Tiger Beach in the Bahamas has been on our radar ever since we heard about it. A legendary shark oasis somewhere in the Bahamas…yes please! We learned that this special region was “discovered” in 2002 by Jim Abernethy, a conservationist who pioneered cage less shark diving and has been on a lifelong mission to dispel myths about sharks. His daily videos about showing sharks affection and not viewing them as predators was one of the top reasons why we signed up for a week on board the M/V Shear Water in February, the perfect time to experience both great hammerheads and tiger sharks. After meeting Jim and the Shearwater staff (Hex – dive master, Beau – chef, Rob – captain), we joined 8 other divers on the 65 foot liveaboard vessel and got settled in. Jim was running on adrenaline and proceeded to give us a lengthy and passionate 3 hour briefing on what to expect in the upcoming week! But first, a long crossing from Riviera Beach to Grand Bahamas where we got stamped in by immigration the next morning. Since we weren’t allowed to step foot in the Bahamas, everyone on board the Shearwater was exempt from the mandatory negative COVID-19 test that the Bahamas requires all visitors arriving by air to have. From Grand Bahamas, we had a short journey up to Tiger Beach where we spent 4 of our 6 dive days. Unfortunately, one dive day was impacted by adverse swells so we had to find an alternative dive site which ended up being the chain wreck, a 100 year old anchor chain. However, the remaining 3 days of non stop curious tiger shark action gave us more than enough memories to last a lifetime. The tiger sharks’ sheer bulky size combined with their slow predictable movements was mesmerizing and despite spending hours observing their behavior, it still wasn’t enough. From Tiger Beach, we moved south to Bimini where we spent our last 2 dive days with great hammerheads. We have seen scalloped hammerheads in the Galapagos and Cocos Island but the great hammerheads blew us away. They are simply massive, magnificent, highly maneuverable, and stunning creatures. A magical afternoon encounter lasting several hours with Queenie and her pilot fish entourage circling around all of us while making eye contact will forever live in our memories. What an amazing experience and we returned back to Florida with a new found love and respect for sharks. It looks like Jim offers a 10 day trip to dive with Oceanic whitetip sharks so we will be back!
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