HammerheadPhotographed by Aleks Bartnicka at Dog Rocks Wall in the Exuma Cays.
I was looking into the blue, filming a couple of Caribbean reef sharks. I turned back toward the wall and my heart skipped a beat. A great hammerhead shark emerged out of the deep below me. I didn’t want to spook it, so I slowly turned my camera towards it and started swimming. Hammerheads are very shy and I expected it to dart into the blue water, but instead it made its way in my direction. I was surprised to see it get closer and closer, curious of my presence in its domain. I double-checked that the camera was recording. The hammerhead turned its head side to side eying me, trying to figure out what am I doing there. Finally, it got about two feet away and filled the frame. I realized I was holding my breath and let out the bubbles. I already had the shot so I wasn’t risking scaring it away. It wasn’t bothered though and it continued to glide past me. I swam by its side for what seemed like ages, before it took a turn into the blue and disappeared.
There I was, on Dog Rocks Wall, at the northern end of the Exuma Cays chain, enjoying another beautiful day of diving. The water was warm, the sun rays were shining through the surface and life was grand with excitement of the encounter. Little did I know, it was not over. As I started making my way to the boat, my heart still pounding, an eagle ray turned the corner and posed for the video. I spent some time following it along the sponge covered wall. The reef was cut with swim-throughs, wire coral creating curtains at the entrances. Sea fans were lining the edges of the drop off. A turtle passed by while I was swimming with the ray. To watch the video, click here.
When you think about the Bahamas, divers often only know about the shark-feeding dives offered by chain-mail-clad divemasters or dolphin encounters in shallow water. Have you imagined gliding next to eagle rays, close encounters with great hammerheads or making your way through a silverside-filled canyon? Take a closer look, and you’ll discover there’s much more to diving in these islands.
Although the season to see a hammerhead runs from February to April (also a good chance of stumbling upon a loggerhead turtle) and eagle rays prefer the warmer waters in June through September (when you can swim through schools of silversides), every day can bring a surprise encounter — every dive has something amazing to offer. This is the rim of Exuma Sound, the Bahamas unknown diving gem.
Easy to get to, with multiple daily flights to Nassau from airports along the U.S. East Coast, it’s a perfect getaway for a week of diving!
For the ultimate live-aboard experience in the area, visit Aqua Cat Cruises.