Living my best life: Shark diving at Stuarts Cove in Bahamas
I remember falling in love with sharks from the moment I was old enough to understand what they were. I would read books about them, watch shark documentaries and welcome any conversation in which they were the leading topic. They would prove to become my spirit animal and inspire me to learn to dive in order experience their grace and serenity underwater.
Any diver who shares my fascination with sharks knows of Stuart who founded Stuarts Cove Aqua Adventures in the Bahamas. Stuart is a legend in the dive world. As an avid shark conservationist with decades of diving experience under his belt, he has devoted much of his life to enabling others to experience the beauty that lies within the ocean. He founded Stuarts Cove in 1978, and specializes in underwater scuba adventures. Major film productions have been filmed here, with his involvement in both dive certifying the actors or acting as an underwater coordinator.
I went to see him for my own Shark adventure and was not disappointed. The morning I arrived for my shark dives, I was greeted with smiles and kindness by ALL of his staff members. The group was initially invited to get equipment needed and then assisted to get on the boat. I had the pleasure of having Dario and Deangelo as my boat captains. Both addressed the safety concerns of diving in their initial briefings with a serious tone and a sense of humour that had the boat laughing in no time. I have been shark diving a few times prior to this one, but those experiences were not nearly as professionally run. @Zacshoots took amazing photos and video which enabled me to just enjoy the moment and dive without worrying about capturing the moments. These shots are available to purchase after all shark dives.
I saw sharks on all 4 of my dives but the two last ones were the true shark adventures. When entering the water, you become a part of their world and witness their immense grace and agility under water. I find my mind reaches a state of true consciousness as they gently swim by me intrigued by my presence. The fear that Hollywood has associated with these majestic animals is ill founded and I hope by sharing the interview- I had the honour of conducting with Stuart -you will be intrigued to learn, protect and explore these beautiful creatures that enhance my life and the life of so many others.
Interview with Stuart Cove
When did you fall in love with diving?
My uncle had the first dive shop in the Bahamas and my Father was an active diver. They thought me to dive when I was six years old. I would work as a gopher on the dive boat in the summers and dive at every opportunity. As a teenager I would teach and take friends diving.
My Mother made me get certified when I wanted to go diving at night.
What inspired you to open your own dive shop?
Diving was my life and I was lucky enough to be hired as a diver on the James Bond Movie, “For Your Eyes Only”, in 1979, where I made a packet of money and established myself as a all around underwater movie diver.
At that time I purchase the dive gear from the film company and bought a boat and bus and was off and running.
I catered to experienced divers only.
What has been your most memorable diving experience?
My most memorable dive was at the Autec Bouy in 1985.
The Atlantic Underwater and Evaluation Center is a submarine base located on Andros Island. It was anchored in 6000 feet of water creating a ecosystem for pelagic fish and sharks. We would tie the boat to it and dive in the inky purple water to interact with the Silky sharks. On this one dive a huge Great White Shark swam in amongst us and disappeared as quickly as it appeared.
Where in the world would you love to dive other than Bahamas?
The Bahamas has the just about the of best everything to offer divers, from walls, reefs, caves and large marine life.
So I really wanted to do something different and went ice burg diving in Greenland.
What do you hope divers will feel when experiencing diving with the Stuarts Cove team?
I want divers to feel an emotional attachment to the underwater world of the Bahamas, learn to appreciate and respect the delicate environment so they can use that experience and knowledge in there everyday lives.
What course would you recommend for first time divers?
I would recommend all first timers to visit their local dive shop and get certified. It will open up a whole new world for them.
You are known as a shark conservationist, what message would you like to share with our readers about sharks?
Sharks are to be protected not feared. Save the sharks, save the seas.
Without sharks our oceans will die.