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A Bahamas Shark Observation Experience, at Small Hope

Divers and snorkelers can enjoy a thrill of a lifetime while learning about some of the most misunderstood creatures in the ocean. This afternoon excursion allows us to view sharks up close, in their own habitat.

At Small Hope Bay Lodge, we believe in planned and responsible shark encounters that involve the least intrusive means of attracting sharks. This gives us an opportunity to learn many truths about sharks first-hand. Our philosophy is that knowledge dispels fear, and experience promotes wisdom. In running the shark encounter, our objectives are to raise awareness, evoke a sense of responsibility and to have fun!

Shark Observation Experience bahamas

Our shark encounter provides the sharks with a small amount of supplemental food on an irregular basis and therefore does not make the sharks dependent on us as a food source. As the boat approaches the site, we can see the sharks begin to gather. An average of a dozen Caribbean reef shark at a time show up for a frozen chum ball feed. The chum ball, composed of frozen fish parts, hangs suspended on a fixed line 30 feet below the surface.

Divers kneel off to the side on the sandy bottom at a depth of 50 feet. Other than providing them a free meal, to which they help themselves, we do not interfere with the sharks or harass them in any way.

The scene also attracts hundreds of crumb eaters - barracuda, grouper, snapper and more - who come to gobble up the leftovers. After the sharks swim away, the divers have an opportunity to look through the sand for fallen shark teeth. There is an extra fee for the shark observation experience, and a minimum number of divers is required.

Outside of the Shark Observation dive, we frequently see sharks on other dives and snorkels along our reef. The types of sharks we most often see here are Caribbean Reef sharks and Nurse sharks, though we are known to also see Black Tips, Lemon, and Silky sharks. Divers are always excited when they spot one of the lone Great Hammerheads on a dive. And very rarely (but they have been seen here) are the Whale Sharks.

Shark Facts

  • There is an estimated 200 to 250 living species of shark
  • They have a cartilage skeleton instead of bone
  • Some shark give birth my laying eggs, some give birth to live young, but few shark give birth to large broods
  • No sharks have been observed or captured in the Antarctic
  • Most sharks have 7 rows of teeth
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