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The Bahamas is a real tourist magnet known for its white sandy beaches, balmy weather, and turquoise water, but there is one destination, in particular, that has attracted many watersport enthusiasts and conservationists in one of its islands called Bimini. Bimini is a haven for diverse aquatic animals especially lauded for its diverse shark population. It is also dubbed the ‘big game fishing capital.’ Located in the westernmost part of the Bahamas, about 50 miles east of Miami, Bimini can be an idyllic getaway to discover amazing marine wildlife. Bimini consists of the North Bimini, South Bimini, and East Bimini. The northern side of the island is more crowded compared to the south, which is more serene. Whether one is an adventure freak or simply prefers to encounter sharks in a controlled environment, we have it all covered.

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About Bimini’s Famed Sharks

Warm and clear waters that flow from the Gulf Stream up onto the Great Bahama Bank make Bimini an ideal spot for scuba diving, shark research, and big game fishing. Bimini is indeed a shark sanctuary, where one can find many conservationists and volunteers like Sharklab, an organization that protects and sensitizes the shark population in the region. There is a diverse shark fauna living in the semi-enclosed shallow flats, open banks on the east, and in the deep pelagic zone.

Of course, diving with sharks might send shivers down the spines, but the best way to remove that fear is by simply learning about marine animals. Getting up close and guided by experts in the domain can actually give someone an experience of a lifetime. Bimini has many species of sharks, including tiger sharks, nurse sharks, Caribbean reef sharks, Hammerhead sharks, and lemon sharks.

Tiger Sharks - Bimini

The tiger sharks might seem aggressive, but there are very few cases where these types of sharks have been reported attacking humans. The scientific name of the tiger shark is Galeocerdo cuvier. They have distinct features, such as mottled patterns seen among the juvenile population and stripped tiger-like patterns among adults. They have long and pointed caudal fins with reinforcing ridges. The tiger sharks are normally rare to spot by tourists, but they are occasionally encountered by scuba divers. These sharks swim around the shallows of Bimini. The big adults can reach over 10 feet in length, and they are usually found between 2 and 300 meters deep down the sea. Interestingly, those from Bimini are noticeably smaller than those found in other regions like Australia.

Nurse Sharks - Bimini

The nurse sharks, scientifically named Ginglimostoma cirratum are found practically in almost any water, including scuba diving sites, marinas, and mangrove areas. They are known to be very friendly compared to other shark species. This type of shark species has one of the toughest skin among many shark species. When they are babies, they tend to have large spots and stripes on their bodies but eventually fade away as they grow. They have a flattened body and a broad, rounded head with two conspicuous barbels between their nostrils, which are used to find food.

Related: Why The Shark Capital Of The World Is Still A Wonderful Destination

Caribbean Reef Sharks - Bimini

Scientifically named Carcharhinus perezi, the Caribbean reef sharks are also called ‘’the silent sea predator’’, which can grow up to 32 feet long and can weigh up to 154 lbs. The Caribbean reef sharks can be easily spotted, especially around the reef areas and diving spots. They are generally not disturbed by divers and are seemingly unbothered when swimming side by side. They have dark gray to gray-brown backs and white bellies. Their first dorsal fin starts over their pectoral fin free tip, and their fins are normally dusky-colored.

Hammerhead Sharks - Bimini

The impressive hammerhead sharks are scientifically called Sphyrnidae. They got their name due to the distinct shape of their heads, which are flattened and laterally extended into a ‘hammer’ shape called a cephalofoil. The hammerhead sharks are able to see at 360 degrees thanks to their wide set of eyes, which give them a better visual range than other shark species. They also have an increased ampullae sensitivity allowing them to easily detect their prey, such as fish, octopus, squid, and stingrays which bury themselves under the sand. They are very defensive if they are provoked or attacked.

Sharks For Non-Divers - Lemon Sharks in Bimini

The lemon sharks are generally not considered a threat to humans. This type of shark species is scientifically called Negaprion brevirostris and is unfortunately classified as a ‘Vulnerable species’ by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. They are easily recognized for their equally sized dorsal fins and their yellow-brown to olive color skin.

In Bimini, those who are not too confident swimming with sharks can consider visiting the Sharklab organization, which offers an encounter with the lemon and nurse sharks for non-swimmers and young kids. Visitors will be able to learn more about their research work and will have a great opportunity to pet these sharks.

How To Find Shark Tours In Bimini

Visitors will easily find a range of shark tours activity and adventures when visiting Bimini. For instance, Sharklab offers a more learning approach when it comes to shark tours. There are petting sessions, whereby volunteers and conservation experts will give ample information about shark species. Another way to encounter the sharks is by going out of the comfort zone, literally facing the sharks by opting for cage diving. This is one of the best ways to encounter sharks, and one does not need a diving certification.

Half-day or full-day shark cage diving adventures are plenty in Bimini. Shark safaris are normally departed from scuba diving centers such as the Neal Watson, and some head to the Bimini Big Game Club Resort and Marina located in Alice Town on the northern side of Bimini.

Highlights:

  • View an eclectic range of big sharks within just a minute from the shore
  • Safe and secured environment with experienced crews
  • Year-round sunshine and great tropical weather
  • Half-day charters available
  • Easy access from Florida

Viewing Season: April - December

Cost: $875 for cage divers / $375 for topside observers

Related: Meet The Shark Experts Behind SHARKFEST's 10th Anniversary

Shark Safety Tips- Bimini

Cage diving is rather safe. The shark-proof cages are designed to withstand shark bites or being rammed by sharks. These cages are built in order to protect the divers from potential injury. The cages have thick bars.

Participants are required to:

  • Hold onto the bars of the cage with at least one hand.
  • To avoid collision by remaining calm all the time during the session.
  • Not to extend any limbs or hands outside the cage.
  • To sign a Release of Liability and certify having good health.

Note: The minimum age requirement may apply for cage divers.