Sharks up close 2008 - bimini shark trip

2-8 March 2008

Based at the famous Shark Lab on Bimini Island in the Bahamas, Sharks Up Close is seven days of full-on shark activity. We will be in the water with sharks every day and last year our encounters included Blacknose sharks, Lemon sharks, Nurse sharks, Tiger sharks, Carribean Reef sharks and Bull sharks as well as Southern Stingrays and Eagle rays. The weeks activity is led by the legendary shark scientist ‘Doc’ Gruber, assisted by fisheries scientist Dean Grubbs, with father and son conservation team John and Sune Nightingale there to teach underwater photography and video.

A Bull shark from the 2007 trip
The warm clear waters around Bimini have always been home to numerous shark species and the comparatively shallow water allows us to snorkel rather than dive, giving close encounters without the divers bubbles that tend to frighten away sharks like Hammerheads and Tigers. (This year we also plan to take a ‘cetacean break’ to swim with the pods of dolphins commonly found in that area.)

An Eagle ray flying from the 2007 trip

Much of the time is spent on boats and in the water but we will also have the chance to learn about different aspects of shark research and conservation, underwater video and photography techniques as well as the fascinating biology of the sharks themselves.

Dean Grubbs and Steve Kessel measure a Tiger shark.

The cost of the trip includes all accommodation, food and return flights to Bimini from Fort Lauderdale.

The Shark Lab is in a beautiful setting right on the waters edge and staying there is much like being on board a ship. Accommodation is clean and basic with four guests to a room. The kitchen turns out large quantities of really good food (swimming with sharks gives you an enormous appetite).

The trip is organised as a non-profit venture helping to support the research work of the Bimini Shark Lab and the conservation work of The Shark Trust (www.sharktrust.org)

By the end of this trip you will have had close encounters with lots of sharks, you will have learnt a huge amount about sharks and you should come away with some wonderful shark photos.

Numbers will be strictly limited to 14, with places allocated on a first come first served basis. It will require a 20% deposit to secure a place, with the balance payable one month before departure.

When we are there John and I are with you all the time and will help with video and photography questions/techniques - we also do a few informal talks about this.

Out in the field the SharkLab staff, the Doc, Dean Grubbs, John and myself come out with you in boats. The Doc and Dean don't always come out but they usually do (there's sometimes other things to take care of that need their attention).

So you'll often have 7 students per boat with at least 2 staff, usually a few more staff.
Back at the lab either the Doc, Dean, John or myself give talks.
John and I also started photo sessions in the mangroves last year and we'll definitely do this again - so that all the students plus John and me - but we spread right out and call each other if we see something cool.

The Doc - check out this video on my youtube account: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M5dcwtiRGUQ
Dean Grubbs - fisheries scientist - sits on the IUCN redlist panel - amazing knowledge of sharks (I don't know anyone with a better knowledge of their reproduction, classification etc) and a great guy too - at the end of his talks you should be able to classify just about any shark.
John (my dad) - a photo journalist & conservationist - trustee of the Sharktrust - writes a conservation column for DIVE - the UK dive mag. You can read some of the Bitebacks here but as you will see by the dates I'm lazy at putting them online.
Me - conservation filmmaker (not for profit) and underwater videographer - check out this Bimini conservation film: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XOptwatDWQ0

In addition there will be Steve Kessel - he's studying the shark population dynamics out there and knows a hell of a lot about sharks. Check out this vid of him on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NNdHan1N6x0
And Tristan - another UK phD student, plus probably 3 or 4 more staff - whilst we are doing 1 activity staff are usually out preparing the next activity and will often work through the night too.

You will usually get up around 8am and finish around 10/11pm so it's a really full-on schedule!
Staff usually have a quick morning and evening meeting to plan the activities - as the weather and conditions change daily we have to be flexible to plan the best possible activities schedule for you.
This is followed by a group meeting - there's a big bell outside to signal this.

Shark books:
My favourite is the Collins field guide "Sharks of the world"

Visit the main Bimini shark encounter 2007 page for galleries and info on the last trip.

Booking and further information

For more information and a Booking form for the trip simply contact us.