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Bahamas Diving ItinerariesChoose your destination:
Tiger and Lemon Shark — "Tiger Beach" Expedition
Tiger and Lemon Shark — "Tiger Beach" Expedition[back to top]
Our most popular of all trips is to the world famous "Tiger Beach." This spectacular location is unlike any other in the world. At Tiger Beach you will have one of the most unique underwater experiences ever. Imagine yourself surrounded by lemon and tiger sharks as far as the eye can see amidst a gorgeous backdrop of crystal blue Bahamian water and powder white sand — all this in less than 20 feet of water.
Tiger Beach has been popularized throughout the world through thousands of images, films, and numerous articles. It has graced the cover of National Geographic and has been on IMAX's Deep Sea 3D film to name a few. We have been fortunate enough to work with these productions and many others to bring the amazing sharks of Tiger Beach to the whole world.
On our Tiger Beach expedition you will have the opportunity to dive face-to-face with our lovely and famous Tiger shark "super models." The names Emma, Baby Cakes, Tanya, Begonia, Mini-T and numerous others will conjure affectionate feelings. For once you've seen these super model Tiger sharks in action you'll have no choice but to fall in love. Our "super models" will help you produce some of the world's best shark imagery ever. They love to smile for the camera! Lets not forget the plethora of lemon sharks you'll see at Tiger Beach, too. With their sinister looking smile and their sleek "fighter jet" look, these lovely sharks will make the top of your photo collection.
Of course, no trip to the Bahamas would be complete without diving the dazzling reefs of the Bahamas. Surrounded by an abundance of marine life, both large and small, the reef's beauty will take your breath away. Caribbean Reef sharks, large groupers, moray eels and numerous fish will adorn a single wide angle photograph.
Please read our Important Shark Trip Information before considering this type of trip.
Great Hammerhead and Tiger Shark Expeditions in the Bahamas[back to top]
These unique shark trips are being run exclusively for shark enthusiasts and photographers. The emphasis will be on getting quality in-water time and photo opportunities; space is therefore limited to a maximum of ten people. This is a fantastic opportunity you will find nowhere else, and with over 25 years experience in diving with sharks, Jim Abernethy can assure you the very best up close encounters. We have doing these shark trips since 1999 and the shark action has never been better! We have numerous new locations, and we're seeing a lot of the same sharks at each site, along with many new sharks every day. We are starting our very own identification catalog and and look forward to sharing our encounters with you!
Our primary goal is to interact with great hammerhead sharks. These spectacular animals are among the most impressive yet rarely observed of oceanic predators. For many years, the great hammerhead has eluded underwater photographers. In 2000, following a hunch, we set off on our first dedicated shark expedition to find and photograph the King Kong of hammerheads, which can grow to a colossal 18 feet in length. The great hammerhead should not to be confused with the smaller and more common scalloped hammerhead, which can be seen schooling in many locations around the world. Encountering the great hammerhead with its spectacular angularity, its Orca-like dorsal fin, and its bristle-toothed mouth is at the very pinnacle of wildlife adventure.
In addition to great hammerheads, we are also in search of the tiger shark. Although the tiger shark tends to be more cautious than the great hammerhead, we regularly encounter tiger sharks from 6-18 feet in length. The giant of the tropical shark world, this awesome predator will sometimes cruise past in bulky silhouette, approaching the baits with fearless purpose, an exhilarating experience!
Our secret locations are often frequented by Caribbean reef sharks, bull sharks, lemon and nurse sharks while occasionally being visited by something more exotic such as a dusky shark or its little cousin, the silky. At the end of a good day, we have had as many as twenty sharks of as many as six different species.
Please read our Important Shark Trip Information before considering this type of trip.
Important Shark Trip Information[back to top]
To insure the best results we will be “chumming” the water with fish and fish parts. Consequently, there will be food in the water at the same time as the divers. Please be aware that these are not “cage” dives, they are open water experiences. A thorough briefing will be given for each dive site that we visit and each type of shark that you will encounter. We do not move the boat after each dive, unless we are not having much luck at one site, then we may decide to move, but we generally stay in one location overnight and all day.
