back. Such beautiful sharks but certainly ones to keep an eye on while diving with them.