Field Notes: Swimming with Sharks in the Bahamas

Field Notes: Swimming with Sharks

SUP magazine videographer Morgan Hoesterey recently took a trip to explore the Bahamas where she and friend Liz Parkinson set out on an adventure below the surface. Parkinson is a shark diver and conservationist. So they used SUPs to reach a dive site near South Bimini and found themselves surrounded by the ocean’s most feared predators. Check back for Part 2 of Morgan’s mission in our Field Notes presented by Wavejet.

Click here for part two and here for more Field Notes.

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  • Ian Smith


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  • Ronald Bitting

    We used to dive with the sharks long before it became popular…Sharks are no more dangerous than any other treat them with respect…honor their habitat…and realize you are guests in their house..

  • JJ Helna

    Oh, I so need to do this. Right after I renew my life insurance policy….

  • Bloody Mary not

    Hi Ron. I’m curious, if you would qualify that statement about a shark being no more dangerous than any other animal? How about a hungry shark also at the top of the food chain having a bad day?

  • mr.faruk

    thank you ronald bitting ‘ you are 100 parcent right. but i think don”t try to be a guest in any house , when the residents of that house cant not understand what is the mean of guest. thanks.

  • Ronald Bitting

    Bloody I have said I have swam with all kinds of sharks..from Reef to Whale..and everything in between…the worse thing I ever got from a shark is a brush burn..when I put up my arm…and he brushed it..any animal that is hungry will look for food anyway it can…People that are attacked by sharks..are due to their own fault…I hope this has answered your question…

  • Ronald Bitting is a matter of respecting the animal and it’s environment..some think that they can just go into an animal’s home and make it their own..then the animal strikes back..Aretha Franklin said it best…R…E…S..P..E..C..T..!!

  • Very Mobile

    sorry, when an 8 year old boy standing in the water near Virginia Beach is bitten and bleeds to death….its not his fault. and frankly, you are lucky and your luck will run out eventually.

  • Ronald Bitting

    Very…I ask you this…Who was invading whose Territory??? is a shame when someone gets bit by a shark…especially when it is a child…it could have been just as easily a box jelly fish….

  • guest

    the shark innately views a little boy as an injured or weak bit of prey, so yeah, it is his fault technically. however, sharks only kill 7-10 people a year, humans kill one-hundred million sharks per year. so ultimately, sharks should be terrified of humans. you are more likely to get struck by lightning twice than killed by a shark.

  • Sniper

    Well for those that don’t dive. Ronald is correct. I’ve swam with many sharks and the only one that made me nervous. The Bull Shark, that’s the one that bites on the Gulf Coast. A 9 footer 2 feet from you will have you blowing bubbles. I more worried about getting bit by a Barracuda than a shark.

  • Dick

    RB is correct, when I was in the service I was stationed at Johnston Island
    in the Pacific, we used to dive with grey reef and other sharks, they would
    swim along with us and never bothered us

  • Dick

    forgot to add this was back in the late 50’s, 1959 .

  • bobbymcdangerous

    it’s a wild animal, eventually it will do the unexpected you idiots!

  • Clueless

    What is your definition of RESPECT to a shark. I don’t understand. Respect to a shark to me would be don’t swim in their space. You have to elaborate please. Would me standing in the shallow disrespecting a shark?

  • Lance

    Clueless…All animals as well as people have to be respected…when you enter an ocean…whether it be wading or swimming…you have to be aware that you are entering another’s home…if you go into a friends respect their rules…the same applies to animals…be it in the ocean..forest…jungle..or wherever…if you enter these realms…you have to expect that you might be attacked…

  • Jamie McCullough

    I’m a diver and I have to agree with Ron. So people get killed in many ways, so what should we do? Not drive cars, eat food that might give us cancer, but then we’d starve to death. Trust in God and live life! That’s how I view it.

  • Gables dude

    Sharks like other wild animals will not bother you until people start feeding them. As long as they continue to feed sharks in the Bahamas, sharks will be aggressive when they come across people in the water.

