In this episode of the Vuori TRVL Journal we are discovering unexpected beauty in the shark-filled waters of Nassau with Dylan Efron and Oceana.
“I’m afraid of sharks. And I don’t think I’m alone in that,” says athlete, content creator, and outdoor travel host, Dylan Efron in his recent video. So why travel thousands of miles to jump into shark-infested waters off the coast of the Bahamas? It’s all about learning more about shark conservation and raising awareness of this remarkable species and the vital role they play in maintaining underwater ecosystems.
Together with Oceana, a nonprofit dedicated to preserving the world’s oceans, Dylan took Vuori along on an unforgettable trip. “During my first trip to The Bahamas I was absolutely blown away by the ocean’s visibility, temperature and wildlife… it’s a free diver’s dream,” he shared. Inspired by his friends Andre Musgrove and underwater photographer David Langlois who helped him understand the important role sharks play in marine ecosystems, Dylan decided to put his fears aside in order to raise awareness for shark species, many of which are now threatened with extinction due to overfishing, which affects the ocean ecosystems and ultimately food security of people in many nations. “When Andre and David started talking to me about diving with sharks and how beautiful it is… it was clear I was missing something. Their passion and love for sharks was obvious, where my fear felt unfounded… So I told them I’d come back and dive with them.”
Dylan shares his journey—nerves and all—traveling to Tiger Beach, off the coast of West End, Grand Bahama. Known for its high concentration of tiger sharks, Tiger Beach was the perfect place for Dylan to join other conservationists who are dedicated to raising awareness about the effects of overfishing. From freeing a fishing line attached to a shark, to swimming through a storm, the journey wasn’t always expected—but truly expansive. “At first it was strange feeling… I knew to keep eye contact on the sharks, so my head was on a swivel. I was looking behind me every 5 seconds! But as the day went on, I grew more and more comfortable swimming with them. By the end, I didn’t want to leave.”
By sharing his journey, Dylan seeks to break the stigma and fear surrounding sharks. “Eco-tourism helps show that sharks are more valuable alive than dead… It creates a demand and revenue stream for sharks alive, which can help to reduce the demand for shark fins and other shark products.”
Echoes Kirsten Stathos at Oceana, "sharing positive experiences can contribute to a broader cultural shift in attitudes toward sharks. Highlighting their beauty, their role in the ecosystem, and encountering them underwater in their natural habitat, can help dispel fear and promote coexistence. This shift can lead to a greater emphasis on shark conservation and the recognition of their importance in maintaining healthy marine ecosystems.” Watch Dylan’s journey, and you just might start rethinking your own beliefs about these often-feared animals. You might even be inspired to jump in, too.
“My favorite memory was our last day on the boat,” shares Dylan. ”We swam with sharks, weathered a storm, lived in tight quarters with each other… and on the last night we played games, swapped stories, laughed and just lived in the moment. Experiences like that are what I live for and will remember the rest of my life.”