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Old 07-24-2010, 09:51 AM
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RickI RickI is offline
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Arrow Video & Photos - Nassau Shark Dive With Stuart Cove

It's not all about sharks but some memorable parts can be. Have plans to head over to Nassau on New Providence in the Bahamas? Why not consider a shark feed along with Stuart Cove Dive Center,

This is all leading up to a video of the shark feed but wanted to throw in some stills and background first!

Getting there can be half the fun. The way they've been blowing out low cost cruises it has been far less costly to sail over than to fly in recent times. Shown here is Action Jackson the Limbo King running us out to the Lost Blue Hole well off the island to the east. He is conning his flag festooned yellow runabout sporting torrents of male gametes charging along the hull. That is another story ... long over due too. Video and stills to follow.

With the cruise ships, make sure you will be in Nassau long enough to make the dive. This isn't possible with all the cruise lines, some of the NCL and Carnvel ships do stay long enough however. Also, book through the ship, it costs slightly more but they are responsible for getting you back on board regardless of what may happen. Stuart Cove will transport you by bus just outside the cruise ship terminal. The shark dives are for SCUBA divers only, bummer for scooter free divers and you're required to wear a full wetsuit. Shark denticles can rub off some skin when they slide past you. Suits can be rented of course and full gear rentals are available to Certified divers.

As great as low coast cruising can be you're limited to very little diving. There are a lot of great wrecks and wall spots around the island to checkout. So flying over and staying a while has a lot to recommend it. Stuart Cove runs to a ton of reefs and wrecks off the west end of the island daily.

Sharks have long captured fear and interest. Perhaps in part urged on by popular media. A classic engraving by Alphonse de Neuville of a diver from Jules Vernes "Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea" trying to stick a stylized shark. Don't get me wrong sharks do attack and occasionally kill people, particularly spearfishermen (hint) but then again, so do dogs and even soft drink machines. Life is dangerous by definition, prepare well, make careful choices and enjoy the many great experiences out there. This is just one.

These amazing creatures like so many others are under attack, finning in particular. Man harvests life for consumption, that is not likely to change anytime soon. What needs to change and now is to convert such activities into sustainable ones. With climate change and burgeoning harvesting, sustainable practices may be a moving target but one well worth pursuing.

Let's head out. Here is Stuart Cove's operation.

Making for the cut. The trip to the shark feeding round is a short one about ten minutes. It is on a sand area beside the wall dropping thousands of feet off into the Tongue of the Ocean. Visibility is often superlative!

The staff have been capable and friendly on the dives I've done with Stuart Cove. Particular kudos to Chang Sien Chin, Shark Feeder and Dive Leader. Chang not only graciously agreed to wear a GoPro HD video camera on his helmet, he captured some nice sequences too that appear in the video below. Great job Chang! The photographers and videographers with are first rate and provide digital stills and video often before you have to return to the ship. Or, you can always order them online after. As they shoot the feed all the time, their compositions are particularly fine.

The dive master gives a detailed talk on what to do and not do during the dives. Things like keeping your hands in and not waving (bait) in sharks faces, kneeling Captain Morgan style, or on your knees or on your stomach. The caution that if a shark knocks you over, not to pick yourself up but to wait until one of the mail armored staff can pick you up. Hasn't happened to me yet but there's always a first time. The first dive is a tour along the wall during which you will see a few sharks but not masses of them, yet. That comes on the second dive, after the bait box enters the water. Tiburons must be circling Hog Island angling for punters the rest of the time.

Let's get into it. Here's the only negative view you'll see on the experience. Although, sharks can and will bite under some circumstances. Though if you follow the rules it seems to go pretty well.

They do have nice eyes.

AJ Aranja Watson hooked me up with Stuart Cove and Action Jackson both. He runs a kiteboarding operation in Nassau, that is well worth checking out. He is also an accomplished artist with a fair amount of work in circulation.

A gang crowds in at the feed.

*** HERE is the promised video

and for a slightly different look, the same video on Facebook:

My friend "Smiley" the shark with the shark bitten, shark bitter. She seems to show up in a LOT of stills and video. Wonder what name Stuart Cove came up with for her?

The yellowtail looks worried?

As chaotic as things appear, the sharks are actually fairly restrained. I understand one nurse shark will give the feeder more fits than dozens of Caribbean Reef Sharks. The nurse has a tendency to get into the fish box and vacuum out all the fish heads. No fish heads, no feed, bye bye sharks. The feeder tails me he tries to stand on the nurse, not sure how he pulls that off with a larger specimen. They are real strong!

Looks like several of the sharks were Photoshopped in but they weren't.

Even Winslow Homer picked up on the shark mystique and wove it into an island version of a particularly bad day on the water. Just one more link in a long intriguing chain that forms substance of the Bahamas.

Let's work to keep these fascinating and important creatures around.

FKA, Inc.

transcribed by:
Rick Iossi

Last edited by RickI; 04-11-2012 at 12:51 PM.
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