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The Bahamas: a sharky adventure with a splash of rum and airport drama!

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Bahamas

The Bahamas are famous amongst divers around the world as being one of the best places in the world to dive with sharks – lots of sharks, and lots of different species.

On the 9th January 2024, a group of 15 divers from Oyster Diving, of varying different abilities, travelled from the UK to Nassau.

Arriving in Nassau we were joined by Dave and Julie, two of our American cousins who have been on previous Oyster Diving holidays.

From here we took a short 15-seater flight to Bimini where the journey got more interesting. On arrival the airport was closed and we were effectively stranded on the runway with no way to get out.

bahamas

Thankfully our Pilot radioed the customs guys who had packed up for the day early and headed home. After a while they eventually returned, stamped our passports and we left the airport. We then were told that the mini-bus that takes you to the ferry terminal had also stopped for the day, so the Customs guys did several runs in their cars to take us to the ferry.

The ferry driver kindly dropped us off on the North Island right on our doorstep at the famous resort, ‘Bimini Big Game Club’. We dropped our kit and made use of the onsite bar, restaurant and extensive cocktail menu.

bahamas

The next morning we checked in with the dive centre to do our first dive of the holiday. There was no messing around; we headed straight for the sandy area where the Great Hammerheads hangout.

Due to poor visibility caused by some recent rain, unfortunately the dive was called off, so we made our way to a local reef for a chilled dive where the viz was much better. On returning to the jetty of our resort some of our group made use of the cage that hangs in the water. Here you can find about 10 bull sharks circling around waiting for a fish or two to be thrown in. Getting this close to these apex predators is totally exhilarating and not for the faint hearted, as even though you are in the safety of a metal cage, you do get the feeling that bull sharks would be a lot more interested in you if they could get past the bars!

bahamas

Undeterred, we tried our luck again the next day. Lo and behold, the Great Hammerheads appeared in all their giant glory, posing for our cameras like underwater supermodels.

bahamas

Slowly they came in to view – one, two, three and eventually seven GIANT Hammerheads.

bahamas

Some of the Hammerheads swam right in front of your nose, others skimmed your head and most of the time they danced around in front of you like a beaming model happy for everyone to fill their camera’s memory cards.

bahamas

Ninety or so minutes later we emerged with grins bigger than the sharks themselves, hoping our camera footage was as fabulous as the dive.

The next day we had another couple of great dives; a wreck called the S.S. Sapona made famous by the bootleggers during America’s prohibition era. The wreck is very shallow and the majority sits above the water but large schools of fish, lobsters and soft corals make this a very cool and relaxed dive!

Next was another shark dive, this time in the region of 50 Caribbean reef sharks that circled our boat waiting for the end of the dive. We hovered mid-water in the clear water hoping the next shark would get even closer then that last.

bahamas

Once all the divers were out of the water, fingers and toes intact, the crew thanked the sharks by throwing them a bucket of fish.

Having checked out some of the local rum shacks and the resort’s bar, we jumped back on the ferry to the South island to meet our little propeller plane to whisk us to Grand Bahama.

bahamas

Grand Bahama was made famous around the world a few years ago when a category five hurricane ripped through the island and tour large parts of it apart. Driving from the airport to our resort, Viva Grand Wyndham, you could still see some of the devastation.

On arriving at the dive centre located at the resort we were really disappointed to learn that the Tiger shark dives we had planned at Tiger Beach were closed due to poor visibility. Naturally the thought of diving with Tiger Sharks in poor visibility was not that appealing.

Not letting this disappointment get in the way, we managed to thoroughly enjoy our week here. We ended up doing some pristine reef dives and the Caribbean Reef shark feed was so fantastic we did it again!

bahamas

We did a few tours, one to a new rum distillery which was fascinating, especially when we got to the sampling room! Rum Runners bar in Freeport became a favourite among the rum cocktail connoisseurs.

Naturally we also made use of the outdoor pool, the mile long white sand beach, the various on-site restaurants and of course the all-inclusive bar.

bahamas

As well as reef, tiger and hammerhead sharks there are loads of other dives you can do in the Bahamas too. It has a huge underwater cave system second only to Mexico’s cenotes, oceanic white tips at Cat Island or even dolphins in Andros or lots of other wrecks.

To plan your diving holiday to the Bahamas please check out our similar holiday package that can be tailored to your requirements.

www.oysterdiving.com

Having worked as a Dive Instructor in the Virgin Islands, Thailand and Egypt, Mark returned to the UK in 2006 when he founded Oyster Diving. His principle aims for the new diving centre would be to appeal to the more discerning customer by offering the best facilities, having an integrated travel agency so customers can complete their dives abroad as well as in the UK. In 2010 Mark won Sport Diver magazines' 'Best Diving Instructor'. For more information on Oyster Diving, visit www.oysterdiving.com.

