The shark lounge at "Club Aeolus" was re-open for business yesterday for the divers on board my boat, the Midnight Express with Olympus Dive Center. Sand tiger sharks have been seen with regularity hanging out inside the wreck of the Aeolus for the better part of the season, but I will say that we saw more sharks at any one time on yesterdays dive. About a dozen or more bold sand tigers were cruising up and down the port companionway and round and round under the top deck where the ship was broken in two some years ago by a hurricane. These sharks did not frighten easily and made for a great encounter not to mention a very productive photo shoot.
Prior to this dive on the Aeolus, my group dived the wreck of the Spar only a few hundred feet away and might have encountered one or two sharks. It would seem that Spar, although still a great dive overall, is no longer the hippest hottest nightspot in town for the sharks. This trend of why they linger around one spot over another is little understood and with no doubt later this year or next the sharks will find another stomping ground to hang out at.
As a photographer, you could not have asked for a better situation to photograph these sharks. With visibility edging over 50 feet and the water blue in color, the lighting was optimal as was the back drop. Getting close was absolutely no problem since the sand tigers were bumping in to my dome port and swimming directly underneath my arm pit. Making an effort to not touch them proved difficult, but when inadvertent contact did occur the sharks did not startle.
Prior to yesterdays dive, the dive group from Northfield, NJ, American Divers Supply, headed up by Geoff Graham, finished out the there five day stretch on board the Midnight on Friday with only one bad weather day spent at the dock on Wednesday. Not a bad record by North Carolina standards, although batting a perfect 100 would have been preferred.
The last day of diving on Friday brought us back to the Atlas tanker and the Caribsea for one dive a piece. This was the first dive we had on the Atlas this season and with 30' viz on the bottom and twice that on top of the wreck, it made for a very 'sharky' encounter.
Unfortunately, I personally was unable to dive this day, but received reports that were very similar to my dive experience several weeks ago on the Caribsea. Sharks by the dozens are still hanging about in the mid water cruising into the current. Many of the divers were thoroughly entertained. As far as I could tell the entire group from American Divers had a blast and I must say it was a pleasure having them on board.
For you camera buffs out there, I can report that so far my experience with the new Nikon D800 has been a positive one. I just recently added the Nikkor, 16-35MM 4.0 lens to my gear list and am working out the bugs using this ultra wide angle lens. All of the shark images in this blog were shot with this lens. The zoom feature makes it easier to fill your frame up with shark without placing the dome port within 12 inches of these usually shy critters. A full review of the D800 with Sea & Sea MDX housing will be coming soon.
As for the rest of this week, the 'Midnight' does not have any trips until Friday and then will be busy through the weekend. With cooperative weather I will have some more images and stories next week.
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