Have you always wanted to check off “swimming with nurse sharks in Bahamas” from your bucket list?
Swimming with dozens of predators that could eat you for dinner in the Bahamas is an experience like no other. The excitement of immersing yourself in the Bahamas’ crystal clear water mixed with the anxiety of swimming with nurse sharks is an indescribable sensation. This is an experience that you should try at least once in your lifetime.
In this article, we will uncover all the tips and tricks you need to enjoy this exciting experience. From where the sharks are to how to approach them in the safest way possible, you will get all the information you need to make this trip happen. And as a bonus, we will add several hidden gems you can explore during your Bahamas vacation.
We have covered all the planning for you. All you have to do now is the booking part. Read on to find out more.
Swimming with Nurse Sharks Guide
Below, we will tell you all you need to know about swimming with nurse sharks in the Bahamas.
Where to go swimming with nurse sharks in the Bahamas
The swimming with nurse sharks excursion in the Bahamas can be found in an idyllic island known as Compass Cay. This island owns a rare protected harbor that locals call Compass Cay Marina, where up to 180 yachts of all sizes can dock. Compass Cay Marina is also where the prominent nurse sharks usually roam, so get ready for some shark-spotting once your boat is approaching this island.
Not limited to the swimming with nurse sharks experience, Compass Cay is also an ideal place to go beach-hopping, where you can uncover 13 pristine beaches, some with sandbanks that only appear during low tide. If you would like to spend a night here, the bungalows and villas that offer stunning views won’t disappoint you.
Compass Cay is located around 75 miles south of Nassau, the capital of the Bahamas. It’s a part of the more adventurous and untouched archipelago known as Exuma Cays. In Exuma Cays, you can not only swim with sharks but also with the adorable Exuma pigs. In addition, there are other exciting adventures such as visiting endangered Iguanas, diving into a hidden cave system, and many more. this is where some of your wildest fantasies come true.
How to Get to Compass Cay Exuma
Regardless of your departure point, it is relatively easy to get to Compass Cay Exuma, especially when you are traveling with Bahamas Air Tours by plane.
If you are traveling from Nassau, book a flight with Bahamas Air Tours and hop on a 20-minute short flight to Staniel Cay, the main airstrip in Exuma Cays. Flights from Florida to Staniel Cay usually take more time, around 3 hours and 15 minutes. But you won’t even notice how fast time passes during your flight as every passenger is entitled to a window seat and a bird’s-eye view of the Bahamas will entertain you along the way.
Upon arriving, you will be guided to Staniel Cay Yacht Club to take a ferry to Compass Cay. The boat ride takes around 10 minutes manoeuvring through pristine islands and islets of the Exumas. You need not worry about anything as all details have been sorted out by Bahamas Air Tours.
For this more convenient and flexible option, opt for Bahamas Air Tours charter flight where you can arrange your itinerary as you wish.
History of the Compass Cay Marina
Compass Cay Marina started as a humble seaport in the Exumas. At that time, you could find a plethora of marine creatures in Compass Cay Exuma but nurse sharks are not one of them.
The turning point occurred when the owner of the marina discovered a type of shark that is non-aggressive towards humans during one of his excursions in the cays. Impressed by these docile beasts, he brought them back to his marina and treated them as pets. The shark population grew over the years and it slowly turned Compass Cay Marina into a sanctuary for the nurse sharks.
These friendly pet sharks slowly attracted tourists when adventure-seekers around the world learned that they can swim with the sharks during their Exuma Day Trips. Slowly but surely, Compass Cay developed into an attraction that people can’t miss during their trip to Bahamas.
Interesting Facts about the Compass Cay sharks
It’s always a good idea to get to know the Compass Cay sharks better before embarking on the swimming with nurse sharks excursion. Here are some interesting facts about Compass Cay sharks:
- Compass Cay Sharks are known as “Ginglymostoma Cirratum” by their scientific name. In the Bahamas, these beautiful creatures are known as Reef or Nurse sharks.
- Nurse sharks can grow up to 10 feet in length and 300 pounds in weight at their peak. Normally, their lifespan won’t exceed 30 years.
- The locals often call this shark an oversized catfish due to its shape and non-aggressive nature.
- These Bahamas “giant catfish” are bottom-dwellers that spend most of their time on the seafloor sucking up sediment or critters.
- While hunting on the seabed, they often make a high-pitched noise that resembles the word “Hurse”. This could be one of the reasons why these sharks are known as nurse sharks.
- Cases of nurse shark attacks are extremely rare during the Bahamas swim with sharks excursion. Unless provoked or felt threatened, nurse sharks don’t put humans in any danger.
Etiquette for swimming with nurse sharks Bahamas
Nurse sharks are known for their friendliness towards tourists and locals. But this doesn’t mean they couldn’t cause some serious damage since they are equipped with strong jaws and sharp teeth.
Do not try to touch the sharks with your fingers or hands especially near the mouths of nurse sharks. Their natural instinct will cause them to bite everything around their mouth. Also, do not try to feed the sharks with any food, especially without supervision from the local guides.
Remember to follow all instructions given during your briefing session since all risks and dangers are at the expense of the travelers. Accidents and injuries often happen only when tourists disregard the given instruction.
Other ideas on your swimming with nurse sharks holiday
Swimming with nurse sharks Bahamas is not the only adventure you can find in Compass Cay, here are some great alternatives you can explore:
Compass Cay hiking
A hidden gem in Compass Cay that remained untouched even by the locals is the Rachel Bubble Bath. Here, you can disconnect yourself from the outside world and soak in a deep, crystal clear, natural lagoon while overlooking the picturesque views of Exuma Cays.
Tourists normally start at the marina where you can buy a laminated trail map. This is an important tool since all information you need to reach Rachel Bubble Bath can be found here.
Follow the boardwalk from the marina and head towards a dirt path that will take you up to a hill. From there, continue to follow the map and hike through the hills, beaches, ruins, and cliff coast – there will be trailmarkers at some points of your hike to make sure you are not lost. The ever-changing scenery will remind you that all the hard work is worth it.
Upon arrival, you will get to enjoy a natural jacuzzi in solitude. This place even has bubbles as the waves that crash over the rocks and into the lagoon will create white foams and bubbles.
Swimming with pigs
Your Bahamas Excursion won’t be as exciting without a stop at Pig Beach, Big Major Cay. This is where you can find dozens of cute Exuma pigs floating in the translucent water of the Bahamas.
Join the adorable creatures and drift your stress away in the crystal clear water. Hint: Some pictures for your Insta feed are an absolute must here.
Big Major Cay, also known as Pig Island, can be reached on your way to Compass Cay. Travel time is less than 10 minutes between these islands.
If Compass Cay and Staniel Cay are where you can enjoy the pristine nature, Staniel Cay is where you can soak up all of the interesting culture and laid-back vibes of the Exumas.
With only 100 residents inhabiting the island, you can slow down your pace and explore the small but lively village. Locals here are very friendly, so don’t shy away from introducing yourself. Alternatively, go shopping at the retail stores and supply stores, visit their churches, send a postcard to your loved ones from the post office – this quaint village has more to offer than you imagine.
Bahamas Swim with Sharks Vacation with Bahamas Air Tours
Why trouble yourself to arrange the swimming with nurse sharks excursion while Bahamas Air Tours can take care of everything for you.
Not only will you save a lot of time by flying and enjoy stunning views from above, but you will also get to explore hidden destinations unique to Bahamas Air Tours such as an underwater plane wreck owned by Pablo Escobar.
Bahamas Air Tours offers such great value you won’t find from other tour companies. So, contact us now for more information; the Compass Cay Sharks are waiting for you to join them.
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