Diving with Oceanic Whitetip Sharks is mind-blowing and get up close and personal with these majestic Apex predators is a humbling experience.
While the underwater world has loads of amazing things to offer to the thrill-seeker, few are as breathtaking as the sighting of a shark. While it is fairly common in certain areas to spot Blacktips, Whitetips and Grey Reef sharks, diving with Oceanic Whitetips will always be special.
To have a large Oceanic Whitetip shark swim up to you never loses its wow-factor, no matter how many times it might have happened before! Unfortunately, to most of us, it happens not often enough, and we have to make sure, we take every opportunity we can and watch these incredible creatures in their natural habitat.
There is a spot where you are guaranteed a close encounter with one of the most majestic species of shark, the Oceanic Whitetip. And while a dive with oceanic white tips in the Bahamas might not be on your bucket list yet, we explain why it definitely should be.
While the Bahamas are known for their subtropical climate, amazingly clear waters, pristine coral reefs, wrecks caverns and the world’s deepest blue hole, few realize that the most exciting dive that you can do is one that allows you to get into the water with the majestic Oceanic Whitetip shark.
When you are ready to take your next scuba trip to a new level of excitement, continue reading to learn more about where to dive with Oceanic Whitetip sharks while in the Bahamas, as well as how to do so safely, and what you should expect during your visit.
About Oceanic Whitetip Sharks in the Bahamas
Oceanic whitetip sharks are typically solitary creatures, although you may find them in groups when feeding. They are quite large, reaching an average of 3 meters in length. Females are typically bigger than males, and they average about 70 kg. So this is no pet shark, but a predator on top of the food chain and amazing to watch.
These sharks feed on a variety of marine species, including:
- Sea turtles
- Dolphin fish
- Squid, and even sea birds.
They are however omnivorous and have been known to eat garbage as well (another reason to avoid littering and polluting the oceans).
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When is the best time to dive with Oceanic Whitetip Sharks in the Bahamas?
The Whitetips of the Bahamas come back to their breeding grounds during spring. This means the best time to encounter these Apax predators is between March and June.
Where to Dive with Oceanic Whitetip Sharks in the Bahamas?
Cat Island, a lush island within the Bahamas that is beautiful both on land and beneath the surface, is the place to go if you want to get up-close and personal with oceanic whitetip sharks.
There are several different dive sites around Cat Island where you can get close to Oceanic Whitetip sharks. This is great because it means that even if conditions are less than perfect on one of the intended dive sites, it is possible to carry out your Oceanic Whitetip shark spotting dive at a different dive site.
Working with an experienced dive crew will not only ensure your safety but will also ensure that you can see these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat at the most opportune times, as these professionals know the area very well and will be able to quickly locate the sharks for you to enjoy.
What to Expect when Diving with Oceanic Whitetips?
First of all, let me reassure you that it is almost guaranteed to see Oceanic Whitetips during this dive, but remember, this is the wild and not a theme park. Although the oceanic whitetip sharks you will find in the waters surrounding Cat Island may seem intimidating and dangerous, they are actually quite docile and curious.
In fact, they have been known to interact with divers in an inquisitive, but gentle manner. Nevertheless, the adrenaline rush you get when one of these predators is making a beeline for you is incredible, and something you will never forget.
Also, be sure to take an underwater camera along to capture this once-in-a-lifetime experience. The sharks may get particularly close to you if you have a camera and a lot of gear because they are even more curious of the equipment and perhaps even intrigued by their ability to see their reflections in the lens and dome port.
Photo Credit: Philippe Guillaume
How to Stay Safe when Diving with Oceanic Whitetip Sharks?
Most of the dives that occur with Oceanic Whitetip sharks in the Bahamas take place in shallow waters that are safe for all levels of divers. Remember, however, that you are most likely floating in the blue at about 2-5 m deep, so you should know how to control your buoyancy, even when you get a bit overwhelmed by the events.
Your dive crew will more than likely advise you on how to stay safe while in the water with these sharks. The key is to remain calm at all times. You want to respect these formidable and powerful creatures, even though they are not out to harm you. So just hang in the water, nice and relaxed, and let them approach you with curiosity and friendliness.
Keep in mind that these sharks typically move at a slow pace and are usually calm, but let them come to you, no matter how badly you want that close-up picture. Chasing after them might scare them away!
So now you can clearly see, why this dive should be on your bucket list: big sharks, big emotions, an unforgettable dive!
What are your thoughts about scuba diving with Oceanic Whitetip sharks? Let us know in the comments below
Feel free to contact us. We have multiple partners that offer Oceanic Whitetips dive packages + accommodation.
Planning a scuba trip to dive with Oceanic Whitetip Sharks? Then you should Download the ultimate scuba trip checklist today just like 5.000+ other divers already did.
Article written by Rutger Thole who is an avid scuba diver and loves to travel, dive and write about scuba diving. Based in Amsterdam, he runs bookyourdive.com and at least twice a year he plans a dive trip of the beaten track.