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Little Rock, AR

mantastrip1 mantastrip2 mantastrip3 Manta Ray - Flower Gardens, Gulf of Mexico 2000 dutchwestindies From Arkansas to the Dutch West Indies 2007 miscstrip1 Misc Strip 2 Misc strip 3 Misc strip 4 All images Copyright 2009 Michael Tierney


Swimming in liquid topaz

Dive Log 10:
Grand Bahama Island -- August, 2000
The Dolphin Experince
Shark Junction: Shark Feeding Frenzy
Jose's Wreck

Grand Bahama Island -- Early August, 2000


Less than a month after the Gulf's Flower Gardens, I'd returned to the Bahamas, and was back at the Port Lacaya Inn, who'd provided their showers for the night off from last year's Blackbeard's Cruise.

A group of us drove from Little Rock to Memphis, and caught a direct flight to Grand Bahama Island. The Port Lacaya Inn might have been one of the older hotels on the island, but it's rooms are spacious to the point of palacial, and it's situated right next to both the harbor and the town square. A short walk down the boardwalk was a dive shop.

From the dive shop (which had the head of a gigantic Great White Shark sticking out of the wall of their restaurant), we'd catch boats to our dive locations. Did three dives on Shark Junction, including one shark feeding frenzy, Arrow Point, Jose's Wreck, and took the Dolphin Experience.

GrandBahamaIsland2 GrandBahamaIsland6 GrandBahamaIsland4 GrandBahamaIsland3 GrandBahamaIsland5 GrandBahamaIsland7 GrandBahamaIsland8 Shark Dive 17 GrandBahamaIsland9 GrandBahamaIsland10 GrandBahamaIsland11

The Dolphin Experince -- August 5th

For our first dive, the boat first went up river and collected a couple of dolphins, and their handler, from the Dolphin Experience shelter.

Back at sea, they headed to a sandy bottom in the middle of nowhere, which was the only place that I didn't see multiple sharks during the entire trip.

The dive shop took videos of the diolphins interacting with all the divers. I have to admit, you revert to state of childhood when you play with dolphins.

Dolphin Experience 1 Dolphin Experience 2

Shark Junction: Shark Feeding Frenzy -- August 6th

For this dive, the divers from the shop wore chain mail and metal conduit around their hoses. They would need that extra protection, when one diver hand fed the sharks, while another filmed the event, and the others were assigned to guard the ends of the line of divers.

I was only wearing swim trunks and my normal gear, like everyone else. For me, it was a 47 foot dive with a bottom time of 64 minutes. As usual, I was one of the first in and last out.

Once we hit the bottom, the sharks began to gather. I never got an exact count of how many, not even after watching the video. My guess would be that there were at least 3 dozen reef sharks, a nurse shark, a stingray, 3 Giant Grouper, several Amberjack, and the usual swarm of Yellowtails.

The videographer took turns getting up close to each diver. While most were wide-eyed and hyperventilating, sending up massive clouds of bubbles, you could tell I was relaxed when I took my regulator out, and shouted a "Whoo-Hoo!" at the camera. One woman was so frightened with the close proximity of the sharks, that she bit through her regulator mouthpiece. Others started having equipment trouble, so the diver who was supposed to guard the end, where I was, had to leave to assist.

That left me alone at the end where all the sharks entered and exited. I quickly ran out of film as shark after shark came right at my head on their way out. My mask was bumped several times as I leaned to the right, leaned to the left, and leaned backwards as they passed within inches of my head. Dropped my camera between my legs when one shark thought about swimming between. Left it there the rest of the dive. I wished I still had film when one shark was turned upside down and put into a catatonic state, then passed down the line to give us each a chance to pet a shark.

Right before my dive, I'd purchased new equipment for my Sea & Sea Marine camera. The wide angle lens also required attaching a new viewfinder. For my first time using it, I think the pictures turned out fine. They were certainly better than my shark pictures from the year before, in these same waters.

Shark Dive 1 Shark Dive 2 Shark Dive 3 Shark Dive 4 Shark Dive 5 Shark Dive 6 Shark Dive 7 Shark Dive 8 Shark Dive 9 Shark Dive 10 Shark Dive 11 Shark Dive 12 Shark Dive 13 Shark Dive 14 Shark Dive 15 Shark Dive 16 Shark Dive 18 Shark Dive 19 Shark Dive 20 Shark Dive 21 Shark Dive 22 Shark Dive 23 Shark Dive 25 Shark Dive 24

Jose's Wreck -- August 7th

The last dive of the trip was 48 minutes to an overturned boat that lay in 84 feet of water. I took these shots while swimming beneath it, from stem to stern.

GrandBahamaIsland12 GrandBahamaIsland13 GrandBahamaIsland14 GrandBahamaIsland15 GrandBahamaIsland16 GrandBahamaIsland17

When I returned home, employee turnover at both stores immediately left me shorthanded. This, and work on Volume 3 of my Wild Stars comic book series, put me into a seven day a week work schedule. It would be nearly seven years before my next day off, or my next chance to take a vacation, unless you count promoting my Wild Stars comics at Mega-Con in 2002 and 2003. But, for both of those trips to Orlando, Florida, it was all business.

Dive Log 11:
Greater Antilles -- Dutch West Indies -- February 5, 2007
Saint Martins: 1st Dive
Saint Martins: 2nd Dive

Saint Martins 1st Dive 3

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