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The Sharks of Cat Island (Watch Video)

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It had been a long time in the making, but finally we were on our way to dive with the Oceanic Whitetip Sharks of Cat Island in The Bahamas. Thoughts of big sharks in clear blue warm water filled our heads as our small plane took off from Nassau to take us to Cat Island. The sharks only visit this island for a few months each year, with the best chances of seeing them in April or May, and only a handful of dive operators offer trips to see them. This year we got lucky and all the pieces of our trip fell into place – now all we needed was for the sharks to show up!

We stayed at Greenwood Beach Resort, a small 16 room hotel right on one of the most beautiful beaches you could wish for. The resort offers diving and kite-surfing, so if it is calm you can explore below the water and if it is windy you can try your hand at kite-surfing. We only had one full day on island, and so our focus was fully on our shark dive.

For this, Shark Explorers Bahamas were on hand to take us out first thing in the morning on a speed boat to start our search for these iconic sharks. We headed out to deeper water and they started to attract the sharks with chum. With only four divers on board and two members of staff, this was the sort of shark diving that dreams are made of – as long as the sharks turned up, and after two hours of sitting gently bobbing in the sunshine, we started to wonder.

Lili turned to us and said that if we did not get any luck in the next few minutes, they would move to another location that had been successful in the past. She said this was very unusual and that most days saw the shark arrive in minutes rather than hours. As she spoke to us, one of the divers calmly said “Isn’t that one just behind you?” and it turned out he was right in one respect, an Oceanic Whitetip was right by the prop, fin breaking the surface, but there was not one, but two in the water behind the boat.

We awoke from our rocking induced lull into a frenzy of action as we grabbed our diving and photography gear and headed to the back of the boat. The plan was to hang in around 5m of water and let the sharks swim around us until someone needed to change tanks. It was not long before all five divers were in the water and marvelling at the power and elegance of the sharks. Oceanic Whitetips are curious and so will come in very close to check you out. Soon we had 5-7 sharks around us, as we drifted gently towards land into shallower water and it was this, about an hour later, that forced us up onto the boat to restart the process in deep water again.

In addition to the Oceanic Whitetip Sharks, we also had Caribbean Reef Sharks and a tiny Sharpnose Shark – a species we had never seen before. Lady Luck was with us and we spent another long dive with the sharks before it was time to head back to shore.

We relaxed on the terrace as the sun went down and relived our dive, showing images and video clips. The next morning we grabbed the chance to have a quick snorkel on a local reef, to get a flavour of what else Cat Island has to offer, before, all to soon, it was time to pack up and head back to the airport and on to our next Bahamian adventure.

For more information please visit:

www.greenwoodbeachresort.biz

www.sharkexplorers.com/dives/bahamas-shark-diving

www.bahamas.com


Images & text by Frogfish Photography

Equipment used:

  • Olympus OMD EM-1 MKII
  • Nikon D800
  • Nauticam Housings
  • Inon Strobes
  • Paralenz Dive Camera

Nick and Caroline (Frogfish Photography) are a married couple of conservation driven underwater photo-journalists and authors. Both have honours degrees from Manchester University, in Environmental Biology and Biology respectively, with Nick being a Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society, a former high school science teacher with a DipEd in Teaching Studies. Caroline has an MSc in Animal Behaviour specializing in Caribbean Ecology. They are multiple award-winning photographers and along with 4 published books, feature regularly in the diving, wildlife and international press They are the Underwater Photography and Deputy Editors at Scubaverse and Dive Travel Adventures. Winners of the Caribbean Tourism Organization Photo-journalist of the Year for a feature on Shark Diving in The Bahamas, and they have been placed in every year they have entered. Nick and Caroline regularly use their free time to visit schools, both in the UK and on their travels, to discuss the important issues of marine conservation, sharks and plastic pollution. They are ambassadors for Sharks4Kids and founders of SeaStraw. They are Dive Ambassadors for The Islands of The Bahamas and are supported by Mares, Paralenz, Nauticam and Olympus. To find out more visit www.frogfishphotography.com

Marine Life & Conservation

Jeff chats to… Rowen Hemsley-Harding, third place winner of the See You at the Sea Festival Film Competition (Watch Video)

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In this exclusive Zoom interview, Jeff Goodman, Scubaverse Editor-at-large, chats to Rowen Hemsley-Harding, third place winner of the See You at the Sea Festival Film Competition. The See you at the Sea Festival was an online film festival created by young people, for young people.

Rowan’s film – Ocean Art and Facts – can be seen here:

Fourth in a series of six videos about the competition. Watch the first video HERE with Jenn Sandiford – Youth Engagement Officer with the Your Shore Beach Rangers Project and the Cornwall Wildlife Trust – to find out more about the Competition. Each day this week we will be sharing one video in which Jeff talks with the young contestants about their films and what inspired them.


For more information please visit:

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NUPG Lockdown Best of…

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Usually the January NUPG meeting involves a guest judge coming to Manchester to talk through the very best images members had taken in the previous 12 months. However, this year, due to COVID19 restriction many of the members had not had the chance to dive. The NUPG committee decided to change the rules a little. So this year members judged a series of Best of the Century images online and were also invited to take part in a lockdown underwater bath tub category.

There were five categories for members to enter. Here are the winners of each…

British and Irish Close Up

Octopus in St Abbs Marine Reserve by Mike Clark

British and Irish Wide Angle

A Basking Shark off the coast of Cornwall by Nick Robertson-Brown

Overseas Close Up

A squid at night in the Lembeh Strait in Indonesia by Ken Byrne

Overseas Wide Angle

Hammerhead Sharks in the Red Sea by Justin Beevor

Under Bath Water

Lockdown fun in the tub by Caroline Robertson-Brown

The next NUPG meeting will be held on Monday 8th February and the guest speaker is John Bantin.

For more information on the NUPG please visit their website by clicking here.

Header image: Lionfish hunting in the Red Sea by John Spencer

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Competitions

This is the perfect start to your 2021 diving season… and at an incredible lead-in price of just £885 per person.

Jump on board the latest addition to the Emperor fleet and enjoy diving the famous sites of the Red Sea with this fantastic special offer. This itinerary takes in the wonderful South & St Johns from 26 February – 05 March 2021.  

Subject to availability – limited flight seats at this price so don't delay!

Call Diverse Travel on 01473 852002 or email info@diversetravel.co.uk to book your spot!

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