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2022 Shark Expeditions aboard the M/V Shear Water with Jim Abernethy

Bahamas - November 5-11

Sherwater

Don't miss the once in a lifetime opportunity to take a dive vacation with Diving Catalina and one of the leading shark experts, Jim Abernethy.

About Jim Abernethy

Jim Abernethy is an award-winning author, photographer, cinematographer and conservationist who pioneered shark encounters without a cage. Starting at a young age, scuba diving served as an inspiration for his life’s mission as a conservationist. For decades, he has been leading photography/videography expeditions to engage with the world’s largest predatory sharks – Abernethy hosts cage-free dive expeditions (day/night) with tiger, great hammerheads, oceanic white tips, bull, and lemon sharks - he is best known as an extremely passionate crusader for their protection and has received numerous awards for his lifelong dedication as a marine life conservationist.

His award-winning marine life images are often featured in the world’s top nature magazines.  Additionally, Abernethy’s expedition clients include many of the world’s top nature filmmakers and magazines such as Imax, National Geographic, BBC Wildlife, Animal Planet, and Discovery Channel.

The “Marine Life Art Gallery” in West Palm Beach, Florida, is where his captivating images and educational books are on display and available for purchase. When Jim’s not below sea level, he is often seen piloting his ultra-light, "Oversear," in order to capture nature at sea with his lens from an aerial perspective. While Abernethy is well known as a photographer and passionate conservationist, he is also celebrated for his unique ability to bring divers from around the world up close to some of the ocean’s largest predatory sharks –in turn, his clients are often inspired to become passionate ambassadors for sharks and our oceans at large.

Jim’s relentless efforts around conservation have resulted in the creation of two non-profits: WildlifeVOICE and Operation Blue Pride. The mission of Operation Blue Pride is to save both veterans and our ocean’s creatures through in-water activities, wildlife encounters, education, and collaboration. This is all done in an effort to inspire action around these important issues. WildlifeVOICE seeks to engage and educate our youth, as well as physically challenged people, (Project Seahorse & Rising Tide – Shark Pride) by introducing them to our oceans and inspiring them to become “ocean ambassadors.” Jim mostly lives at sea, in the Bahamas, running shark expeditions and wild dolphin encounters year round on his boat, "Shear Water," but is often booked for educational presentations when he’s spending time on land. His dive business, Jim Abernethy’s Scuba Adventures Inc., is based in West Palm Beach, FL.

Jim Abernethy works in partnership with National Geographic Creative as stock agent for some of his most amazing images.

Our Expeditions

Tiger, Bull, Lemon, Caribbean reef and Nurse sharks can be seen all year long. During our winter and early spring months (November-April) we offer expeditions to dive with the great hammerheads as well as tiger sharks. In the summer months (June-August) we offer Tiger & Lemon Shark Expeditions and Tiger Shark & Dolphin Expeditions.

To attract sharks we will be using crated bait in the water. Before diving guests listen to an extensive safety briefing. There will be at least one crewmember in the water with divers to monitor divers, bait and sharks. Please be aware that these are not “cage” dives; these are open water experiences. Each dive location is different; depth and current vary from site to site.

The amount of diving available to guests is based on safely staying within no-decompression limits. Most days have unlimited diving. However, if we dive at deeper reefs, we may be limited to 3 – 5 dives a day.

Guests may choose to dive as much or as little as they would like.

Trips run throughout the year, and can be extended on request for photographers, film crews, private or group charters. These trips are specially geared towards professional photographers and videographers, and we are delighted to assist our guests in setting up the perfect shot.

In addition to a large rinse bin for photographic equipment, the Shear Water is equipped with plenty of charging stations for camera equipment. 

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M/V Shear Water

The M/V Shear Water, a 65’ twin engine Hidalgo, accommodates 10 guests and 4 crew members. Our crew members are PADI Divemasters or Instructors certified to the International Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers. The sleeping quarters include three small cabins and the V-berth. Each private cabin has an upper and lower berth with storage under the lower berth. The bow area, or V-berth, has two sets of upper and lower berths with privacy curtains for each bunk.

