Contact
Nurse Sharks around Bayahibe

Nurse Sharks around Bayahibe

Most divers love seeing sharks, some divers are afraid of them. Our new clients coming for a scuba vacation in Bayahibe for the first time usually ask : “Are there any sharks here? Are they dangerous?” There are many types of sharks around the globe, some of them might be dangerous, but we don’t have those around here.

While scuba diving in Bayahibe area, you can see a Nurse Shark by Saona Island and El Peñon. Nurse sharks are not aggressive, they usually swim away when you approach them. But as any wild animal, when they feel threatened, they might attack to protect themselves. Make sure you keep an escape route for them, don’t close them in, don’t get too close, make sure they can see you. If you follow all that, you have a fantastic experience!

The name “nurse” probably came from “Nusse”, the name originally used for catsharks. In the Caribbean waters, the nurse shark is still often called “tiburon gato” – “cat shark” in Spanish.

Nurse sharks are bottom dwelling sharks, usually from tan to dark brown color, average size between 8 – 9 ft, over 200 lbs. Nurse sharks have two spineless, rounded dorsal fins the first one much larger than second. They are nocturnal animals, resting on sandy bottoms or in caverns during the day and very active during the night, searching the sea bottom for crustaceans, mollusks and stingrays at night. In the daytime they will often lay together in groups, some of them as big as 40 sharks (in general, not around Bayahibe!), often lying over each other.

Coral Spawning in Bayahibe area

Coral Spawning in Bayahibe area

How do corals reproduce? Most corals are hermaphrodites (both male and female), only about one third are different sexes. There are few types of non sexual reproduction, one of them is budding – the corals create buds (like flowers) that break off and a new coral starts growing. Other one is a fragmentation, that happens naturally when pieces of corals break off due to waves, storms or marine life activities. When the conditions are right, the parts attach and develop into new coral colonies. There are two types of sexual reproduction of corals and one of them is spawning.
What is spawning? Once a year, at a specific day and a specific time, based on the moon cycle and the water temperature, colonies of coral reefs release their eggs and sperms into the water. They slowly drift to the surface where the fertilization process starts. When coral eggs and sperms join together as embryos, they develop into coral larvae and float in the water, some for days and some for weeks, before they drop to the seafloor where they attach to a suitable bottom and grow into a new coral colony. The growing process is slow, only about 4 inches / 10 cm a year.

We had the spawning time in Bayahibe area between August 9 and 21 and of course Mark and Iris from Go Dive Bayahibe team, along with other divers, volunteered again their time to monitor the spawning process of 11 different coral species. Not only it’s exciting to observe it, but who wouldn’t love to go for a fun night dive? At night you see some marine life you cannot not see during the day! Our team is helping to protect the corals and volunteering their time to help with reproduction of the corals in Bayahibe area all year around, not only during the spawning time. You can see how it’s done when you go for a dive at Coco Reef and Coral Garden. Help a protect the corals while scuba diving in Bayahibe area, as you can see it’s a long time process for them to grow bigger. While diving, do not touch any corals, make sure your equipment, fins and tank is not making any damage.

Southern Stingrays

Southern Stingrays

Southern Stingray is one of the stingray family you can see in the waters while scuba diving in Bayahibe area. They glide beautifully above the sea grass beds and in the sandy bottoms, looking for their food – soft-bodied creatures like snails, small squids and octopuses, clams and oysters. The same as sharks, the string rays have skeletons made of cartilage, their gills are not on the side as some other underwater creatures, they have them on the bottom of their body. They have openings behind their eyes called spiracles, they use these as their mouth, passing the water through them to the gill chambers. The spiracles are also used to spit the inedible parts of their food. To do that, they open the normally closed spiracles to inhale and while exhaling the inedible fragments go out. The adult males are smaller than females, they grow to about 2 ft / 60 cm in diameter, some females grow up to 5 ft / 2.5 m!
Southern Stingrays are pretty tame a most of the time will ignore the divers around, some of them are curious and can come very close to see who is around. However they have a venomous, saw-like spine on the tail which they use for defense if they feel threatened. When you see them, do not surprise them, always approach them from the front so they can see you, do not chase them, because their sting could be quite painful.

In the Sea