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Swimming With Nurse Sharks At Compass Cay, Exumas, Bahamas

Nurse Sharks
Nurse Sharks at Compass Cay

Sharks get a bad reputation as being the bullies of the ocean.

For anyone who is afraid of these creatures, you’ll be able to face your fears and jump into the water with about 50 Nurse Sharks as Tucker, the owner of Compass Cay, feeds them bloody pieces of fish.

As they go for the food they’ll swim at rapid speed, bouncing right into you — oh, and a little Bahamas travel information for you: their skin feels strangely like sandpaper.

When swimming with Nurse Sharks, pet their backs but stay away from their mouths and try to keep your hands above your head if chum is being thrown into the water and they’re eating (Comforting, right?).

After swimming with Nurse Sharks myself, I can honestly say it’s more fun than scary and is a great way to have a unique adventure that can’t be found everywhere you go.

nurse sharks
Swimming with Nurse Sharks at Compass Cay

I was able to experience this through the Staniel Cay Yacht Club, although most hotels in the Exumas will be able to organize a guided tour to Compass Cay or rent you a boat so you can go there yourself. Email the tourism board at [email protected] or ask your accommodation for more information.

*Note: For these photos I had the white balance skewed toward blue a bit too much and forgot to reset it before giving someone my camera to photograph me swimming with the sharks. This is why many of the photos have a bit of a blue tint. Other than that, these should give you a great idea of what the experience was like.

Just the sign you want to see when jumping into shark-infested waters while they’re being fed
nurse sharks
Swimming with Nurse Sharks at Compass Cay
nurse sharks
Gotta love Staniel Cay Yacht Club’s dog jumping right in with the sharks
swim with sharks
The sharks even have names!
nurse shark
Nurse Shark up close
compass cay
Compass Cay

*My trip to the Exumas was sponsored by the Bahamas Tourism Board. I was not required to write this post nor was I compensated in any way. All opinions are my own.

About Jessie Festa

Jessie Festa is an New York-based travel content creator who is passionate about empowering her audience to experience new places and live a life of adventure. She is the founder of the solo female travel blog, Jessie on a Journey, and is editor-in-chief of Epicure & Culture, an online conscious tourism magazine. Along with writing, Jessie is a professional photographer and is the owner of NYC Photo Journeys, which offers New York photo tours, photo shoots, and wedding photography. Her work has appeared in publications like USA Today, CNN, Business Insider, Thrillist, and WestJet Magazine.

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  1. Susan Cutts on at 2:53 am

    Great pictures! I am going to compass cay and other places in the Exumas on a day trip in May 2019. We are very excited!
    Can I ask what camera you used?
    I read somewhere that certain cameras weren’t allowed. I think they mentioned SLR’s.

    • Jessie Festa on at 5:43 pm

      @Susan: This trip was from a bit ago, so I can’t quite remember, but I’m almost positive I had an SLR with me. That being said, the rules may have changed since then.

    • Tavia Christal on at 10:10 pm

      Hello great pics! And thanks for all of the info. We will be flying into Nassau and want to take a tour to visit compass cay. Do you have any recommendations?

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