Andy Murch is a "shark fanatic" who leads worldwide shark-diving tours and specializes in providing divers with up-close-and-personal encounters with tiger sharks, lemon sharks, hammerhead sharks, reef sharks, basking sharks, and salmon sharks, to name a few.
On a recent five-day shark-diving trip to Tiger Beach, one of the premier shark-diving destinations in the world located in the Bahamas, Murch found himself surrounded by a crowd of lemon sharks in a close encounter that he likened to "getting a massage."
At the end of the first day of swimming with sharks, divers gathered on the swim step of the dive boat Dolphin Dream in an attempt to capture over/under photos by dangling cameras into the water as dive masters attracted lemon sharks to the boat with bait, a longstanding practice.
Murch, the expedition leader of Big Fish Expeditions, decided to take it a step further, resulting in the compelling photos shown above and below.
"I have been doing this for many years, so this year I decided to slip in among the sharks and get some shots from their perspective," Murch told GrindTV Outdoor in an email. "It was an edgy thing to do because I was getting bumped constantly by big lemon sharks as they tried to reach the boat, but they were after the bait, not me, and the images from among their ranks were very dramatic.
"After getting bumped so many times it felt like I was getting a massage; I pulled myself out of the water and started shooting from the swim step instead. A few minutes later this tiger shark surfaced among the lemons looking for a snack. We feed tigers on the bottom all the time and it is a surprisingly safe activity, but it is unusual for a tiger to come to the back of the boat, and I was very glad I had pulled myself out of the water before it arrived.
"It was a lot of fun and resulted in some interesting images.”
Local dive masters at Tiger Beach feed the sharks on a regular basis, sometimes feeding the sharks by hand. Some of the sharks show up so routinely they have been given names, such as Smiley, which has a gaping jaw on one side of its mouth.
Take a look below at Smiley and other compelling shark-diving photos taken on the Big Fish Expeditions trip by Murch, whose photos have been used in hundreds of books and magazines around the world.
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