|Day 1 - December 2, 2007
We arrived at Tiger Beach with our 2nd group of SDM Readers. Producer Dan Mauro, (SportDiverTV) creator of the Blue Realm HD series has joined us to film part of his new episodes here with us.
He is doing a story about SDM and the sport of shark diving. Neil Mcdaniel, the former editor of Canada's Diver magazine, and u/w cameraman is helping him film. It should be a fun week, ad I am looking forward to the adventures with this new group. That is the best part of running these shark trips - The stories, it is, and always has been about the stories.
When we arrived and anchored up at Tiger Beach, the lemons had already moved in. At least 10 sharks showed up before the chum hit the water. A couple of tiger sharks were swimming around in the distance but they did not come in right away. Which was fine, it is just good to know the tigers were already here. I also wanted my divers to get there gear dialed in, and get used to the lemon sharks behavior before the tigers moved in and amped up the dive.
Tigers are an extreme shark, and this style of diving is not for everyone, so I needed to be sure everyone was going to be comfortable around the lemons. Lemons are puppy dogs compared to tigers. Tigers sometimes bump divers, and getting bumped by a big tiger shark will get your heart racing, and if your not ready for it, it will scare the hell out of you.
On the last dive of the day a couple of young tigers moved in. One was a small, pretty little 7 foot tiger, the other was maybe around 10 feet. They came in to say hello and introduce our divers to Bahamian tiger shark diving. Dan got his camera bumped, so he got a taste of what tiger shark diving is all about. Tomorrow should be good.
December 3, 2007
We had four tiger sharks swimming around. Our great hammerhead did not return, but I did not think she would. We got lucky with our hammer hanging around for 4 days on our first trip. Anyway, this is Tiger Beach - Its all about the tigers!
. The tigers were skiddish in the morning-typical tiger behavior. We wrangled them in, and they stuck around, coming for a few minutes, then disappearing for 5-10 minutes, then popoing back in. The tigers stayed around long enough for everyone to get plenty of filming opportunities.
We finished off our day with a night dive. We dropped in a few baits to temp in the tigers with, but the current dropped and the tigers did not come in. The lemons were fun though, and everyone had a great time shooting them in the black of night. It was a good day for everyone.
A storm is blowing in and we have to leave our spot and find a safe harbor. I hate breaking our chum line, but the boat is unsafe here in bad weather, and we are not safe here. Not that we were ever safe here!
December 4, 2007
We returned to Tiger Beach this morning after the wind storm, and have dropped the crates back in. A few lemons remain, but we will need to chum hard to get the tigers swimming around again. Bad weather, I hate bad weather. We will see what this afternoon is like.
Later in the day;
The murk never went away, it remained around 20-30 feet of vis all day, but we wrangled and brought in the tigers for our afternoon dive. They hung around all day, but with the bad vis, I did not want to push getting them all worked up. Safety is a concern for my readers. I know it sounds wierd me saying that I wanted things to be safe on a tiger shark dive, but it is the truth. We wrangled today with everyone topside only. My first goal is to help everyone have the time and adventure of their lives, but more important is to bring everyone home safely. I am hoping for better weather and vis tomorrow, so we can take it up a notch.
We cancelled the night dive, due to the bad vis.
December 5, 2007
Today was an amazing day! Our first dive was a slow dive, nothing but lemons showed up. It is easy to get jaded with lemon sharks, because there are so many of them hanging around. Tiger Beach is a unique place, it the only dive spot in the world where you can guarantee lemon sharks on this side of the world, but it is easy to over look this fact. Again, because the sharks are always there, and because of their exciting and monster sized cousins present, the tiger sharks.
Lemons are cool sharks though, they photograph well, and these sharks here are big, averaging 8-9 feet.
Our second dive of the day was beyond words amazing. We had 4 tiger sharks show up. One tiger shark was pretty agressive and came in trying to push her weight around. She came up to me and bumped my camera, not once, not twice but 6 times! She just circled me going bang, then bump, then bang, over and over. If your not comfortable around big sharks with attitude, that would scare the hell out of you. I moved my guests in close so I could keep an eye on them all till this shark settled down. Only one was really agressive, and she finally did, and so the dive went on.
A 5 foot Caribbean reef shark showed up today and joined us for the day. Its funny, reef sharks are so common in the Bahamas. Every big tourist island has them, so you get jaded seeing them. But seeing this pretty little reef shark among the lemons and tigers was a welcomed sight.
Today was just a fun day in the water at one of the most exciting dive sites in the world. The tigers were out in full force, and the days images were just amazing.
I am looking forward to tomorrow, however another wind storm is coming our way and we will be forced to leave Tiger Beach again.
December 6, 2007
The winds last night were howling, and we returned to our spot at Tiger Beach this morning to again begin our day of chumming. The first shark to show up was a tiger shark. I was happy about that, normally the lemons come in and the tigers cruise in later in the day. This meant that we would have tigers to dive with on our first dive. However the winds made a mess of the place and the vis today was terrible. Our first dive was pretty tame, but the reef shark was still around, which was cool. The tigers kept their distance and they stayed out in the murk.
We waited to see if the vis was going to improve, but it did not so we jumped in for our second dive late in the day. Andy our shark wrangler told us that we had 4 tigers under the boat, so a couple of us started suiting up. Then Bear, our deck hand yelled out those magic-magic words, "Great Hammerhead!" A hammer came charging in to see what the tigers and lemons were fussing with.
Julia has returned. However much to our disappointment, she did not stay. As soon as we jumped in, she swam off into the murk. Exactly what I thought she was going to do on our November trip. Maybe she will show up for our last day of diving?
A nurse shark showed up for a while as well, making our species tally for the day - 5 different species of sharks. Tiger Beach is really an amazing sharky dive.
Tomorrow is our last day of diving, I hope it is a good one!
December 7, 2007
The vis has cleared up a little, it is still murky out there, but it is supposed to get better later in the day. Dan wanted to get some shots of the boat from the dingy, and he wanted me to go with him for the shots. I took my still camera and documented it for the mag and web.
I finally got a good look at Scott's boat from the outside, she is a work horse, and a total gem on the inside. I have decided to rename her. Captain Scott won't like it, but I have planted a flag on her, and The Dolphin Dream is a bad name for a shark boat, so I have dubbed her the Shark Chaser I. Scott may not approve, but I like it.
Later in the day;
The vis was still kind of crappy but it was way better than yesterday. The tiger shark action was amazing! We had 5 tiger sharks swimming around the boat, and they gave us plenty of opportunities for photos and film. This was a our last dive of the trip before we headed back to Florida. The hammer showed up for a few minutes today as well. After spending 2 weeks out here, I do have to say, I am sad leaving this place. This is my favorite thing in the world; chasing sharks, great adventures and new friends. The people who share these adventures with me are amazing and special people. They truly Live the Dream. Thanks again to all the SDM Readers who joined us on our adventure this year, and the crew of the Shark Chaser I.
Till next season!