All bed linens and towels are supplied. There are two full bathrooms with showers; soap, shampoo and conditioner are provided.

The air-conditioned vessel has 110-v power throughout. The back deck has a hot, fresh water hose as well as soap, shampoo and conditioner. Because space is limited, please bring soft bags to store clothing and equipment. Large suitcases can be stored at our office for the duration of the charter. 

Pricing

Cost for Shear Water Live-aboard expeditions is as follows:

  • 5 Day / 6 Night Expedition - $3,335

This price includes:

  • A nearly unlimited amount of diving with sharks
  • Accommodations aboard the MV Shear Water as well as bed linens, pillow and towels
  • Tanks filled with air, and weights for diving
  • All customs & immigration fees, as well as Bahamian Taxes
  • All meals, snacks and non-alcoholic beverages

These prices do not include:

  • Personal dive equipment. Rental equipment is available.
    Force E located 155 East Blue Heron Blvd
    Riviera Beach, Florida 33404
    Phone: (561) 845-2333
  • Nitrox upgrade. This is available for a $50-$100 fee depending on the length of your trip with proof of Nitrox certification. 􀁸
  • Alcoholic beverages. Guests may bring their own aboard but, in non-glass containers for your safety.
  • Fuel surcharge for trips going to Bimini for Hammerheads or Dolphin.
  • %15 recommended gratuities, cash preferred, unless booking through a travel agency when it is included.

Contracted groups through travel agencies will include the %15 gratuity. All prices are subject to change unless the contract is signed within the first 10 days of being issued.

Fuel Surcharge

We do charge an $85 fuel surcharge for all trips that go to Bimini such as our Tiger Shark & Great Hammerhead Expeditions and our Tiger Shark & Dolphin Expeditions or extended trips to the southern Bahamas. This will be included in your contracted price. 

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General Itinerary

A 5-day/ 6 night trip generally proceeds as follows:
Boarding Day Check- in is at 4pm at Safe Harbor New Port Cove, board the boat at 5pm, and enjoy dinner on board at 7pm.
Day 1 -Clear customs in the Bahamas between 8 and 9am, and then head out to the first dive site.
Days 2-4 -Continue diving throughout the day and night, visiting various dive sites. Trips including Great Hammerheads in the winter or Dolphins in the summer we will include 1-2 days in Bimini. We try to fit in at least one night dive!
Day 5 -After the last dive of the last day around 5pm, we have dinner and head back to US waters.
Return Day- Clear US Customs between 8 and 9am, and disembark between 9am and 11am.

Guest Requirements

Shark diving can be a potentially dangerous sport and so divers should be should be fully comfortable with their skills in the water. The depths at which we anchor in are between 10 and 100 feet (3 - 33 meters) and strong currents are possible. We require that divers have an Open Water Scuba Certification (or equivalent) at minimum.

We require each diver to be completely dressed in black or dark colors with as little contrast as possible. This includes the following:

  • Black hood
  • Black (mostly) full length wetsuit or full length dive skin
  • Black gloves
  • Black/dark blue fins with booties or socks
  • Black (mostly) BCD

The use of white, yellow, pink, red, silver, green, or any brightly colored gear will need approval prior to any shark expedition. Camera housings and masks can have color. Again, hood, gloves and socks or booties are required and are personal items not for rent.

As our divers are responsible for following their dive profiles, dive computers and back up batteries are highly recommended. 

Scuba Rental Gear

If you need rental gear, we have partnered with the excellent Scuba shop called Force E. It is just a 9 minute walk or short Uber ride to the Marina after you rent gear. Please ask about a discount from the daily rental price for renting for 5 -10 days of diving .

