Scuba diving with Tiger Shark and Great Hammerheads aboard the MV Dolphin Dream Feb & March 2020
Each season, Tiger Beach, Bahamas exceeds expectations with clear water, white sands, and loads of sharks of many species.
An international collection of divers was onboard from Slovenia, Israel, Japan, USA, and Canada. We were lucky to have only small interruptions due to weather: on the first trip we decided to go to Bimini first as conditions there were better than at Tiger Beach. Usual practice is to do the opposite: Tiger Beach first then down to Bimini for more hammerheads.
Our 2nd trip had a special guest: Dr Erich Kurt Ritter, a renowned experimental shark behaviorist focusing on shark – human interaction. He is considered a pioneer in the field of shark interaction with humans and has developed the first interaction concept for swimmers and divers that allows safe interaction with any shark species. Dr Ritter is a regular visitor to the Dolphin Dream shark dive trips so the crew, captain, and guests all benefit from his knowledge.
We had fascinating presentations from Dr Ritter each evening where he explained his research, finding, and recommendations for safe interactions in all situations.
Some of the components of his safe interaction concept (ADORE-SANE)
Direction: The way a shark approaches a person indicates its intention. The more directly it swims towards a person, the more interested it likely is.
Reference: The shark’s approach from below the observer should be seen as rather cautious due to their more camouflaged position against the darker background . Contrarily, a shark swimming above a person seems then more comfortable with the situation given its disadvantage to the background camouflage
His book is fascinating (Shark – Human Interaction 2nd edition by Erich K Ritter) and I will study it and refer to in for all future trips.
His observations greatly informed my ability to read the safety of the shark movements while underwater. He is a great asset and advocate for the shark diving and spearfishing communi
When Preparing for your Shark Dive in the Bahamas
We recommend 5mm – 7mm full wetsuits with hood / hood vest to stay comfortable on the long dives. Please try to have black or plain gear – just in case the sharks are attracted by color and pattern
The water is warm 76 – 85’ F but given our long dive times, I still recommend a long sleeve, long legged wetsuit of 5mm (or 3mm if you run warm) a hood or hood vest.
We recommend the dive gear be as free from decoration (such as stripes) and color as possible so as to not make the sharks curious about you.
Open heel fins or full foot fins both work. Weightbelts tend to be very long so if you like a shorter belt, bring your own. BCD with weight pockets work too. We tend to weight divers a bit heavy so it is easy to stay at the bottom and motionless.
Bring a few moderate to warm pieces of clothing for mornings and evenings including a warm hat just in case.
Most of the time it will be shorts and Tshirt weather while on the boat.
Traveling to the Shark Cruise
This is an easy trip to get to as we launch and return via West Palm Beach USA
You can plan your travel to West Palm Beach (PBI) or alternately to Miami(MIA), Fort Lauderdale (FLL), or even Orlando (MCO) We get a discount rate at a hotel for the night before and after for those who want to arrive the day before or need to stay over after. Rental cars, train, or taxi can get you between the FLL , MIA, and West Palm Beach
We depart from Riviera Beach Marina in West Palm Beach, FLorida
We ask everyone to be on the boat at 5pm on the 3 March. The boat travels
overnight to Bahamas. We clear customs in the Bahamas then get out to the
dive site late morning.
We return mid morning (plan on 11am) on the 11 March. Allow 2 hours commute to Miami and at least 1:15 to Fort Lauderdale, Orlando is at least 2 hours. The dock is 20 minutes or less to the West Palm Beach airport.
Travel Options from Miami and Fort Lauderdale airport:
Rent a car on arrival then use it to get to Riviera Beach Marina.
Your own Car: there is free parking at the marina
Uber and Taxis can give you a transfer but given traffic and distance this could be expensive
There is a train that starts at the Miami Airport with stops at the Fort Lauderdale Airport and in West Palm Beach. A taxi can complete your travel to either the hotel or the marina