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pyithar
04/20/2016, 07:07 AM
i'm sorry if it's a stupid question but i'd just like to prepare before it happens. what should i do if i see a shark or sharks while scuba diving or snorkeling? be very happy, chill out and take videos? or try to figure out what kind of sharks they are since some sharks like bull shark, tiger shark, great white, mako, etc can attack me? what do you usually do? thanks!

G_Sanab922
04/20/2016, 01:30 PM
If you see a shark such as a bull/tiger/great white, staying calm is the most important thing you can do if you are not used to their presence. Stay calm and slowly kick yourself back towards the boat, never give them your back. I say kick because when you use your arms you tend to splash a lot more, especially with people who panic.

If they are just passing by then just leave them be. If they are circling an area you are close to then just go back to the boat.

When I see them (normally just reef sharks) I'm normally spearfishing so I tend to just let them be but when I have a fish on me that's bleeding, they might get close so I just poke them with my gun. While I'm doing that I'm already close by the boat so I just throw the fish into the boat.
Assuming you will be just snorkeling or diving, buy a knife you can strap to your leg if you are worried. If you are doing more scuba diving then I recommend to get that knife anyways.
Not only will you be able to poke the sharks if they get too friendly and want to give you a hug, but you can easily cut rope/fishing line or anything else if you become entangled under water.

Where is it that you plan to dive/snorkel?
This will give everyone a better idea on what types of sharks you will possibly encounter. For example, here in the Caribbean we have a lot of nurse sharks. People freak out about them but they are one of the most harmless sharks out there and they normally stay at the bottom.


Add-on: If it's bigger than you it's probably best to head to the boat. If it's small then pull out the camera and enjoy the sighting.

pyithar
04/20/2016, 11:10 PM
thank you for the reply. now i know what to do when/if i see a shark. i think I'll freak out anyway when i see a large shark and it'd be impossible for me to figure out what kind of shark i'm seeing. :D there're too many kinds of sharks and it seems like all of them could attack human including hammerheads! i thought they were human safe. my plan is to dive in gulf of thailand, andaman sea, komodo, raja ampat, sipadan, southern leyte for now. these places are not very far from my country.

Ron Reefman
04/21/2016, 08:06 AM
Sharks are opportunistic scavengers for the most part. They can tell there is blood in the water from a long, long way off. And when they arrive, if they find a critter (fish, seal, human, whatever) struggling, splashing and generally looking distressed, it gets the sharks attention and they will try to investigate. That usually means swimming up close, circling, bumping it's nose into that critter and maybe even taking a bite to see if it's edible.

Most people don't deal well with sharks or adrenaline, and when a shark gets really close, most people's adrenaline levels go through the roof. It's a bad mix.

But IMHO, the best thing you can do is keep an eye on the shark and stay calm (I read that somewhere recently... (see post #2). I've seen a couple of good size sharks while snorkeling out on open water reefs (as opposed to shallow water patch reefs). And even with dozens of snorkelers in the water, the sharks showed no attention and just swam by. This is probably the case in 99.99% of shark sightings by snorkelers and divers. And most sharks that snorkelers see aren't big enough to want to try to attack a human. In 15 years in Florida and snorkeling on average 4 or 5 long weekends a year, I've never seen a shark that was more than 6' to 8' long.

If one started to circle me I'd temporarily stop swimming and moving as little as possible while watching the shark and trying to keep it in front of me. If I think it's just looking and not seriously interested (like I can read the shark's mind) I'd slowly start to head for the boat trying not to make any more commotion or splashing than absolutely necessary. If the circling is more menacing then I'd try to keep arms and legs pulled in toward my body as much as possible making for less easy things for the shark to bite. If it swims at me, I'll do my best to be ready to try and move off to the side of the shark and as it goes past, punch it in the side. In the gill slits or the eye may even be better, but just get the punch in. Sharks aren't fighters, if you get in a good blow they are far more likely to swim off and leave you alone than to turn and attack you again. They are opportunists not fighters. But once they feel you are food, usually after they have bitten and there is a lot of blood in the water, they are not inclined to give up easily.

Here is some helpful info from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission:
http://myfwc.com/research/saltwater/sharks-rays/shark-attacks/

From 1882 thru 2015 in Monroe County (the Florida Keys) there have been just 19 reported shark attacks on humans. That averages out to 1 shark attack every 7 years!

http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/fish/isaf/shark-attacks-maps-data/north-america/florida/

hogfanreefer
04/21/2016, 08:17 AM
As above, the #1 thing is to relax. Most of the time I've encountered reef sharks they have been very shy and afraid of that big black thing blowing bubbles. Be still, control your bouyancy and stay close to the bottom or the wall to help you keep track of them.