Shark diving is a potentially dangerous sport and since there can be strong currents, divers should be fairly experienced. The depths that we anchor in are between 10 and 100 feet. For this reason we ask that all divers be Advanced Open Water certified (or equivalent) and have deep and drift diving experience or have have the basic Open Water certification with a logbook showing the necessary experience. We will screen or question each potential guest as to their experience level.
Although we have had great success in the past, please understand that these are wild animals and there is no guarantee that you will see any sharks. Each encounter is different and last as long as the sharks want. Weather is also an uncontrollable force. There are no refunds due to bad weather. We do not get "blown out" due to the weather much, as we have several locations to work in that are pretty much protected from strong winds.
SHARK TRIP FAQ:
Trips are run throughout the whole year. They can be extended on request for photographers, film crews, private or group charters.
The boat will be equipped with fresh water rinse bins for cameras and our professional staff will be there to assist in camera handling.
Professional photographers from around the world have joined us to photograph these magnificent creatures. However, whether you are a photographer, or just someone who loves sharks, this trip will be a life enriching experience and one you will never forget.
For more information, please contact us toll free at 1-888-901-3483 or (561) 842-6356 or us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Watch a video of our shark encounters:
Wild Dolphin Encounters- minimum 5 days[back to top]
As we cruise over bright white sand in water so clear it looks like a giant swimming pool, we see something in the distance that catches our eye. It’s the sleek gray body of a dolphin speeding towards us jumping out of the water. But wait, there are more, two, four, ten, we can’t count them all. They are coming to meet the boat and ride the pressure wave under the bow. We run to the bow and see them crisscrossing around each other, rolling over on their backs to have a look at us, looking down at them.
After a few minutes the boat slows down, the dolphins slow down, and the anticipation of what you are about to experience is almost unbearable. It’s probably something you’ve dreamed of for years and never thought could happen. Slowly you enter the water with your mask, fins and snorkel.
Now you are face to face with the most friendly, playful animals in the Atlantic
Ocean and they are swimming circles around you clicking and whistling, as excited
to see you, as you are to see them. They are ready to play!
These encounters can last 5 minutes, or 5 hours; it is up to the dolphins. You are in their world, on their terms. These dolphins have never been captive or fed. They are with you because they want to be. They have become accustomed to humans cruising these beautiful waters and over the years have learned to interact with us. The numbers of dolphins can range from 2 to 50, you really never know. One thing is for sure; each interaction is different and special in its own way. It is an amazing feeling to "connect" with a dolphin, eye to eye.
Atlantic Spotted Dolphins (Stenella Frontalis) are the dolphins of White Sand Ridge, a shallow sand bank located on the Little Bahama Bank. These are the dolphins we will mostly be searching for, however bottlenose dolphins also frequent White Sand Ridge and although they are not known for being as playful, over the years we have found that to be changing. Many times there will be bottlenose dolphins mixed in with a pod of spotted dolphins.
During your encounter you may see the dolphins feeding in the sand on razor
wrasse and small flounders or chasing flying fish on the surface. You will see
them interacting with each other as they are very family oriented and have very
strong bonds within the pod. They rarely swim without touching one another with
their pectoral fins. Touching is a very important form of communication among
dolphins, young and old. It is their way of reaffirming their connections and
These dolphin swims can be part of any West End/Little Bahama Bank or Walker’s Cay
We also run wild dolphin trips that are focused primarily on swimming with dolphins. This is a good trip for people who are not certified scuba divers. On these trips, we’ll spend each day cruising the banks, looking for the dolphins (they usually find us) in the White Sand Ridge area, although it is possible to run into them right outside West End and anywhere along the way to White Sand Ridge.
For these trips you want to make sure that you have good fitting mask, fins and a good snorkel.
Watch a video of our wild dolphin encounters:
West End, Grand Bahama (Little Bahama Bank), 6-8 day charters[back to top]
This is what we call diving in our own backyard. Less than fifty miles from our dock lies what we feel to be some of the best diving the Bahamas has to offer. Our guests are constantly amazed at how pristine the walls and reefs are. This area is covered in lush corals and sponges and teaming with schools of jacks, snappers, grunts, countless tropical fish and it is one of the best places anywhere for “big animals” like sharks, turtles, rays, and wild dolphins. The macro life is equally impressive with nudibranchs, sea slugs, crabs, lobsters and other crustaceans. Photographers will have an endless variety of subjects.
