Underwater Photographer, Cassie Jensen brings the SA Team to Bimini, Bahamas to swim with reef sharks, feed sting rays, and to find wild dolphins!
Their journey began bright and early in Miami on a warm July Morning. Any Floridian will tell you that A commute to Miami is a battle of it’s own. The Ferry from leaves at 8:00am, and they arrive in the Bahams at 12:00pm. The captain picks the team up from the Bimini Big Game Club soon after their arrival. Once the team boards the vessel, they make a run to a popular reef just outside of the sand. The team encountered about a dozen Reef Sharks. There was a big difference between the reef sharks we encountered in the Bahamas and the Pelagic Species we swam with. Pelagic sharks swim north in the Gulf Stream following the Mullet Migration. The reef sharks in the Bahamas were born and raised in those waters. They’re a bit more energetic because of their food source are also residents of the reef, and they don’t have to follow a migration in order to feed.
Around 2:00pm, the team decided that it was time to go feed some rays. Sting Rays live in shallow water in grassy areas where they can feed on scallops, snails, dead fish, conch, and just about anything else they can fit into their mouths. The team dives down to find shell fish to feed the rays during their dive. The team swims to an area where grass meets the sand where the stingrays know they’re about to be fed. There were nearly twenty of them all over Cassie and her group. The rays are always friendly enough to hand feed which makes them a great destination while in the Bahamas.
To finish off the day, the Team made their way over to the SS Sapona shipwreck. The Sapona was used as an oil ship during World War I, and was left barged in the sand of the Bahamas for the purpose of forming a ecosystem for fish traveling through the sand. It has also become a destination for exotic vacationers all over the world. The team jumps in to explore the remains of this historic vessel. Inside, the team finds rays, fish, and can witness the growth of the marine life just below the surface.
It was time to wind down for the day. So the group cruised over to the South end of the Island to retire to the lodge for the night. The team had to prepare for a morning of searching for wild dolphins, and a ferry that departed back to Florida at 1:00pm!
Before they knew it, it was morning. The team boarded their boat, to track down the wild dolphins! It was only half an hour before they noticed fins popping up out of the water. There were team members in the Tuna Tower, and on the main deck looking all over. Once they have confirmed sightings, everyone puts their fins and masks on and hops in the water. They encountered a large quantity of Atlantic Spotted and Bottle Nose Dolphins. It was incredible to hear them communicate with each other; it was also breath taking to see a mother and a calf interact with each other. However, nothing can compare to the site of a mother and calf interacting with humans. They rub their fins together, the way a human mother and child hold hands. The dolphins will swim right up to you; Spinning, spiraling, inviting us to play with them. It is almost as if they accept you into their pod! While we saw both Atlantic Spotted and Bottle Nose Dolphins, it was clear that the Spotted Dolphin were a bit more friendly. Not to say that the Bottle Nose Dolphins weren’t welcoming, but they do tend to be less playful.
The day was coming to an end, and the group had to make their way back to port in order to board their ferry and return to Florida. The trip was action packed, fun, educational, and overall an unforgettable experience. Perhaps we will return for a swim at the world famous Tiger Beach to witness the Great Tiger Shark Migration!