Bimini Student Shark Encounter

Students and teachers meeting southern stingrays. PHOTO CREDIT: Jillian Morris-Brake.
Students and teachers meeting southern stingrays. PHOTO CREDIT: Jillian Morris-Brake.

Sharks4Kids, a Florida based nonprofit, teamed up with Neal Watson’s Bimini Scuba Center, now at Bimini Big Game Club, to take grade 11 students from Louise McDonald High School to explore the pristine waters and wildlife around Bimini.

People travel from all over the world to see the incredible wildlife, especially the sharks, Bimini is famous for, but it is really important for local students to have this opportunity as well.  Field trips offer them the chance to experience what makes their island so special and why these animals and habitats are worth protecting.

The crew headed to Honeymoon Harbor, famous for its friendly southern stingrays. On the trip south, a pod of bottlenose dolphins came to ride on the bow waves for a bit, giving students a chance to see them up close. Upon arrival at Honeymoon Harbor, a school of a dozen eagle rays cruised over the white sand bottom.

The students learned about the stingrays and how to safely interact with them before having a chance to swim with them. They were nervous at first, but nerves were quickly replaced with curiosity as they got the chance to touch the rays and even feed them some squid.

The next stop was Triangle Rocks, a site famous for Caribbean reef sharks. When the students were asked if they wanted the chance to snorkel with the sharks, almost every hand went up. After the safety briefing, students entered the water and watched the three reef sharks slowly cruising around the boat. After a few moments, students that had not wanted to get in the water were getting their snorkel gear on.

It was an incredible afternoon filled with tons of amazing marine life. Special thanks to Neal Watson Jr., Bimini Big Game Club, Bimini Scuba Center, Mr. Bonaby, Principal Rolle and Ms. Stuart for making such a successful adventure possible.  To learn more about Sharks4Kids and their programs check out www.sharks4kids.com.

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