THERE can be few daily commutes more enviable than that faced by Marcus Kitching, who every day leaves the private yacht he inhabits on Paradise Island to attend to his job as a shark-feeder.
Just two years ago the 21-year-old, originally from Swainby, North Yorkshire, was working as a waiter in a North Yorkshire pub.
But after training as a PADI Scuba Diving Instructor with trainer Alan Yeung in a pool in Billlingham he has landed his dream job - hand-feeding wild sharks in the Caribbean.
Marcus, a former student at Stokesley School and Yarm School worked at The Black Horse in his home village of Swainby, until he got his job as a dive instructor at Stuart Cove’s Dive Bahamas last year.
He takes tourists to dive to a spot in the ocean just off the south coast of Nassau where they can watch Caribbean Reef Sharks and Tiger Sharks feed in the warm, open ocean. As up to 40 sharks swarm around Marcus, he feeds them small amounts of fish from a box of bait with a pole spear.
“Once I start the feed there can be anything up to 40 sharks that home in on the feed,” he said.
“I have been bitten several times but nothing serious. I wear a full wet suit and have chainmail over the top.
“I was very grateful for this protection recently when I felt an odd sensation between my knees and looked down to see a large female reef shark clamped on to the chainmail in my groin area. I thought ‘please, I barely know you’.”
The area used for the dive was used for the James Bond diving scenes in Thunderball, Never Say Never Again and Casino Royale.
Stuart Cove Dive Bahamas also specialises in underwater film production.
The sharks are wild and the amount of feed is so small so as to not interfere with their natural eating patterns or hunting habits. Marcus says the feed is about education and conservation rather than a show.
Marcus lives with his two uncles on a private yacht on Paradise Island, near Nassau.
He moved there with his uncles, who used to own the Dog and Gun Inn at Potto. John Howe, a barrister, now trades on International Money Markets from Paradise Island and Neil Micklethwaite-Howe, a former Royal Marine combat instructor now carries out property development in Miami.
“I am a very lucky man" says Marcus.
"Two years ago I was learning to scuba dive in a pool in Billingham, now I am feeding sharks in the Caribbean for clients from all over the world.
“I couldn't have done this without the continued support of my two uncles here in the Bahamas and my dad back in England.”