A 5 day rental package for BCD, Regulator with gauges and computer, wetsuit mask and fins is $305 plus 7% sales tax Please contact the store for pricing of just 1 or 2 items, for the number of days you will have the gear and they will be able to calculate the cost. Be sure they know you are diving with Jim Abernethy to get the discount for renting for over 5 days.

We recommend arriving by 3pm to Force E to check out gear, then meet us at the Safe Harbor New Port Cove Marina between 4-5pm.

If you arrive early to the marina, there is a grassy area with adirondack chairs and the ship's store has beverages and ice cream.

Check-in is at 4pm, boarding will begin at 5pm and dinner at 7pm, after everyone has set up their gear and we do the boat briefing.

All passengers, international or domestic, must have a valid passport book and a tourist visa for traveling into the U.S. or to the Bahamas if applicable. Please check here. Passport cards are not valid for traveling to the Bahamas.

We require that every diver carry DAN, PADI or equivalent dive insurance. We highly recommend that guests carry travel (trip interruption) and camera insurance, as we do not refund for loss of diving due to weather, seasickness, Covid 19 symptoms or illness and money spent on air travel or accommodations. Please make sure trip insurance covers all possible circumstances beyond our control including return to the U.S. early due to another person on the trip contracting an illness. More information can be found at https://www.insuremytrip.com/. http://diveassure.com/en/home/ or Allianz Travel or by googling trip interruption insurance in your area.

A note about Covid- At this time, covid vaccinations and negative tests are not required for boarding our closed loop voyage. If you are flying in or out of the U.S.A., negative covid tests will be required. For your convenience, you can schedule an appointment upon return from the trip at any CVS or Walgreens but if you are traveling out of the country, they will require an RT-PCR test with your passport number on the results. You can find this by scheduling your appointment at Alliance Health-+1-844-678-0055. 

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Cancellation & Refund Policy

All charters require a minimum of 6 participants. While charters are rarely canceled due to a lack of participants, Diving Catalina will make every effort to reschedule customers to a later date. Any payments made will be put toward a later expedition. A charter is binding when the contract is signed and returned to us with deposit within 5 days. If we cancel the charter due to weather or any other reason, credit on another charter will be issued for one year. During your trip, no refunds are given for weather, seasickness, acts of God or any other circumstance beyond our control. Trip insurance is highly recommended to cover any unexpected difficulties. All expeditions aboard the Shear Water require a minimum of 6 guests. Please do not book flights until your trip is confirmed. Contracts cancelled within 120 - 90 days of the charter date are subject to a non-refundable 1st deposit. Contracts cancelled within 90 - 60 days of the charter date are subject to an additional non-refundable 2nd deposit. Full payment is due 60 days prior to departure, unless otherwise stated above. There are no refunds for cancellations made within 60 days. A late fee may be charged if payments are not made on the above specified dates. There is a non-refundable deposit of $500 per person on all contracts once written and signed, regardless of cancellation date.

Although we have had great success in finding sharks on our trips, please understand that sharks are wild animals and there is no guarantee any sharks will be present. Each encounter is different and will last as long as the sharks want. Weather is also an uncontrollable force and there are no refunds because of bad weather. We have several locations in the Bahamas to dive or to drop anchor that are protected from strong winds in case of bad weather.

Meals

We have an excellent professional chef on board who creates a variety of meals catered to our guests' dietary needs. Please notify us of any dietary restrictions you may have so we can accommodate your needs.

  • Continental Breakfast: A continental breakfast of cereal, muffins, Danish and fruits will be available starting at 6am. Coffee, tea and juice are available all morning.
  • Hot Breakfast: A hot breakfast made to order will be served at 7am. Our breakfast menu features a range of items including eggs, bacon, sausage, pancakes, French toast, and hot cereal, as well as muffins, bagels and toast.
  • Mid-Morning Snack: Assorted fruits are available for guests to enjoy at their leisure in between dives.
  • Lunch: Lunch is between 12 noon and 2pm depending on the dive schedule. Tuna and chicken salad, green salads, ham, turkey, grilled chicken and vegetable sandwiches, hamburgers, soup and pizza will be served.
  • Mid-Afternoon Snack: An assortment of savory snacks, vegetables, breads, crackers, cheeses and dips is available for guests to enjoy at their leisure in between dives.
  • Dinner: Dinner is served between 6 and 8pm depending on the dive schedule. Chicken, meat and seafood will be served, as well as vegetarian selections. There will always be a variety of desserts. 