  • Bull Sharks For Life

    Agreed. Some of what people posted in here is ridiculous. I have been diving with sharks for quite a few years and it’s awesome, but a lot of the people posting stuff above in the comments are talking in cliches and platitudes.

    Someone said: “Sharks are no more dangerous than any other treat them with respect” – uh, yes they are. A bull shark is more dangerous than a hamster – to name one of innumerable animals.

    Someone else said you have a greater chance of being struck by lightening than being bit by a shark. Who made that calculation and how did they measure that? Is that unquantified statement based on a calculation that every person in the world is exposed to the sky and therefore exposed to lightening whereas a vast majority of the world do not live by an ocean where sharks live – which could affect such a calculation?

    Someone else said you have to live by their (sharks) rules. Man, I really hope the United League of Sharks publishes their rules and code of conduct for me to find because for the life of me a shark has never given me a written statement when I was underwater with them. Exactly what are the rules? What if I miss one? I’m not omniscient or godlike after all; I’m a flawed person that is capable of making a mistake or presuming I had the 8,000 statutes of the bull sharks’ code of conduct memorized.

    Then you totally hit the nail on the head. Sharks are a wild and unpredictable animal and some species of sharks have the means to inflict bodily harm. Unlike people, I am unable to speak with them or understand what they intend to do or not do a few seconds in the future. Every time I enter the water with a shark, I accept that and am at peace with the potential of injury.

  • Daejha Milan

    it depends on the species of shark. you can swim with say a bamboo shark n a large numbers of others but, i wouldn’t recommend swimming with a tiger, bull or great white.

  • Jack Anderson

    The ocean is a beautiful place. The ocean is their habitat. And we as humans have no right to kill them just because they bite us, if you want sharks to stop bitting you, better stop going there or go there protected. Why should you go to someones country and not be welcomed, then you take it into your own hands to kill them just like that? You see, this is the problem with some of you white people. You take what’s not given to you with force. And that’s very bad. . if sharks had the power like we do , I’m sure they will all come to earth and kill all humans because we will try to kill them first. Im sure we would start a war with aliens should we find them in space because its their habitat too and they will feel unsafe for themselves and their children.. Right? This behavior is what started slavery. Yes Slavery. But some of the best minds came up with Civilization.. Now you want to take the slavery to these beautiful but poor animals. You kill millions of sharks a year because you feel unwelcome in their own house? What are you crazy? Would you be happy should someone come to your house and kill you and your family just because they feel unwelcome? It’s totally rubbish. You protect yourself from AIDS when you have sex, why not do the same when you go diving? And stop killing them. Sharks eat other sharks and sea creatures for food. JUST LET THEM BE. Don’t threaten them and they will not threaten you.

  • Ocean’s Daughter

    Love the ocean in and around the Bahamas – clear, blue, warm – it’s just the best

  • chris

    when did a conversation about swimming with sharks suddenly become about territory invasion and related to human wars? Curious, if you visit sea world, a zoo, or other paid to see animals venue. If so, YOU are a supporter of the “slavery” you speak again.
    I agree we kill too many animals for sport or mass food quantities (ex. shark fin soup in Asia). BUT don’t mix analogies or topics that don’t belong together. You sound like an idiot and the truth of your message gets lost.

  • Amber Harbert

    I would like to comment on a couple things Jack…
    1. What is with the white people comment? Only white people harm others? There is all too many people that are quick to violence against others… It has nothing to do with race.
    2. A majority of sharks are killed off because of the value of their fins… Shark fin soup is a major contributing factor for the over fishing of sharks.
    3. What does slavery have to do with swimming with sharks and the fear of being bitten? Those concepts don’t even match.
    4. Protection against shark bites is far less important than educating yourself on them.

  • Shrugged

    Ron, the sample is biased because all the others with the opposite opinion were eaten and didn’t get to report their findings.

  • icdumbpeople

    Point blank, if you don’t want to run the risk of being robbed or mugged you stay out of those places where its more than likely to happen…..Right? Well if you don’t want to be attacked by animals stay out of there surroundings and guaranteed you’ll never have to worry about being attacked. Don’t try and destroy something that you have no business in the first place. Live and let live.

