Wrecks & Sharks in the Bahamas
The perfect combination, sharks & wrecks. With Stuart Cove in New Providence in the Bahamas, we explore the wrecks of the Ray of Hope & the Big Crab and experience some epic Caribbean reef shark encounters
When diving in New Providence in The Bahamas it is the Caribbean reef sharks that take centre stage. These sharks have made their home here and can be seen all year round.
After a quick breakfast, I gulp down my coffee and head through the lobby to the hotel entrance. I’m at SuperClubs Breezes Resort & Spa in Nassau and I’m about to be picked up for some epic diving with Caribbean reef sharks.
It’s not hard to spot the Stuart Cove’s shuttle bus when it arrives sporting its bright pink logo. The bus is nearly full already and after a 20-minute ride, with everyone happily chatting away, we arrive at Stuart Cove’s and are directed to check in.
There is a queue and the place is busy, but judging by the number and the size of the boats moored outside I don’t think the number of people will be an issue. Besides, many of those queuing seem to be here to snorkel.
It's not long until it’s my turn to fill out the required paperwork which includes the all-important liability release for shark diving. After a quick stop to get fitted out with some rental gear I head over to the boat where I’m met by Dani, an experienced shark wrangler, and Krishna our boat captain. I’m the last diver onboard so once my gear is loaded and my camera is stowed we head off.
It’s only a short ride and today we will be diving on two artificial reefs, some of the more than 30 ships that have been sunk by Stuart Cove’s Dive Bahamas over the years.
First up is a shark feeding on the wreck of the 60m-long freighter Ray of Hope which is sitting in around 15m of water. Dani gives us our briefing and tells us about the wreck’s resident population of Caribbean reef sharks. We are warned to keep our hands close to our bodies and not raise our arms, movements that might look a little too similar to that of a shark wrangler offering up a tasty morsel of fish.
While we get kitted up Dani suits up in his chain mail armour, looking like some weird combination of a medieval knight and scuba diver.
As we drop down onto the wreck it’s obvious that there are more than a few sharks around. The numbers grow quickly as Dani gets himself in position on the stern. There are now sharks everywhere, continually circling and making passes by Dani in the hope of getting some fish.
As I move my strobe arms to reposition my strobes I realise this motion is exactly what Dani warned us not to make, so I try to keep my movements to a minimum. To be honest though, the sharks really don’t seem to be taking any notice of me and are focused solely on Dani and the bait box.
The combination of wreck and sharks definitely proves to be a winner for photo opportunities and I come away from the dive with plenty of shots.
The next dive is on the nearby ‘Big Crab’ and this time Dani is going to simply place a bait box on the wreck to help keep the sharks around.
After getting my fill of shots on the bow and stern I take the opportunity to enter the wreck and have some fun trying to frame the sharks passing by in the hatchways and openings.
Wrecks and sharks certainly make for some amazing diving and lots of great photo opportunities, and getting to see such large numbers of sharks is a real treat.
The Caribbean Reef Sharks have grown used to the presence of divers through the shark feedings and seem to regard divers with indifference. They will approach quite closely and provide enough photo/video opportunities to keep any visiting diver happy.
The Caribbean reef shark is aptly named; they are the most commonly found shark in Caribbean waters, and they prefer shallow waters on or around coral reefs. By staying close to the reef these sharks have access to ample prey, such as bony fish, invertebrates, and sometimes perhaps even a stingray or eagle ray. While they can grow up to 3m in length, it’s more common to find them in the 2m - 2.5m range.
• Go to Dive Worldwide to book a shark & wreck trip with Stuart Cove