We depart West Palm Beach in the early evening and cross the Gulf Stream to West End, Grand Bahama; which takes approximately five and a half hours. After we clear Bahamian customs and immigration the following morning, we'll start diving after a nice breakfast. The first day will be spent diving between West End and Memory Rock, diving sites like Wood Cay Wall , Sherwood Forest , Delaine's Reef, and the Swim-throughs . You can easily get in three or four dives on the first day. We will generally anchor up for the night in the lee of an island called Sandy Cay.
The following day will start diving by about 8:30am at what we think is some of the best diving in the Bahamas . Mount Olympus and Garden of Eden are two of the most pristine sites around. Starting at about 60 feet of water, coral heads go down to 100 feet, with a wall starting from there. El Capitan in 60-90 feet or Anna's Reef in 50-100 feet of water are two favorites not to be missed. Friendly hawksbill turtles live on almost every site.
El Dorado is the place for sharks, besides being a simply gorgeous reef in 45-70 feet of water; our shark dive is one of the most exciting. Here you can see anywhere from ten to over twenty Caribbean Reef sharks. The Sugar Wreck is a must see, in only 15 feet of water it makes a great dive, day or night and is also a great snorkeling site. This site is a photographers dream.
These are just a few of our favorite sites. We will move the boat after every dive, giving you an endless variety of sites, unless of course, you want to stay onsite for another dive.
On the some trips you may head towards Freeport where sites like Theo's Wreck await you. There is also the chance to have a night out on the town in Port Lucaya, where you can visit the straw market, enjoy some local music, conch chowder, and sip on a rum drink, island style. It is up to the group to decide if we go to port, unless weather determines that we need to go in that direction.
We may also head north towards Matanilla Shoal and dive Trigger Fish Reef, Deep Snapper Ledges and Creepy Crawly Blue Hole . While on route, we might throw out a line and catch a tuna, wahoo or mahi-mahi for dinner.
On any West End trip wild dolphin encounters are a possibility and we recommend taking the time to head up to White Sand Ridge for a chance to snorkel with these playful animals. It will be an unforgettable encounter that you will never forget. It is easier to take this time on trips that are three days or more. It is not however always necessary to go to White Sand Ridge for these encounters. On many occasions we find pods of dolphins just outside West End, or even on our dive sites! (Actually, they find us :)
We have some great night dive sites, including the Sugar Wreck and Barrels of Fun, and at least one night, we may snorkel with the wild dolphins while they feed on flying fish and squid in the deep waters of the Gulf Stream .
We will head home, on the last day of diving after the night dive and anchor up in the intracoastal waterway until we dock at the Port of Palm Beach at 8am on the return day to clear US customs and immigration, before heading back to our dock to unload. You will generally be off the boat by 9-9:30am.
Whether you are a novice or a seasoned diver, this trip is a fantastic opportunity to dive an area that rivals any Caribbean destination. It will keep you coming back for more, year after year.
Cay Sal Bank – minimum 7 day trip[back to top]
Itinerary may change based on weather and/or passenger request.
Known for it's spectacular walls and exciting blue holes, the Cay Sal bank has long been a favorite destination for scuba diving in the Bahamas .
You can explore uninhabited islands with old lighthouses, jump off steep cliffs into crystal clear water that looks like a swimming pool and just enjoy being far, far away from civilization.
This trip has a bit more structure to it as there is much more running to do to get to the Cay Sal Bank. We try and break it up as much as possible with diving, and running mostly at night.
On the day of boarding, we depart in the late afternoon (~5pm) and head towards Bimini. (Approximately 9 hours) Once we arrive, we will anchor out for the night outside of north Cay Cay, where we will clear customs. Below is a sample itinerary; it is subject to change based on weather and customer request.
Bimini, Andros, Nassau, 6 – 8 day charter[back to top]
After departing Palm Beach in the late afternoon, we head towards Bimini and north Cat Cay where we will clear customs around 9am on the first day.
After clearing, we will start diving some of the more famous dive sites around Bimini such as Tuna Alley and Victory Reef . The north Bimini Mini-Wall and the wreck of the Hespoures are also among our favorites. While in the Bimini area, we can spend some time looking for wild spotted dolphins or run across a friendly pod of bottlenose dolphins on the shallow sand banks. If guests choose, we can go on shore and have a cold one at the famous Complete Angler bar.
