Web photos by David Benz
Underwater images copyright 2000, Michael Lawrence

Michael Lawrence's life has been a twisting, turning path of wildly divergent careers. He was "a musician for more than 25 years, playing jazz guitar, doing studio and orchestral work, stage shows, arranging and conducting and doing anything else I could to turn jazz pennies into real dollars."

In 1980, Michael did a gig on a cruise ship. Soon after, he learned to dive. "I knew as soon as I stuck my face in the water that it would change my life," he says. Now the camera is his instrument and dive travelers are his audience. He started writing for Skin Diver in 1990 and to date has written more than 150 articles for the magazine.

Michael is also the author of Lonely Planet Diving and Snorkeling Guide to Dominica and is currently working on a new Dive Guide to the Bahamas.

  • February 3, 2000...Day 3

    Michael and David prepare for the dive at Shark Junction.
    Sharks, sharks everywhere and not a bite to eat!

    David dons his chainmail sleeves.
    The Bahamas probably has a greater variety of high quality, safe shark dives than any destination in the world. Found on at least five islands, shark diving has become an integral part of the Bahamas dive experience.

    There are multiple approaches to the shark feeds; each one is different and each one rocks! I've done them all multiple times and each time is a thrill ride. Today was no different.

    Ollie Ferguson and Jason Carey
    Once again, we were diving with UNEXSO, but this time at a site called Shark Junction. The backdrop is a decommissioned recompression chamber on a white sand bottom with scattered coral heads. The sharks know the drill and gather at the sound of the approaching boat. We dropped into the water, lined up with our backs to the chamber and the show began.

    Sharks engulf the feeder.
    The feed developed a rhythm; the sharks circling the feeder as he selectively hand fed them. I moved around, shooting wide from above, and then came within three to four feet from the action. The scenario changed as Jason Carey, today's feeder, began stroking the sharks. The receptive ones accepted the action as if they were cats, dropping into entranced states.

    David strokes the head of an entranced shark.
    As one shark dropped deeper into this hypnotic mode, Jason picked it up, one hand on its dorsal fin and the other on its nose. He then walked it over to the group, allowing each diver to stroke the shark's side. That's when it started getting weird. He slowly upended the shark until it was balanced with its nose in his hands and its tail pointing

    Ollie holds a sleeping shark.
    toward the surface. He slid his hands to the sides of the shark's head and slowly lifted it above his head like an offering. Then came the good part. Jason took his regulator out of his mouth and replaced it with the shark's nose, balancing a seven-foot shark in his mouth. Honest to God, I am not kidding-it was a case of man bites shark!

    "Staff Skiing" is a favorite post-dive pastime.
    I'm certain he is the only person in the world to accomplish this feat, and we were there to see it. When I asked him how long he had been doing this, he thought for a moment and said,

    Guess who gets the shark's leftovers.
    "Five days." I wish you had been there to share this experience with us.

    And the adventure continues. Check in tomorrow to get the next chapter in Dave and Mike's Excellent Adventure.

    Get more info:
    History | Geology | Dolphins
    Sharks | Conch | Blue Holes

    [Day 1 & 2] [Day 3] [Day 4] [Day 5]
    [Day 6] [Day 7] [Day 8]
  • Check the Dive Operators you'd like to contact, fill in the information in the form below and click "Go"

    Abaco Beach Resort Dive Center (800-838-4189)
    Brendals Dive Center International (800-780-9941)
    Dive Abaco Ltd. (800-247-5338)
    Walkers Cay Hotel (800-327-8150)

    Andros Undersea Adventures (800-327-8150)
    Seascape Inn (242-369-0342)
    Small Hope Bay Lodge (800-223-6961)

    Bimini Undersea (800-348-4644)
    Scuba Bimini (800-848-4073)

    Greenwood Dive Center & Beach Resort (242-342-3053)

    Scuba Chub Cay Undersea Adventures (800-327-8150)

    Exuma Dive Center & Watersports (800-874-7213)
    Peace & Plenty (800-525-2210)

    Grand Bahama Scuba (800-753-7282)
    Sunn Odyssey Divers (242-373-4014)
    UNEXSO (800-992-DIVE)
    Xanadu Undersea Adventures (800-327-8150)

    Stella Maris Inn (800-426-0466)

    Bahama Divers Ltd (800-398-DIVE)
    Custom Aquatics Ltd. (242-362-1492)
    Dive Dive Dive (800-368-3483)
    Nassau Scuba Centre (888-962-7728)
    Stuart's Cove (888-STU-COVE [788-2683])

    Riding Rock Resort (800-272-1492)

    Blackbeard's Cruises (800-327-9600)
    Bottom Time Adventures (800-899-6753)
    Nekton Diving Cruises (800-899-6753)
    Sea Dragon (954-522-0161)
    Sea Fever Diving Cruises (800-443-3837)

    Undersea Adventures (800-327-8150)
    Bahamas Ministry of Tourism (800-866-DIVE)
    Bahamas Tourist Office - Miami (800-866-DIVE)

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