You can swim with just about every kind of animal in the Caribbean. Resorts offer aquatic experiences with dolphins, flamingoes, horses, pigs and more. A leisurely swim and some memorable snaps are definitely fun, but what if you could swim with the animals and help with valuable research at the same time?
At the Grand Isle Resort & Spa in Great Exuma, Bahamas, you can do exactly that. The four-star luxury resort teamed up with Beneath the Waves. a nonprofit dedicated to shark conservation, to give guests a truly wild research experience. Participants rode along with marine biologist Dr. Austin Gallagher and his team to tag sharks in the wild.
All it takes to reserve a spot on a shark-tagging excursion is a donation of $500. Donors can then join the team to observe and tag tiger sharks, hammerhead sharks, nurse sharks and reef sharks.
You can also rest assured that you’re making a difference with your donation. In fact, the Bahamas is a key region for shark research and marine preservation.
The first groups went out Feb. 20-23, 2019, and additional trips should be announced in the coming months.
Guests can be as involved in the shark-tagging excursion as they’d like. There are opportunities to help tag the sharks or just collect specimens.
Beneath The Waves’ Mission
The shark conservation nonprofit tags sharks in order to track their journeys for up to a year via satellite. This allows researchers to see when and where sharks enter actively fished waters in order to better protect them.
The organization has also begun studying the impact that shark sanctuaries, like the one in the Bahamas, has on shark populations.
If venturing out into the open ocean with sharks is a bit too wild for you, there are more tame activities closer to shore. The resort is located on Exuma, an island famous for its swimming pigs.
So, naturally, you can venture to this beach area and frolic in the waves with the pigs.
There are also excellent areas for birdwatching, plus opportunities to feed stingrays and wander with iguanas.
The resort also offers a “Feed the Stingrays” adventure. This includes a trip to nearby Stocking Island. There, while dining Chat ‘n’ Chill, you can share your meal with the stingrays.
They are truly gentle giants. Don’t be surprised if one glides right over your open hand!
No matter what activity you choose, a day at the beach has never been so thrilling or impactful as one on Exuma.