I get excited when I see sharks (not fearful excited). It's a treat to get to see them.

watch?v=JmYHu51o9dw

nuttyd
04/21/2016, 08:44 AM
As others said calm is key. Less movement the better. Always try to face them and I like to swim towards them slowly. Most sharks avoid confrontation to minimize injuries to themselves. I spearfish also, and we often will chase a shark to keep our catch. Most of the time it works too.

G_Sanab922
04/21/2016, 09:32 AM
And even with dozens of snorkelers in the water, the sharks showed no attention and just swam by. This is probably the case in 99.99% of shark sightings by snorkelers and divers. And most sharks that snorkelers see aren't big enough to want to try to attack a human. In 15 years in Florida and snorkeling on average 4 or 5 long weekends a year, I've never seen a shark that was more than 6' to 8' long.


Want to emphasize what Ron said here.
Most just swim by.
And the chances of seeing a shark 6ft+ is unlikely. I've seen a 8ft shark, but it was a nurse shark, so I just pet him lol

pyithar
04/22/2016, 12:13 AM
thank you guys. so to recap:

(if i'm lucky), i'm more likely to see juvenile sharks or sharks that are about 6' to 8' long. they're safer than the big ones regardless of shark species. so i should be able to enjoy the moment. they're just gonna swim by.

(if i'm lucky/or unlucky :D), when i see a large shark, stay calm and don't let the shark out of sight. if i'm near the boat, swim calmly back to the boat without splashing. if i'm away from boat, descend to bottom or wall and be motionless keeping hands and legs close to the body. they'll lose interest and swim away most of the time. but if they come in for a bite, be prepared to fight back and punch the gill slits or eyes.

Ron Reefman
04/22/2016, 07:24 AM
I think you have a very good plan. Being calm and reducing movement to a minimum will work 99.999% of the time.

Last time I was out at Looe Key we saw a 4' to 5' shark swim by. One member of our group shouted "SHARK!" and pointed down in the water below him. About half of the 100+ people in the water started for their boats. A quarter of them just stayed calm and stayed where they were. The other quarter (including me and my wife) swam toward the guy while looking for the shark. It swam by along the bottom of a valley in the reef floor. We followed as best we could and got 1 decent photo of it as it was swimming away in front of us.

http://i395.photobucket.com/albums/pp37/RonReefman/shark_zpswncyu3pe.jpg (http://s395.photobucket.com/user/RonReefman/media/shark_zpswncyu3pe.jpg.html)

pyithar
04/22/2016, 08:33 AM
very nice pic! is that a nurse shark Ron?

Ron Reefman
04/23/2016, 06:50 AM
I honestly don't know. My wife was the one with the camera and she is looking now to see if she can ID it. We knew at the time that it definitely wasn't a nurse shark. After looking through a couple of books and online (she's a head reference librarian after all, she is pretty sure it's a common reef shark. They don't get too big (8' would be a huge reef shark) and although they are wary, they can be dangerous, especially to divers who are spear fishing.

If you want to hear a story about my wife and a close encounter with a nurse shark, just ask and I'll do my best to tell it.

04/23/2016, 07:29 AM
Local Florida dive club spearfishes in Gulf of Mexico at least once weekly and frequently see Bull Sharks. They claim they don't worry much about them unless a diver gets bumped while fish are on the stringer. In that case the shark frequently bites the stringer (bloody fish) which the diver gladly releases and then makes for the boat before the shark can finish his/her appetizer. Sounds a bit edgy to me (haven't dived personally in years and never spearfished) but this story comes from a dive shop owner who was trying to recruit a new club member; so it may be credible.

WiDataTech
04/23/2016, 08:25 AM
Ron, I would like to hear the story of your wife's close encounter...we don't have many sharks up here in wis, but I have had a handful of close encounters with bears :)

MikeyAl
04/23/2016, 08:55 AM
Great thread. Agree with a lot of what has been said. Where you will be diving your most deadly sharks are bull and tiger. Just do what others said. If you are really lucky you will encounter a leopard shark. They are docile and easy to approach. But again, if in doubt about the species its best just to watch them and get out of the way. I highly encourage you to research the Sharks of the areas. It can be an amazing experience diving with these remarkable creatures.


