Damn the weather and the wrong sharks!
Notes from the road.
January 30, 2015- Day 5 of our second trip of the 2015 season. We are at Bimini Island, Bahamas, looking for great hammerheads. We got here yesterday. It was a great day of diving. We jumped in on our first dive (during low tide) and the vis was complete shit. We got the sharks — 5 hammerheads, which was awesome, but there was also a lot of bull sharks. So it made things a bit intense. The number of bull sharks has grown since last weeks trip out to the area. Last week we had maybe one or two that were hanging out in the distance. This week, we had 8 bulls sharks — all trying to build up the courage to come into the bait box. Thankfully they did not, not yet at least. But that is fast changing, as it was from one week to the next for us. It is to be expected, the day boats are out here everyday chumming. There was four dive boats (ours made 5) yesterday. Which means, the chum war is on. Today (our second day here) and we decided to stop our auto chumming, which sends out huge slicks. A necessity that works at Tiger Beach and the best way to bring in tigers, but here, it seems, just calls out the bulls. On day one, as soon as we anchored, we had 4 bulls hanging out underneath the boat. Normally that would be a great thing, but we are not here to attract bulls, or feed them, or see them. We want great hammerheads…one of the rarest (well, used to be rare) of the large predatory sharks.
Weather has played a toll on us this week. 20–25 knot winds kept us from visiting Tiger Beach and so we spent the first few days hanging out on the lee side of Grand Bahamas trying to chum in tigers or hammerheads, but all we were able to attract were reef sharks (not the sharks anyone wanted to see). Of course we would of been extremely happy to see bulls there. It is funny how it is, or has become. The expectation of what makes us happy on these shark dives. Hell, I remember how it was before Tiger Beach was born, back in December 2003, we spent the entire dive, stalking a lemon shark for photos. We were all fired up at the end of the dive, because lemons were not that common a species to encounter. But, that was before the creation of these magical dive sites — we would of been happy with whatever shark species decided to show up on our dive. But now, on these trips, we are not happy unless we get a 12 foot tiger in close, or see the beauty of that towering dorsal fin of a great hammerhead. But hey, that is why we are all here. We know the superstars are out there, we know where to go and what to do to get them in — and we are not happy until we see them.
(Back to today) This is our first dive of the day…We left the dive site last night to try and shake the bull sharks that spent all day with us, those dirty buggers. But as we dropped our anchor this morning, we were greeted by a bull. No escaping them this week. So, despite having no scent in the water the bulls are coming in. We sent in one bait box, and it only took 20 minutes to get our first great hammerhead in. Bimini is such a special place.
20 minutes after the dive begins, a second great hammerhead has shown up and then a third. By the end of our dive we had five great hammerheads, many of the regular players that I am becoming familiar with. There is Patches, Star, Cookie Monster, Spartacus (the only male I have seen here) and Bertha, (the biggest hammerhead in the area, of course, I still have not seen them all.) But the day has begun and an amazing day it is. The weather is beautiful, the first day this week where the winds are not howling. The sun is out and shining and the ocean is dead calm, with crystal clear visibility. These are the days we all dream about when we plan these adventures. Of course Mother Ocean always has her own ideas about what we will get, or what we will see. But all we can do is hope. Hope for good weather, hope for lots of sharks (the right sharks of course.), and hope for perfect glassy calm seas, just like today.
Ok, time to gear up for the next dive…I hope we will get six on this dive?