To those unfamiliar with the patterns and behaviors of sharks, it seems almost unfathomable that anyone would willingly put oneself close to them. This, however, is precisely what our passengers do every week. People have been diving with sharks in the Exumas since 1992 without any incidents. There are no records of scuba divers being bitten in the Bahamas other than those that tried to grab or touch a shark, were spearfishing, or were hand-feeding sharks. To keep our shark dive safe for both customers and crew, we lower a frozen chumsicle from the surface so that no humans get near the food. The primary sharks we have on our dives are Caribbean reef sharks and nurse sharks.
While humans are seldom at risk from shark attacks, sharks are under serious threat from humans. Shark populations have suffered large declines because of humans. The demand from Asia for shark fins traditionally used for making soup, has led to the slaughter of many sharks by fisherman. The fishermen remove the fins and discard the rest of the body. A typical shark takes 3-4 years to reach sexual maturity at which time she gives berth to 1-4 pups per year. Less than 25% of these pups reach sexual maturity. If something isn’t done soon to protect sharks, their decline may become irreversible. Shark feeding dives in the Bahamas have helped educate people about the threat sharks are facing. Several years ago, after long-line fishermen slaughtered over 50 sharks, the Bahamas passed laws prohibiting this practice. Recently the Bahamian government has moved to establish no fishing zones around many of the shark feeding sites.
Historically, sharks left the area when scuba divers enter the water. The bubbles from the regulators scared them off. Since shark dives started in the Bahamas, many of the sharks have lost their fear of these bubbles. Has that made them more aggressive towards divers? No, but your chance of seeing a shark on a non-shark dive has increased greatly. Instead of diverting their course several hundred feet away from you, they now continue their planned course that frequently brings them close enough to be seen. This is a list of the sharks that have been seen on the trips of the Aqua Cat, Cat Ppalu and Blackbeard’s Cruises: