Cat Island may be just a 30-minute flight from Nassau but they are a world apart. The big draw for divers being the oceanic whitetip sharks that visit each spring
Words & Photographs by Tom St George
Cat Island is renowned by underwater photographers for the oceanic whitetips that visit each spring as they follow a tuna migration. It’s widely considered the best place in the world to get up close with these magnificent animals.
Each spring these generally solitary sharks will congregate offshore with the largest numbers found between April and May.
These inquisitive sharks delight in checking out divers and it is definitely an adrenaline rush when you get in the water and see them up close.
They are usually found in deep blue water, but with a bait box placed at about 10m, they are happy to stay close by at shallow depths. No feeding is required to keep them interested in hanging around all day.
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You can expect plenty of sharks and great photo opportunities as they are definitely not a shy species. Exhibiting absolutely no fear they will approach very closely, even to the point of giving you a little bump on the way past.
As exciting as that sounds this is not a display of aggression, but rather simply their way of checking you out.
We can thank the foresight of the Bahamian government for its establishment of marine reserves and it’s ban on shark fishing for allowing the recovery of this oceanic whitetip shark population.
Relatively untouched by tourism Cat Island is 48 miles long and only four miles across at the widest point. It is dotted with the ruins of plantains from the first settlers, who were loyalists fleeing the American revolution.
It is a very laid-back and relaxing destination to visit, and its pristine beaches give you the chance to relax after all the excitement shark diving. It also offers reef diving, snorkelling, kite-surfing and fishing
• Go to Dive Worldwide to book a trip to Cat Island