Most beach-goers hope to avoid shark encounters altogether. For adventurous nature-lovers, however, shark diving is practically a required bucket list experience. It’s one thing to see them from inside a cage; it’s quite another to experience a hands-on encounter with the opportunity to handle and tag them. Next month, one Bahamian resort in The Exumas will provide travelers the option to do just that.
The aptly named Shark Tagging Adventure at Grand Isle Resort and Spa promises travelers unprecedented, up-close access to the ocean’s greatest apex predator. Guests will board a research vessel alongside some of the world’s leading marine biologists, including Dr. Austin Gallagher. They’ll sail the Atlantic in search of hammerhead sharks, tiger sharks, nurse sharks, and reef sharks. Once found, the creatures will be tagged with satellite trackers to allow biologists to monitor their real-time movements. Guests can help take measurements and even small tissue samples.
The adventure is designed for guests to interact with the sharks as much or as little as they wish. Although, who’s booking a shark tagging adventure and doesn’t want to actually tag sharks?
While the initiative is designed to provide travelers with a unique experience, its primary goal is, of course, to do some good for the sharks. Beneath the Waves, the NGO behind the project, promotes healthier oceans in general and the advance of shark conservation in particular. The organization’s ongoing research helps to ensure the future of their populations throughout the Bahamas which is one of the world’s most critical and diverse areas for sharks. All of the $500-per-person donation fee for guests of the Shark Tagging Adventure goes towards supporting the initiative. If that price seems steep, you can rest a little easier knowing you’re doing some good for the environment (plus, there are free snacks on board!).
The first round of tagging excursions from Grand Isle Resort & Spa (just a one-hour flight from Miami) is scheduled for February 19-26, 2019. Space aboard each daily outing is limited to guarantee an exclusive, small-tour experience. Because of its unexpected popularity, however, the hotel already expects to add more dates in the coming months.