A Shark Lover’s Paradise
Take a journey with Sophie Pallavicini, a Sea Experience Dive Instructor, as she recounts her amazing experience with diving with Tiger Sharks in the Bahamas. Then learn how Sea Experience can help prepare YOU for this one of a kind experience!
At the break of dawn on October 16th, 2017, I set out on what was soon to be one of my most beloved adventures yet. My destination being Grand Bahama to free dive with some of the most magnificent creatures in the ocean: Tiger Sharks. The ecosystem in the Bahamas is amongst some of most pristine ecosystems left in world, and one of the reasons is because in 2011 a country wide shark sanctuary was established.
The month of October is known to be one of the worst months for diving due to high winds and rough seas. However, it is also known to be one of the best months to see Tiger Sharks as the big females begin returning to the shark sanctuary by the dozens. Soon enough we got the ideal conditions we were hoping for. Within two days we had the boat loaded and ready to go.
After about a 2.5-hour run, we finally arrived. I’ll never forget the excitement we all shared when pulling up to the spot. We were all in complete awe as the water was so clear, so glass calm that we called it Windex water! We geared up and dropped the bait crate in the water!
After an hour of being in the water we had only seen the usual Lemon Shark along with a few Reef Sharks swimming around and no sign of Tiger Sharks. Just as our hopes were starting to diminish a juvenile Tiger Shark graced us with her presence! Not even 3 feet long, she was the cutest thing I have ever seen. Her tiger-like stripes were so beautiful and heavily contrasted. A Tiger Shark’s pattern slightly fades with age so hers were absolutely mesmerizing. Unfortunately, she didn’t stick around for more than 10 minutes.
Another hour goes by without any Tiger Sharks. Waiting in suspense, I decide to make some warm-up free dives. Upon descent, I am stopped in my tracks by a huge, 14- foot female Tiger Shark! I wanted to keep swimming towards her however I knew that in order for her to stick around John Garza, the shark expert, needed to get her fed as soon as possible. I surface and yell “Tiger, Tiger, Tiger”! John successfully fed her and before we know it, we were surrounded by 6 big female Tigers!
Photo by John Garza
Sharks are some of the most feared animals in the world yet are one of the most important for the ocean’s ecosystem. I want to spread awareness of sharks by sharing my experience in hopes people will realize sharks are not man-eating monsters and in hopes people will feel the same love and respect for these beautiful, docile creatures as I do.
You too can dive with Tiger Sharks!
Sounds amazing right? Grand Bahama is just a short boat ride away. Here are three ways Sea Experience can help you prepare to see these amazing creatures:
Become a Freediver! Sign up for one of Sea Experience’s Freediving courses! Our Freediving course is taught by Freediving expert Robert King. Robert has spent more time than most on and in the sea. From his earliest years growing up near the Great Lakes, he has had a special relationship with water.
Become an Open Water Diver! Sea Experience has the best instructors around and we are ready to help you earn your diving certification. Our course only takes three days to complete and then you are off to see some tiger sharks!
Take a Refresher Course! Haven’t been diving in a while but want to get back in the water, blow some bubbles, and perhaps see some Tiger sharks? Take a refresher SCUBA course with one of our experienced dive instructors and you’ll be back in the water in no time!
By Sophia Pallavicini@sophia.carmela