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Photographing Caribbean Reef Sharks in Nassau, New Providence, Bahamas

Nick and Caroline Robertson-Brown

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On our second piece about photographing sharks in the Bahamas, we head to New Providence Island, to dive out of Nassau with Stuart Cove. This dive centre is probably the most famous in the Bahamas, and perhaps even the whole Caribbean. Stuart originally opened the centre in 1978 and it has grown into a really impressive operation. Whilst it is a large dive centre, with lots going on, it does not feel like it when you arrive. The staff are all friendly and professional and so you feel comfortable and at home right away. We were greeted by Stuart himself, before grabbing our gear and jumping onto a boat to go and dive with Caribbean Reef Sharks.

There are a number of different types of shark diving here. You can photograph them on the reef, cruising over colourful corals in shallow water. You can photograph them on and around wrecks, which have been sunk deliberately to create new habitats for the marine life and a playground for divers and underwater photographers alike. You can also dive with a shark wrangler on a shark feeding dive, who will feed small pieces of fish to the sharks via a long metal stick. We tried all three and each offers different photographic opportunities.

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The reef dive is great for those who want to try this for the first time, and want a more chilled out experience. A metal box with a few fish heads inside is placed on the seabed, away from any delicate coral. The sharks are attracted in by the smell and will cruise around the area. You can then find the most photogenic area, where you want to photograph a shark, and wait. We had around 10 sharks on this dive for a full 80 minutes. We photographed divers with each other alongside the sharks, the sharks out in the blue, as the reef dropped away from the shallows, and also by some beautiful sea fans to show them in their natural environment.

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els_dsc9204However, our favourite dive was the wreck dive. Once again, a bait box was taken down by the guide, but this time it was hidden deep inside a small wreck called Big Crab. Again the sharks were attracted in by the smell, and this resulted in a dozen or so reef sharks circling the artificial reef. It made for some wonderful photography. The wreck is in shallow water (less then 10m I think) and the water was warm, blue and clear. We could have stayed there all day! You could shoot from inside the wheelhouse of the wreck looking out through the windows and catching a shark as it cruised past, or you could shoot from outside the wreck to catch the full dramatic effect.

Our final dive was the shark feeding dive. This is an adrenalin rush of a dive, as the sharks are moving more quickly and come very close as they position themselves in the hope of getting a fishy snack from the feeder. The “wrangler” will wear chainmail for this dive for protection from accidental nips from overexcited sharks. A piece of fish is taken out of the bait box, one at a time, on the end of a metal stick, and raised up into the water column for a shark to grab. Whilst I preferred the wreck dive, this is a fantastic dive to get great shots with sharks and divers together in the water.

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All too soon, it was time for us to move on to the next island for some more shark diving. Next time we visit Grand Bahama to look for tiger sharks and to spend a hard-earned day off playing with stingrays.

Further Information

www.stuartcove.com

www.bahamas.co.uk

For more from Nick and Caroline, visit www.frogfishphotography.com.

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 they are supported by Mares, Paralenz, Nauticam and Olympus. To find out more visit www.frogfishphotography.com

Blogs

Curaçao Dive Site of the Month – Smokeys (Watch Video)

Bryan Horne

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New Video Release: Smokeys near Eastpoint Curaçao.

Learn about https://bit.ly/Smokeys-Dive-Site-Curacao – a Top 10 Dive Site in Curacao located near Eastpoint and arguably one of the best dive sites in the Caribbean. 

It rivals the finest dive sites in Belize, Bonaire and the Cayman Islands.

Video produced and edited for Dive Curacao, by NaturePicsFilms.

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Top 5 things to do above water on a diving trip to Barbados

Nick and Caroline Robertson-Brown

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Whilst you will want to spend as much time underwater as possible on any diving trip to Barbados, with its amazing wrecks, reefs and marine life… you will have to spend some time on dry land! So here are our top tips on what to do topside on this stunning Caribbean paradise.

1) Go Caving!

Babados offers the perfect instagram cave experiences. Two stand out from the crowd: Harrison’s Cave and Animal Flower Cave.

Harrison’s Cave offers a guided tours on a tram to allow you to safely explore these incredible underground caverns. Located in the central uplands of the island, this crystallized, limestone cave is characterized by flowing streams, deep pools of crystal clear water and towering columns.

Animal Flower Cave is named after the anemone’s that can be found in the rock pools that sit within the cavern. This is a perfect spot for a photo or two, with the wild coastline visible through the cavern windows that have been carved out by wave action.

Both these tours are great options for your non-diving day before you fly home.

2) Take in a show

I have to admit that we do not usually get excited about an evening show put on for tourists. But just a few minutes into the show at Harbour Lights and we were dancing along with locals and tourists alike. The show is great fun and is full of talented performers. The buffet dinner included with the event is perfect too, with something for everyone. They had to throw us out!

3) Head to the Beach

Barbados is packed with incredible beaches. Some are setup with entertainment, resturants and bars, others are completely deserted. So it is up to you to find your perfect one. Whether you love to surf, want to relax in the sun, or get into the party spirit – there is a beach for you waiting to be discovered.

4) Learn to cook Bajan Style

If you love your food, and are a whizz in the kitchen, then why not spend an evening with a local chef to show you how to cook some of your favourite Bajan dishes. Award winning Chef Creig Greenidge joined us in our hotel to pass on some of his secrets. An amazing evening saw us chatting about our love of Caribbean cuisine, he guided us through a three course meal, even stopping to help us work out what we could replace hard to find ingredients in the UK with. The food was incredible, but it was also a wonderful experience. Great food and wine too!

5) Rum and Food Pairing Dinner

Barbados is the home of rum. This was a perfect way to round off our trip. Set in the Rum Vault at the Colony Club Hotel, we were treated to a private 5 course meal, each course paired with a rum cocktail. Finished with some fine sipping rums and delicious chocolates. Heaven!

Of course there is so much more than these 5 we have picked. So here are a few more things you should try out: Horses on the beach on Sunday mornings; Friday night is party night at the Fish Fry; Eat out! There are too many amazing restaurants to name here. Have a Mango Chow cocktail. Do a rum distillery tour at Mount Gay or St Nicholas Abbey or try our a local craft beer. Most of all – get out and explore. Barbados has so much to offer.

Next up… we will be back underwater exploring one of our favourite diving areas – Carlisle Bay.

For more information about Barbados click here.

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