Swimming With Sharks on Compass Cay

So, I know sharks play an important part in the oceans ecosystem, but I just am not a fan. Sorry sharks. Nothing personal, it’s just those teeth…

When we were offered a stop at Compass Cay to swim with the sharks during an excursion generously provided by Embrace Resort on Staniel Cay, I thought fine. I’ll just take photos of the experience while John happily interacts with them in the water. Photos, from the dock – or as far away as I needed to be out of tooth range. But then I did a little research on the type of shark that hangs out at Compass Cay. The Compass Cay sharks are nurse sharks and according to National Geographic, adults are commonly about 7.5-9.75 ft long (although they can get as big as 14 ft.) and weigh 200-330 lbs. NG goes on to say, “Nurse sharks are for the most part harmless to humans.”  Apparently they just don’t like to be provoked…(please tell me what ticks off nurse sharks!)

Compass Cay Shark - copyright Rum Therapy
Upon our arrival at the Compass Cay Marina, we quickly became aware of the sharks presence. There were several people already in the water with (gasp) sharks swimming all around them. No one was panicking and there were even smiles.

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Some were petting the sharks…

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I found myself getting more and more intrigued.

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Tucker, the man who owns Compass Cay Marina relayed the story of the sharks. When he first opened Compass Cay Marina, he brought in several nurse sharks. Over the years, the sharks had little sharks, have become accustomed to human
interaction and are now considered “pets”. There is a continual and abundant supply of fish scraps for the sharks as fish are cleaned at the end of one of the docks. At feeding time, a small hatchet is whacked on the cleaning board and the sharks come swimming in.

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Hmmm. To make a long story short, I not only got in, but I snorkeled with them, pet them and enjoyed every minute. We enjoyed it so much, that we rented a boat from Staniel Cay Rentals and came back several days later to do it again at high tide when they just float right up next to you on the dock.

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When we got back to our hotel, we looked through the pictures we got underwater while swimming.
Even more impressed that I got in.

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So, do I have a greater appreciation for sharks? Well, let’s just say I really did enjoy this adventure and would do it again. With nurse sharks. On Compass Cay. In a heartbeat.

Have you gone swimming with the sharks on Compass Cay? If not, would you? Tell us about it!

Find Compass Cay Marina on our Bahamas Map

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The Swimming Pigs of the Exuma Cays


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