When I received an eleventh hour call regarding an open space on the Bahamas Master Livaboard and an invitation to spend a week diving Tiger Beach, I took it. I’m no fool. (Well, not in this instance.)
I’ll admit that I didn’t look up anything, not a single thing about the trip. I just said yes and then rattled off my credit card number. I was assuming that we would spend a week diving with tiger sharks, which is what the name implies. I was not disappointed. There was one person on the boat at check-in who was shocked to learn that the only diving we would be doing all week was with tiger sharks. I assume it was her that I heard scream when the first tiger swam by on the first dive of day one.
I have been on a number of shark-feeding dives but Tiger Beach is different. It was not a chum fest with a crazy, shark frenzy; which can be very difficult to photograph. It was a wonderful, controlled, cocktail hour for sharks.
For some unknown reason, all of the tiger sharks at Tiger Beach are female. There were plenty of sharks of different varieties; lemons, Caribbean reef, nurse, occasionally bull sharks and at the right time of year, hammerheads but only the tigers were fed. They lined up like good little first graders and waited their turn for a little pet and maybe a fish snack, maybe not. Then they got back in line, hoping again for a little snack and some love.
After their snack and/or petting, the tigers would swim past the divers. No doubt, they are large and some of them are super jumbo size but not really intimidating. We were instructed to look them in the eye as they passed by. So we gave them the eye and they gave it right back, I personally felt that they were as interested in us as we were in them.
Occasionally one would swim directly into a camera, no biggie, it made for great photo opportunities. At one point, a Tiger swam into the camera of the guy next to me and he used it to push her in my direction thereby tipping me over. We had been instructed to at least double the amount of lead we were wearing, so once knocked over with a large camera, getting up was a bit comical but I managed unscathed.
In between feeding dives we were allowed ‘open pool’ which did not disappoint, there were plenty of sharks that stayed in the area and less divers, which is to say practically no divers since the feeding dives only had six to eight divers per. The photo opportunities were insane all week. I really feel that I got to know some of these incredible, beautiful sharks. Thanks for a great week, Emma, Princess, Butt Face, Frankenstein and all the other great sharks of Tiger Beach!