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The Ocean Cleanup to Complete 100th Extraction Live from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch

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the ocean cleanup
  • The Ocean Cleanup marks 100th extraction of plastic pollution from the Pacific Ocean by livestreaming entire cleaning operation from start to finish.
  • Occasion brings together supporters, partners, donors and followers as the project readies its cleanup technology for scale-up.
  • Founder and CEO Boyan Slat to provide insight on the plans ahead.

The Ocean Cleanup is set to reach a milestone of 100 plastic extractions from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

Extraction #100, scheduled for 28 or 29 May 2024, will be the first ever to be livestreamed direct from the Pacific Ocean, allowing supporters and partners around the world to see up close how the organization has removed over 385,000 kilograms (nearly 850,000 lbs) of plastic from the GPGP so far – more than double the bare weight of the Statue of Liberty.

the ocean cleanup

The mission of The Ocean Cleanup is to rid the oceans of plastic. To do this, the non-profit project employs a dual strategy: cleaning up legacy floating plastic in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (the world’s largest accumulation of floating plastic), while stopping the flow of plastic from the world’s most polluting rivers.

The Ocean Cleanup captured its first plastic (the first ‘extraction’) in the GPGP in 2019 with System 001, following years of trials and testing with a variety of concepts. Through System 002 and now the larger and more efficient System 03, the organization has consistently improved and optimized operations, and is now preparing to extract plastic trash from the GPGP for the 100th time.

the ocean cleanup

Extraction #100 will be an interactive broadcast showing the entire extraction procedure live and in detail, with insight provided by representatives from across The Ocean Cleanup and partners contributing to the operations.

This is an important milestone in a key year for The Ocean Cleanup.’ said Boyan Slat, Founder and CEO of The Ocean Cleanup. ‘We’ve come a long way since our first extraction in 2019. During the 2024 season, with System 03, we aim to demonstrate that we are ready to scale up, and with it, confine the Great Pacific Garbage Patch to the history books.

the ocean cleanup

The livestream will be hosted on The Ocean Cleanup’s YouTube channel and via X. Monitor @theoceancleanup for confirmed timings.

www.theoceancleanup.com

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Marine Life & Conservation Blogs

Book Review: Plankton

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Plankton: A Worldwide Guide by Tom Jackson and Jennifer Parker

This is a book that jumps off the shelf at you. The striking front cover demands that you pick it up and delve further, even if you may not have known you wanted to learn more about the most diminutive life in our ocean, plankton!

Small it might be. Much of the imagery in the book has been taken under huge magnification. Revealing stunning beauty and diversity in each scoop of “soup”. There is lots to learn. Initial chapters include interesting facts about the different vertical zones they inhabit, from sunlight to midnight (the darkest and deepest areas). I loved finding out more about the stunning show that divers oft encounter on night dives – bioluminescence.

The black water images are wonderful. So this is a book you can have as a coffee table book to dip in and our of. But, these tiny organisms are also vital to our very survival and that of all the marine life we love. They provide half the oxygen produced on our planet. They are also responsible for regulating the planets climate. And for a shark lover like me – they are food for charismatic sharks and rays like the Basking Shark and Manta Ray, along with a huge number of other species. This book contains great insight into their biology, life cycles, migration, and how the changes in currents and sea temperatures affects them.

This is a book that is both beautiful and packed with information about possibly the most important group of organisms on our planet. Anyone interested in the ocean should have it one their shelves.

What the publisher says:

Plankton are the unsung heroes of planet Earth. Passive drifters through the world’s seas, oceans, and freshwater environments, most are invisible or very small, but some are longer than a whale. They are the global ocean’s foundation food, supporting almost all oceanic life, and they are also vitally important for land-based plants, animals, and other organisms. Plankton provides an incomparable look at these remarkable creatures, opening a window on the elegance and grace of microscopic marine life.

This engaging book reveals the amazing diversity of plankton, how they belong to a wide range of living groups, and how their ecology, lifestyles, and adaptations have evolved to suit an enormous range of conditions. It looks at plankton life cycles, the different ways plankton feed and grow, and the vast range of strategies they use for reproduction. It tracks where, how, and why plankton drift through the water; shares perspectives on migrations and population explosions or “blooms” and why they happen; and discusses the life-sustaining role of plankton in numerous intertwined food webs throughout the world.

Beautifully illustrated, Plankton sheds critical light on how global warming, pollution, diminishing resources, and overexploitation will adversely impact planktonic life, and how these effects will reverberate to every corner of our planet.

About the Authors:

Tom Jackson is a science writer whose many popular books include Strange Animals and Genetics in MinutesJennifer Parker is a zoology and conservation writer and the author of several books. Andrew Hirst is a leading expert on plankton whose research has taken him around the world, from the Antarctic to Greenland and the Great Barrier Reef.

Book Details

Publisher: Princeton University Press

Hardcover

Price: £25

ISBN: 9780691255996

Published: 9th April, 2024

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