  • Samella28

    Wait a minute…………… how was she down there so long without an oxygen tank #bewildered #confused

  • de diver

    any body wanna swim with a bull shark? taunt swim with those and you will see that shark fold itself in half and take a bite of you quicker than you can pull your arm back ! It will be a shame see one of these beautiful women without an arm or leg !

  • Daniel

    That statistic is invalid as it compares everyone who walks the earth havening a chance to be struck by lighting were as a much smaller portion of the population interacts with sharks at all.

  • Daniel

    Very well put, I had the same exact opinion especially with the lighting statist. Only thing I would add is at the very end.
    “the potential of injury, loss of limbs, or death”

  • Daniel

    I love how you call him clueless… then complete ignore his entire question and only give more examples of why you should respect a shark. I believe his question is how do you respect a shark, but I guess not everyone can read. Ironic that “he” is the clueless one.

  • Daniel

    Freediving, check it out it out on youtube.

  • jent

    don’t touch the wildlife!!! this is such bad publicity for naive people who watch this and then think it’s ok to go and touch sharks! yes that one might have been a nurse shark and about as dangerous as an anemone fish, but i’m sure not many people will appreciate that. i’m disgusted to see promoting touching of any wildlife underwater, it just encourages people when snorkelling and they have no idea of the damage they are doing to reef and creatures – take only pictures – leave only bubbles. excellent saying from PADI and project aware.

  • Encourehonoree

    I wish that I can do that…………..good job

  • irksomenat

    Just because you went to place where divers feed sharks easy meals EVERY DAY doesn’t mean you should joyfully leap into the water whenever you see a shark. Any person who has encountered sharks in their normal environment on any regular basis will tell you that the one predictable thing about them is that they are unpredictable. Stuart Cove et al have made a good living with their “trained ” sharks ….as much as that is possible anyway .

  • LifeIsDiving

    It upsets me…..FIRST RULE OF DIVING…..DO NOT TOUCH…the oils from our skin are not good for the marine life and can harm sharks….ruined the whole video for me…stupid humans

  • LifeIsDiving

    Box Jelly Fish and Cows kill more humans a year then sharks…so do coconuts

  • adam smith

    There’s a difference in doing something that’s necessary that has some risk associated with it and doing something like swimming with and touching sharks that seems incredibly dumb to do. Look, if you were out in your back yard and a brown bear walked up to you, would you try to pet it? So why in the world would you grab onto a Hammerhead’s tail? If I were the shark I’d turn around and bite whatever grabbed me. And what if the sharks get just as curious and come up and start bumping the divers? It just doesn’t sound like a good idea. There are stories every day about people dying doing things the rest of us think are stupid. Like skydiving. Their excuses are always stuff like “You could die driving to work”. Yeah, you could, but it isn’t really likely and no one’s doing anything overtly dangerous driving to work. I mean maybe if the car had no seatbelts, no roof, no doors…..I mean would you ever use these excuses doing something like having sex with a stranger with no condoms? Of course not, but for some reason it’s okay when you see a shark. “Let’s pet the Great White!” That idiot crocodile hunter died living that way. And I’m not buying the excuse they died doing what they loved. You can’t tell me these people loved getting killed by sharks, alligators, bears, etc.

  • Nicola Tesla

    Sharks are mostly afraid of people. It’s spearfishing that attracts them.

  • jims4surf

    I have swam with many different types of sharks myself and speaking about that 8 year old child that was standing in water when a shark comes by and it sees two fleshy looking feet or a lower calf muscle . Only natural for a shark to be curious its a grazer looking for any opportunity to feed itself . They also like to do test bites on there subjects to check if its something they can eat. there looking for something edible right down to a license plate. They are scavengers of the sea they clean up dead things and stuff that may look like a meal including in shallow water. Not the sharks fault because its curious and wants to eat like anything else in the sea. People must be cautious very carful always when you are in another predator habitats. Accidents can and will happen when people go into warm tropical waters . The sea is not ours to live in. I hope this clears things up.

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  • Mark Edson

    How are the girls breathing underwater? Looks like they are not wearing any breathing devices and are fairly deep.

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