Helpful tips:

  • The water temperature in the Bahamas ranges from 72 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit. A 3mm - 5mm wetsuit is recommended.
  • Towels and bedding for the bunks are provided.
  • Wifi access is not available for most of the charter as we are out at sea.
  • Bring a toiletry bag for personal items. Shampoo, conditioner, and soap are provided.
  • Pack lightly. Bring bathing suits, shorts, t-shirts, and a windbreaker or heavier jacket if it’s fall or winter. The boat is air conditioned, so we also recommend a pair of warm pants and a sweatshirt.
  • Make sure to bring a dive light for possible night dive, back up light, batteries and a snorkel.
  • Please do not bring shoes that will leave marks on the deck. Flip-flops are not recommended.
  • We have a zero drug tolerance policy on board; please do not bring any illegal drugs. The charter will be terminated if we find anyone in possession of an illegal substance.
  • Spear guns, spears with mechanical trigger devises of any kind, and power heads are strictly prohibited in the Bahamas and on board the M/V Shear Water. 
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Travel Department

Diving Catalina can help recommend to you several options by emailing directly. Check-in for charters is at the Marina address below between 4-5pm on the date of departure.

Boarding is at 5pm, and dinner is served at 7pm. We arrive back to our dock between 9 and 11am on the day of return. Please allow for delays when making flight reservations. We recommend flights to be scheduled after 5pm or later on the day of return.

Airports

Palm Beach International (PBI) Airport is approximately 30 minutes away, Ft. Lauderdale (FLL) is about 1.5 hours away, and Miami (MIA) is about 2 hours away from Jim Abernethy’s Scuba Adventures In Lake Park, FL.

Transfers

From Ft. Lauderdale International Airport and Miami International Airport can arrange to take the Tri-rail train service from the airports to Mangonia Park in Riviera Beach. Traveling up from Miami, the Brightline train is fast, however, it does not pick up at the airport. Taxi service or Uber.com are both available in this area to travel from the train stations to our office. For shuttle service from Miami Airport, we recommend Miamijettours.com.

Check in between 4-5pm on departure day

The M/V Shear Water is docked at The Safe harbor, New Port Cove Marina, 255 E. 22nd Ct., Riviera Bch, FL 33404 If you need to arrange to leave gear next to the boat before boarding time, please email us so we can arrange with a crew member. If you do arrive at the Safe Harbor Marina early, there is a ship’s store where you can purchase beverages and ice cream, and a grassy area in front of the store with Adirondack chairs to relax while you wait.

Hotels

Best Western Plus in Palm Beach Gardens (561-844-8448) is just 10 minutes from our office .You may choose to stay on Singer Island, which is just minutes away, and enjoy the Palm Beach Marriott Singer Island Beach Resort & Spa oceanfront location. Only 20 minutes north of our location, near I-95, is the Marriott Palm Beach Gardens. In West Palm Beach the Best Western Palm Beach Lakes Inn (561-683-8810) is located walking distance from the Palm Beach Outlets. Please call any of them directly to book Jim Abernethy’s Scuba Adventures special rates.

Car Rentals

Hertz car rental office is located at the airports or our closest location is 9137 Hwy A1A Alternate, North Palm Beach, Fl. 33403 for vehicle returns, and then Uber or taxi to the office for check in. You can also go to Hertz.com and add our CDP# 2068899 to receive our special rate. Alternatively, Enterprise Car Rental is located on 500 Northlake Bled, Lake Park, fl 33403 * Please note, both locations might not be open on the weekends. 

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