Breathe, squeal, repeat | by Rose Boardman

One thing that I don’t often look forward to is hearing my alarm go off in the morning, but when that alarm is waking you up for a shark dive, it truly is the sweetest sound…

Back in 2016, I undertook a placement year in the Bahamas at the Bimini Sharklab so interacting with sharks was a pretty standard day at the office! There is nothing more exhilarating than getting to share the water with these fascinating creatures and as we headed out to find them, there was an extra element of excitement in the air. On this particular day, we were going to find the great hammerheads of Bimini.

Boat prepped, we headed out to find them. Feeling the waves crashing against the boat, smelling the saltiness of the air, we knew that something great was going to happen.

Perched on the side of the boat a rush of emotions hit me ranging from excitement, nervousness and a slight hint of seasickness. When the Captain gave us the all clear to enter the water, the adrenaline kicked in and the nerves dissolved into the clear blue Bahamian waters.

Floating on the surface of the ocean, counting one, two, three, I took in some air and wondered who might join us. Nurse sharks came and went but still no hammerheads. With my fingers (and flippers) crossed, I patiently gazed out into the depths of the ocean.

It was then that I heard it.

Click, click, click.

I turned to my right and there she was. Looking right at me was a mother dolphin and her calf. We shared this beautiful moment almost playing a stare off with one another. She darted and flipped towards me like she was putting on a show. Her performance came to an abrupt halt as a dark shadow from the depths slowly appeared. This was because the real stars of the show had arrived.

They emerged from the darkness, slowly, confidently and within seconds, four great hammerheads had graced us with their presence. The largest of the four was probably around 3.8 meters long. All sharks are awesome but there is truly something mesmerising about hammerheads. Their unmistakable appearance and sheer magnitude is so powerful.

Breathe, squeal, repeat was the sequence of events for the next 30 minutes. I could barely contain my excitement! They were so curious gliding alongside us, at no point did I feel threatened by their behaviour, I was hypnotised by their rhythmic perpetual power and grace.

Four soon became two, and as I watched the last one gracefully fade into the big blue. I remember thinking to myself how amazingly privileged I was to be in their presence and could not believe the events that had taken place.

The encounters I experienced that day will forever stay in my memory.

Those are the moments that remind me why I have such a deep and on-going love of the ocean. The raw unpredictability of our natural world makes every day feel like an adventure, and you never know what awesome encounter is waiting for you!

As the sun set, casting a blazing red glow across the evening sky and a promise of another glorious day to come, we made our way back to the lab, still buzzing and in awe of our hammerhead encounter, a perfect end to at totally FINTASTIC day!

About the Entry

Rose Boardman

My name is Rose Boardman. I’m an Ocean Scientist and avid shark lover. My fascination with the ocean definitely started at a young age. Growing up just a stone’s throw away from the Jurassic coastline in Dorset. I have spent many days exploring the underwater world. My interests lie in fisheries ecology and species behaviour particularly life history traits and distribution patterns.

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  • Why should someone visit your site? Oceandreaming was created a platform for sharing my thoughts, experiences, and passion for our oceans. From my top eco-friendly tips to facts about animals that glow in the darkness of the deep. I hope that my blog makes you love the ocean as much as I do.
  • Entry TitleBreathe, squeal, repeat
  • Entry Number | 87

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