Picture yourself in full diving gear, 20 feet under in crystal clear blue water with 10 gigantic, gorgeous, hammerhead sharks swimming around you, coming closer than arm’s length. Never in your wildest dreams have you imagined you’d be so close to one of these amazing predators. They gracefully move around you, scanning the ocean floor, searching for prey. Maybe one of them even brushes you with their fins. Adrenaline is pumping, but you can’t keep your eyes off these mystifying creatures with their trademark unusually flat heads and keenly watchful eyes at the sides. You ease up a little knowing these majestic creatures have no intentions of harming you. A feeling of awe and respect comes over you as you try to capture this exhilarating, once in a lifetime experience. Before you know it, you’re in a hammerhead daze.
A Shark True To Its Name
Hammerhead sharks are one of nature’s most bizarre creatures with an unexplainable beauty that is both chilling and magnificent. They are found all over the world, in tropical and temperate waters. They migrate seasonally, moving towards the equator during the winter and towards the poles during the summer. Spanning up to 40 feet in length and weighing up to 1,000 pounds, the great hammerhead is the largest of the nine identified species of this shark. With its oddly flat, T-shaped head and wide-set eyes, these sharks look straight out of a science fiction movie. Their crazy-shaped head is a purposeful design – it’s a hunting tool to trap their favorite meal – sting rays. They use their heads to pin the wings of the ray to the sea floor so it can’t escape. Hammerheads also have many sensors along the surface of their head that release electrical charges to locate prey buried beneath the sand. Contrary to popular belief, hammerheads are not aggressive sharks and aren’t considered dangerous to humans. There have been very few attacks on record. It’s no wonder that divers and shark lovers alike flock to Bimini during hammerhead season to see these intriguing, elusive creatures.
Bimini’s Birth as Hammerhead Mecca
Only until recent years has Bimini emerged as one of the best places in the world to encounter one of the ocean’s most iconic animals. It all began in 2012 when the great hammerhead was officially listed as an endangered species by the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature) due to targeted fishing and the shark fin trade. It looked as though there would never be a reliable place to swim with these epic sharks. It was then when Bimini Shark Lab researchers, Grant Johnson and Katie Grudecki, began to actively study their behavior. Their goal was to determine whether these sharks were seasonal residents or transient wanderers of Bimini. They decided that the best way to identify individuals was to attract them with bait and then tag them while free diving. This initial tagging project showed that some hammerheads did indeed return to Bimini yearly. With this newly focused research in Bimini, commercialization followed, and a new hammerhead shark diving mecca was born.
Planning Your Great Hammerhead Adventure
To dive with these prehistoric beauties, visit Bimini in December through mid-April. Peak season is January through March. Water temperature around Bimini during this time of the season is between 76 – 82 degrees, so it’s recommended to wear a full 5mm wetsuit, gloves, and hood. Dive depths range from 20 – 35 feet.
Bimini is one of the few places in the entire world where you can dive with these uniquely beautiful sharks in the deep blue, providing an adventure you simply cannot miss.
Get in on the thrill of a lifetime here.