Once we have left Bimini we will head towards Andros , and an area we call the pocket. This area is like a triangle with Chub Cay, the southernmost island in the Berry chain to our north, Jolters Cays to the west and Andros to our south. To the east is the Tongue of the Ocean. The diving all around this “pocket” is great. Beautiful reefs and walls along with great shallow diving and snorkeling will keep you busy for hours underwater. The fishing in the pocket is great, with Sailfish, Marlin, dolphin, wahoo and tuna found in these rich waters.
In late April and early May, it is also possible to see large pods of pilot whales in this area.
After diving this area for a few days we'll head to New Providence Island. Here we will dock the boat in Nassau where you can have an evening out and visit Paradise Island and the beautiful Atlantis Resort. The next day we'll head out to the Nassau blue hole to start our day of diving. In only 30 feet of water, this large fresh water opening in the ocean floor is teaming with marine life such as rays, friendly angelfish and even the occasional school of silky sharks. The blue hole drops down past 100 feet before making a sharp turn and continuing on. The walls of the blue hole are lined with all kinds of invertebrates and small fish.
Once we've finished this dive we'll head towards the south end of the island and dive sites like Leatherback wall . We'll do an awesome shark dive and dive on an old Bahamian patrol boat, all on the same dive.
On our way back north, we may stop at Lyford Cay wall before heading west towards Andros . It is possible that we will head back to Bimini before heading towards home. Depending on your booking, we will either return at 4pm on the last day or 8am the following morning.
This itinerary can change due to weather but all of these areas can be visited.
The trip can also be changed to include Orange Cay, the Gingerbread Grounds or some of the Berry Islands .
Whichever you choose, you won't be disappointed.
Southeastern Bahama Islands, 11-14 days[back to top]
(ie Nassau, San Salvador and Conception Island, Crooked Island, Acklins Island, Plana Cays, Samana Cay, Mira-Por-Vos, Mayaguana, Great Inagua)
Depending on exactly how many islands or how far south you wish to go, this trip requires a minimum of 11 days. Guest may fly into Nassau to meet the boat on the first day or go along for the boat ride. This trip is a true “island hopping” adventure. You will not find “out island” diving like this on any other live aboard dive boat. The m/v Shear Water has been cruising and exploring these islands and their surrounding waters for many years. We think we have found the most beautiful wall dives in the Bahamas ! Not only is the diving pristine and untouched, but also the islands themselves are gorgeous. Samana Cay and the Plana Cays (formally known as French Cays) are some of the most picturesque islands in the world. Uninhabited with stunning white sandy beaches, you can go exploring, shell collecting or just sit on the beach and enjoy the view. With the exception of the passing sailboat on their way back from the Caribbean , you won't see any other boats or people for days .
This trip can encompass many different areas. Generally we start our diving around Nassau , then run south to Crooked Island and Acklins Island where we can also visit the lighthouses on Bird Rock and Castle Island . Then we head for our favorite spots, Samana and Plana Cays. We believe these areas to have the most spectacular walls in all of the Bahamas . We generally spend a few days in this area. We may also head south to Mayaguana or if on a 14-day trip, go all the way to Great Inagua. We will also dive areas such as the Diana Bank and Mira Por Vos. On our way back north, we will stop off at Highborne Cay and Allen's Cay to visit the local iguanas, and then stop off in Nassau to clear customs and have a night out at the beautiful Atlantis Resort. Before heading back to Palm Beach we can stop off for a day or two of diving at Conception Island and San Salvador where the walls start in 25 feet of water. These reefs and walls are awesome with large friendly groupers and turtles on top of the reef to scalloped hammerhead sharks cruising below down the wall. At Conception Island you can snorkel inside a lagoon and see baby green turtles and all kinds of juvenile marine life in the mangroves. The entire island and surrounding waters are protected.
On our last day we'll stop for a dive or two at Great Isaac and then head home.
This trip will include a lot of running, since we will be traveling over 500 miles from home. We always try to keep the running between islands to the evening and nighttime hours so as not to take up any diving time.
If you are en explorer and like to head off the beaten path, then this is the trip for you. You can go days without ever seeing another boat and walk the white sandy beaches of uninhabited islands while enjoying a beautiful sunset.