Yes, the Bahamas is one of the world’s most dense shark hotspots housing various species of sharks. The waters off the Bahamas are said to invite over forty species of sharks and as a result, the archipelago is renowned as the shark capital of the world.
In particular, the Cat Island of the Bahamas hosts the largest aggregation of whitetip sharks in the world. Although this species is said to be extremely rare and endangered due to unsustainable fishing, they can mostly be found in the protected waters of this island only.
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Are Shark Attacks Common In The Bahamas?
Although shark attacks sound grave, they aren’t that frequent in the Bahamas, where sharks roam the waters as their own exclusive territory. Many do not know that sharks are – in fact – afraid of humans.
The Bahamas, in a 10-year-period from 2006 to 2016, saw only four shark attacks and only one of them was considered deadly. However, this changed in 2019 when two shark attacks were reported within weeks.
The latest deadly shark attack occurred on the 7th of September 2022 when a 58-year-old woman from Pennsylvania was killed while snorkelling in Green Cay near Nassau.
Provoked attacks are the most common, but there have been exceptions where a 21-year-old woman was attacked by tiger sharks while snorkelling off the coast of Rose Island.
What Type of Sharks Visit The Waters Of The Bahamas?
As mentioned earlier, there are over forty species of sharks visiting the Bahamas. These include Tiger Sharks, Great Hammerhead Sharks, Oceanic Whitetip Sharks, Bulls Sharks, Lemon Sharks, Caribbean Reef Sharks, Nurse Sharks, and more.
The most commonly found shark species is the Caribbean Reef Shark, spotted in large groups roaming around shallow waters. Divers are sure to come across these beautiful creatures and may even bump into them.
Swimming With Sharks In The Bahamas
Swimming with sharks is one of the most popular water activities in the Bahamas. Shark diving or swimming with sharks is very safe, while some would imagine ‘Jaws’ in reality.
It’s considered safe because the sharks have been acclimatised to visitors over the years with diving operators giving close attention to the animals, weather conditions and placing other protocols in place.
If you’re on the lookout for thrilling marine adventures, you can swim with nurse sharks at Compass Cay Marina in the Exuma district. It’s one of the top-rated destinations for swimming with sharks.
Nurse sharks are bottom-dwellers and are one of the most harmless shark species in the world. That being said it doesn’t eliminate the risk of shark attacks. They have sharp teeth and could potentially threaten divers – not fatally of course – but the experience is worth it.
As long as you swim in designated swimming areas with instructors, the chances of getting accidentally harmed, are almost zero.
Best Places To Go Shark Diving In The Bahamas
Now that we’ve established that there are different kinds of sharks in the beautiful Bahamian waters and that shark diving is super popular here, let us look at some of the best places you should visit to really get the full experience.
It’s a popular place amongst visitors to engage in shark diving. There are many dive sites available here. Here, you can meet a lot of Caribbean Reef Sharks, Silky Sharks and Nurse Sharks up close, maybe even witness a shark feeding. If you are super lucky, you might even spot a Tiger Shark or two. Night dives are also available here – it’s the time when the sharks are more active in the waters.
The best times to visit are February and April
It’s the island to visit if you are interested in going shark diving and witnessing the deeply threatened White Tip Shark. It’s in fact, one of the best places on earth to see this rare apex predator. But that’s not all. If you delve deeper into the blue, you can also meet some Blue Sharks, Dusky Sharks, Silky Sharks, and maybe even some Tiger Sharks and Great Hammerheads. It’ll be a dive unlike any you’ve experienced!
The best times to visit are March and June.
The Grand Bahama
Head to the 4th largest island under the Bahamas, to experience this shark dive adventure. Dive into the crystal-clear waters to encounter really big Tiger Sharks. This is one of the best places to get up close to Tiger Sharks. Apart from tiger Sharks, you can also spot several Lemon Sharks, Nurse Sharks, Caribbean Reef Sharks and if lucky – Great Hammerheads.
The best times to visit are October and May
Bimini – Victory Reef, Cathedral
The only place in the Bahamas to spot some of the magnificent Hammerhead Sharks with some certainty! These odd-shaped, yet alluring beauties of the ocean can look rather intimidating even from a distance, but it’s guaranteed to be an unforgettable experience.
Apart from the Hammerheads, you can witness your fair share of Lemon Sharks, Nurse sharks, Caribbean reef Sharks, and even Bull Sharks!
The best times to visit are January and April.
Here’s another great place for Shark dives as well as Shark feedings – but it’s hardly as popular as the above three Bahamian destinations. Here, you will mostly (maybe even only) get to see Nurse Sharks up close. They are quite literally harmless – unless very much provoked, it can be quite an experience to swim alongside these beauties. It’s more of a year-round island destination.
The best times to visit are October and May.
What Do Sharks Feast Upon?
Sharks are naturally carnivorous, which means their diets consist of flesh. Regular sharks consume fish, molluscs, crustaceans and even sea mammals like seals and possibly dolphins – larger species. However, when it comes to the native Nurse Sharks commonly found in the Bahamas, the typical diet includes snails, clams, stingrays and sea urchins.
Some scientists were able to find coral and seaweed that were also consumed by these Nurse Sharks, but this was ruled out by the fact that it was consumed in the process of eating the flesh.
Other Famous Water Sports In The Bahamas
One of the most famous water sports in the Bahamas is snorkelling. Apart from this, tourists – mostly students travelling during spring break – visit the Bahamas for jet skiing experiences, windsurfing, parasailing, scuba diving and more.
Another peculiar yet renowned water activity in the Bahamas is swimming with Pigs. Yes! Like sharks, you get to swim in the turquoise waters with pigs. Additionally, you can even set out on wreck explorations and even go fishing.