Team Wetpixel gathered at the Bimini Big Game Club on Friday last, for the first part of the amazing Bahamas Hammerhead and Tiger Shark Expedition.
The hotel is reached via a short water taxi and the hotel’s marina is where Epic Diving dock their boat.
We met up with Debra and Vincent Canabal and arranged for an 11am start the following day. Apparently greater hammerhead sharks (Sphyrna mokarran) prefer to sleep late in the mornings!
We set out for the dive site promptly. It is a short boat ride from the resort. Once the anchor was in, Epic got working on encouraging the sharks to turn up. Once we had a few hammerheads around, we all got in!
The site is fine white sand which is fairly easily disturbed by the (sharks or people!) The trick is to overweight yourself so as to minimise movement and hence disturbance.
The visibility was a little photographically challenging, but everyone was soon adapting to the conditions. The sharks come in very close, so it was possible to cope with the reduces visibility.
Epic run an “open deck” policy, which maximises time. The dives are shallow, so as you run low on air, you simply return the boat, switch tanks and go back down again! We spent nearly 5 hours on the dive site, only leaving as it turned dark.
We set out early and headed to the North West of the island seeking the Atlantic spotted dolphins (Stenella frontalis) that hang out in the area.
Pretty soon, we had a group “playing” in our wake. We got in pretty soon were haveing some great encounters. The dolphins move really fast, so it makes sense to snorkel with them and free dive down. By doing so, they also tend to interact more.
At around midday, we turned round and headed south to the hammerhead site.
There were sharks around very quickly, but as we descended, the visibility was really poor. We spent some time trying to cope with this, before Vincent suddenly beckoned us all over. No more than 20m from our original position was clear blue water!
Photographically this was really productive, with up to 5 hammerheads, 4 or 5 nurse sharks (Ginglymostoma cirratum) and a bull shark (Carcharhinus leucas) around us. Epic has identified and named many of the regular sharks on the site, and in total we had 7 individual hammers visit us.
We kept shooting until the light ran out!
Tomorrow, we head out for more. Report to follow…..
Page 1. Day 1 and 2.
Page 2. Day 3 and 4.