Diving with Sharks

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by Amanda Gilbert
The adventure began when Capt. Robert Trosset, Pat Ford, and I stepped foot into a seaplane with a scheduled 30 minute flight from Miami, Florida to Bimini, Bahamas. Souring through the air, I looked down at the vast blue ocean and thought to myself, “this is incredible” and… “I hope I see whales!!” Although whales were out of the question, the pilot pointed out dozens of sting rays and lemon sharks swimming through the gin clear flats as we neared Bimini’s coastline. We buzzed over the Bimini Big Game Club (BBGC) and touched down on the main navigational channel in Bimini Bay.

The BBGC manager, Michael Weber, treated us to a short tour of the island- making sure to point out several of the local liquor stores. What’s island life without a Kalik or a Piña Colada in your hands? In fact, after we got settled in, Robert and I meandered around the property looking for coconuts. We struck at them like piñatas until one came loose and found its way into our possession. The bartender happily cracked it open, allowed me to sip the fresh coconut water, and then made delicious Piña Coladas for the bar guests. Although, part of our desires lied next to the crystal clear water on the sandy beaches with a cold one in-hand; our main goal was to descend beneath the water’s surface and swim arm’s length from huge carnivorous fish.

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The sharks were very familiar with the dive boats engine. Within minutes of making our descent, there were 3 then 4 then 10 sharks swimming around and between all of the divers. We saw reef sharks, nurse sharks, and bull sharks. Their mysterious eyes gazed into mine as they gracefully swam over the coral reef bottom. My first instinct was not “Oh a lovely shark, let me get close and touch it,” but after several minutes observing their docile behaviors I was less skeptical of their supposed man-eating intentions. Diving with sharks is a thrilling experience most should consider. In fact, the Great Hammerhead Sharks aggregate off the coast of Bimini every February. This phenomenon brings thousands of visitors from all over the world. Aside from the sharks, there were sea turtles, reef fish, and sting rays swimming around us too.

Now if diving with sharks does not tickle your fancy, permit fishing is an excellent alternative. Pat and I went out with Eagle Eyes Fred the following morning. We rode over to the salty flats in search of sting rays. This might sound like an odd expedition, but we were actually looking for permit trailing behind them. Once a permit was spotted I cast my crab to land on top of the sting ray. Without a moment to spare the permit crunched down on the crab. I gave my Tsunami rod a little tug ensuring a hooked fish, and then I started the game of tug-of-war.

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This was a destination that made for an unforgettable vacation. There was fishing, diving, snorkeling, kayaking, paddle boarding, boating, gambling, and so much more! I almost forgot to mention how delicious the food tasted! Combining the water activities with the tender juicy rack of ribs and mouthwatering conch fritters has me craving a return to Bimini already.

By: Amanda Gilbert
For travel information contact:
Tropic Ocean Airways: 800-767-0897
Bimini Big Game Club Resort and Marina: http://www.biggameclubbimini.com/

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