[dropcap]C[/dropcap]older water is common this month, air and water temps are routinely in the mid to high 70s. With the cooling of the air and water temperatures, larger species of sharks, like great hammerheads and bull sharks begin to migrate into the waters around the Biminis in greater numbers. These larger sharks continue to pass through these waters until the warming trends of April. As long as it is done by experienced and safety oriented organizations, dives and viewing encounters can be amazing, educational, and opinion changing experiences. The largest species of hammerhead shark, the great hammerhead, can reach lengths of 18-to-20 feet. Most of the hammerheads passing through Bimini range from 10-to-15 feet in length, have enormous dorsal fins, and swim with a grace and confidence only seen in apex predators.
With the cold water comes the inevitable use of wetsuits this month. Only the hardiest divers and swimmers can get by without at least a full 3mm suit. For guests with multiple days diving, or just thin blood like me, a 5mm is perfect. While uncomfortable to many people, a dive or neoprene hood can work wonders, an enormous amount of body heat is dissipated through the neck and head. Keeping warm between dives is a must, so plan on a jacket or dry towels.
The cooler temperatures also bring in traditionally amazing visibility in the winter. One-hundred feet of visibility is a usual and common day. January is also a month that larger black and Nassau grouper come up over the edge of the Continental Shelf wall to seek warmer and shallower waters. It is important to remember that Nassau grouper are spawning this time of year, and because of it season is closed for the iconic grouper. Wahoo are running up and down the edge of the walls, and can often be seen on safety stops during drift dives along the edge of the wall. All in all, January is an exciting and diverse month to explore the waters of Bimini.