Sharks,Pigs and Chance Loves Swimwear

Life is good in the Bahamas

A Journey with Heidi, Alyssa, Sydney and Jenna

Where can you swim with Sharks, hang out with Pigs on the sand, and dive down in the most pristine waters you’ve ever seen? Or being surrounded by Tropical Fish so colorful, you never even knew they existed?? In The Bahamas of course!! Photographer Heidi Walter went on an adventure with her daughter Jenna and a few of her friends. Of course they brought their Chance Loves bikinis along!

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We recently sat down with Heidi & asked her a few questions:
“Hello Heidi!! We LOVE LOVE LOVE All the amazing pictures you took in the Bahamas for Chance Loves Swimwear, and we’re so interested in finding out more about you, the location, the girls, the sharks, the pigs, etc etc!!
 
For starters; what type(s) of photography do you specialize in, and where are you located?
I have been a family/newborn (Los Angeles based) photographer since 2009, and have recently developed a love of kids & teen Head Shots!  I love the 1:1 connection of getting to know these young people. and help them showcase their personalities.  I’ve met some of the most wonderful families through commercial/modeling head shots.  I still love lifestyle and family photography, it’s been fun to add this as well.
What are the names of the girls you took on this trip and how old are they?
Jenna is my daughter, Alyssa and Sydney are her friends. They’re all 13
Why the Bahamas, where in the Bahamas, how long were you there, and had you been there before?
2016 was our first year going with Sydney’s family who has been going since she was a baby!  It is slowly transforming from a small, rustic yacht club to more of an international scene!  The swimming pigs and being able to float with sharks has been a huge impact on the area. The past couple years we have stayed at Atlantis for some “resort fun” before traveling to Staniel Cay, as it’s a completely different experience.  I have a teenage son who likes to spend a couple days on some speedy waterslides and jumping off cliffs and wavy rivers.

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Tell us a little bit more about the Photo Locations?
There are several places to stay in the Bahamas, Nassau and Paradise Island, we technically are in the Exumas, or the outer islands of the bahamas.  You have to take a very small plane as the runway is really small!  There is no airport, you clear customs with your pilot and when you land, Staniel Cay Yacht Club is just a golf cart ride away! There are about 15 little cottages, most are colorful and simple, which is how we like it.  Barely wifi, no TV’s, and basically one restaurant at the yacht club, where the food is just incredible.

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You came back with so many awesome photos! In some of them we can see sharks right next to the girls! After all the shark attacks we’ve heard about lately, weren’t they afraid to swim right beside them?
The sharks we swim with are native nurse sharks. They like to hang around the docks and be given the scraps from the fishing boats and the yachts.  The locals will clean the fish and throw them to the sharks. Although the sharks do not technically bite, you don’t want to be in the water during feeding time.  They are very gentle and their mouths are on the way underside of their heads, so if you just keep your hands on top of the sharks, it’s always been ok.  It is quite a shock when they swim against your legs though!  They are found mainly in two places in the area: Staniel Cay Yacht Club docks, and Compass Cay.  Compass is a beautiful little island just a few miles from the yacht club.
The recent shark attack was incredibly scary.  Rose Island is just about 80 miles from where the “original” swimming pigs are. It sounds like Rose Island has a similar beach to snorkel and visit the pigs.  I had reached out to a local who took us lobster diving this year and he was stunned about the attack, he had never seen those sharks attack, but has seen them before while diving.  Either way, I believe we will be enjoying the bahamas next year in more shallow water.
 
In addition to sharks and pigs, there is a protected area with the most incredible snorkeling!  Hundreds of species of fish, caves to swim and explore and even an area called Rachel’s Bath where the water comes over the rocks into a beautiful “pool carved out of the island.  We’ve seen schools of hundreds of fish ranging in colors from silver to yellow to bright orange!  This past year we had a giant 4 foot barracuda follow us on our snorkel adventure the minute we walked off the beach.  Giant rays are not uncommon to swim past you while snorkeling as well! Most are smaller in the shallow waters, however we have seen some that span several feet.
 
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What is another Favorite thing to do in the Bahamas?

One of the things we enjoy most during the trip is looking for shells.  There are the most unique beautiful shells, from little sand dollars the size of your pinky nail to giant perfect conch shells with incredible colors and designs.  Some of the shells are whiter than the sand and just pristine in condition.  The kids love to see who can find the most unique shells and the adults(mostly the moms) just love to be able to walk along the beaches, toes in the sand.  We have decided that this is the only time during the year that we walk so slowly with no real destination and it is extremely relaxing and just so peaceful.

In the pictures, we can also see the girls hanging out with pigs!! Why are there pigs on the beach in the Bahamas?  That must have been quite the experience!
The pigs are incredible, however we have definitely noticed a change in their behavior even in the past few years. They have definitely become more agressive towards the tourists.  Daily high speed boats full of instagram picture seekers breaking the rules have most likely led to this behavior.  The babies have been stolen and moved to other islands, they are picked up and held in the air, which they hate!  People have given the pigs food other things that they shouldn’t.  This year my son was nipped on the back of the leg completely unprovoked and every day someone came back to the yacht club with an injury from one of the pigs.  Typically we give them left over fruit from breakfast and apples from lunch. they also love to drink from water bottles but now we are extra cautious when we go to the island and we typically go in the very late afternoon.

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The girls look awesome in their Chance Loves suits. How did they like them?

They LOVED the suits and the fact that they’re different than what most other girls have. They’re at an age where it’s tough to find suits their size and fit for tween/teen bodies. The coverage and the fit were accepted by both the girls AND the moms. The suits are incredibly soft, and the thickness is just right. One of the best parts was how seamless the “seams” were, as that is a general complaint with other suits we have. We all love the colors and prints. So many people in the Bahamas, as well as back home have asked them where they got these cute suits.
 
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We especially love all the underwater photos, those are just amazing. Is this something you specialize in as well?
We had so much fun with the underwater camera!  Photographers in general LOVE gear and anything that can take a better photo.  I have an Olympus underwater camera that is amazing, and I have tried several, plus the go pro never disappoints, especially when adding a dome it really added detail to the photos.  The girls loved to have photos of them “diving” and the water is just so clear in some parts and in the later part of the day.  I would love to get a housing for my DLSR, but for now the next purchase will be a drone. However, getting a drone over to the bahamas is not easy either with the required permits and permissions.

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Heidi, thank you so much again for these amazing pictures and doing an interview with us!!
 
Heidi is a Southern California based Photographer:

www.heidiwalterphotos.com

Please check out and Follow Heidi, Jenna, Sydney, and Alyssa’s Instagram:
 
@heidiwalterphotos
@jennawalter_
@sydneyy.bushman
@alyssabauerr__
 
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A Girl Running in her Aloha Spirit Bikini through the crystal clear waters in the Bahamas
Copyright Chance Loves & Heidi Walter photos

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