Clarity At Depth
The author takes the Tudor Pelagos underwater on a research project in the Bahamas, coming face to face with some of the most feared, misunderstood and magnificent marine creatures — sharks. By Jason Heaton
It had been a quiet day with no sharks in sight — unless you count the lazy nurse sharks begging for bait scraps in the marina. We’d spent languid hours between line checks bobbing in the shallows, trading stories and baking in the sun. The boat had no canopy and there was little breeze, so the only respite we could have was to splash over the side for a cooling snorkel. The batteries in the monitoring equipment only had a four-hour lifespan, so if we didn’t hook a shark by now, it would be time to head in for the day.
As we squinted through the surface reflections, someone called out, “Shark on the line!” We sprang into action, everyone with a job, readying the syringes, marking the tag number and manoeuvring the boat. I spat in my dive mask, made sure my air supply was on and sat on the gunwale in my fins, waiting for the go sign. “It’s a big one, a tiger.” I gave the bezel on my Tudor Pelagos a spin to mark zero time, grabbed the camera and backrolled over the side into the water.
If you want to study sharks, one of the best places to base your operations is the Bahamas. The necklace of 3,000 islands dangling just 50 miles east of Florida is known for its healthy population of apex predators, thanks to the forward-thinking conservation efforts of the country’s government and its warm, Gulf Stream-bathed waters that teem with life. Reef, coastal and pelagic sharks visit these islands often and have played starring roles from the James Bond franchise to YouTube videos It seemed a perfect place to tag along with a team of shark researchers and get up close with the misunderstood, feared and endangered fish, as well as to test out Tudor’s latest dive watch, the Pelagos.
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