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pyithar
04/23/2016, 09:09 AM
thank you both for the shark ID Ron. most shark species look very similar to me with the exception of black tip,white tip, mako, tiger and maybe bull if seen from the front. did the nurse shark try to attack your wife? i'd love to hear that story. please do tell us about it.

pyithar
04/23/2016, 09:41 AM
thank you MikeyAl. i did some reading about the sharks around the area that i plan to dive and it seems that most of them are black tip reef sharks and gray reef sharks but blue shark, mako, tiger, white tip, great white and bull sharks can sometimes visit as well. :fish2: i think i wanna see the small sharks not the big ones :D i once took a glass bottom boat to watch the sharks and just seeing those big sharks cruising around the boat with their dorsal fins showing up on the water surface sent chills down my spine. :facepalm:

MikeyAl
04/23/2016, 04:32 PM
Gotcha. Blues and makos are deep water sharks. I think your biggest concern would be the big 3. If you are not an experienced diver (and even if you are) it's best to dive on days with good visibility.


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Ron Reefman
04/23/2016, 05:58 PM
OK, here is the story. In Nov of 2013 Elaine and I decided to go snorkeling at Bahia Honda State Park. It's Nov so the water is pretty cool and a weekday so virtually nobody on the beach. We both had on our heavy wetsuits and about an hour in, after swimming against the current (in coming tide washing along the beach and around the end of the island) Elaine tells me she is getting chilly and tired so we are going to just drift back to our spot on the beach.

We are in water that is about 3 feet deep and 150 feet off the beach. While drifting along we have become separated by 50 feet or so and I hear my name being called. Not a scream, or a call for help, just trying to get my attention. I stand up and Elaine, in waist deep water points between her and the beach and says, "Ron, there's a shark over there." Again, no panic, no real urgency, just information being delivered. I start to swim to her and think to myself, by the time I get there it will probably be gone and I won't get to see anything.

So I get to Elaine and she points out about 20 to 30 feet away, between us and the beach, there is a sandy hole that is bright compared to the dark rocks. And in that sandy circle of sand is a dark, backwards letter 'C'. She says it's a 4' nurse shark sleeping in the sand. Her camera battery is dead and she asks me to stay and watch the shark while she gets to shore and gets new batteries. I say OK.

Elaine leaves and I move in closer to get a better look at the shark. From the original spot where we were standing, I couldn't even see it while underwater. I got close enough to get a good look and then moved back away so as not to disturb it. As Elaine was on her way back out to me, the shark woke up and swam off away from Elaine into the current.

When Elaine got out to me I asked her how in the world she could see the shark from so far away (she is great at seeing things underwater that I can totally miss). She tells me, "Oh, I didn't see it from here. I was drifting along looking straight down at the bottom looking for anything interesting. Then out of the corner of my eye I saw something dark and as I looked over, there was this nurse shark and in less than 3 feet of water I drifted right over it. I could have reached out and pet it." No fear or anxiety in her voice at all.

I told her I was proud of her and she asked why? I told her 95% of swimmers at this beach would have totally freaked out if they saw the shark. And 99% of all women (not meaning to be sexist) in this country would have gotten up out of the water and walked... no, run on top of it to the beach and would never get back in. But you get so close you could have touched it and you calmly swim out to deeper water and call me over to see it too. Her response was, "Ron, it was just a 4' nurse shark."

That's it.

Back in 2000 when I moved to Florida, seeing a shark in the water would have seriously unnerved me. But every year I get more and more accustom to sharing the water with them. Two years ago a little 3' nurse shark got caught between me and a rocky wall. I was 2' out from the wall and the shark came up from behind and swam past me, between me and the wall. For half a second I was spooked because it caught me totally off guard. But then I realized how small it was and I was fine.

This winter I caught a small sharpnose shark with my bare hands in the surf washing up on the beach of Sanibel Island in SW Florida. We took a couple of pics and then I carried it out into deeper water and released it. It just swam away like it was no big deal. However, if somebody had told me that morning I would catch and rescue a 18" to 2' shark in the water with my bare hands... I'd have told them they were crazy. A) I probably wouldn't even try. B) What are the chances of a small shark being washed up toward the beach by big waves and having trouble swimming back out... 1,000,000 to 1? I'm just glad my wife took a photo! :fun4:

snorvich
04/23/2016, 09:18 PM
Cool story, Ron Reefman

Maritimer
04/23/2016, 09:54 PM
I've snorkeled with nurse sharks in FL and blues in RI. Neither had any interest in me, but both were amazing and awesome to see underwater, in their world.

Get excited. Feel the rush. Enjoy the majesty of one of natures greatest predators in its own environment - and count yourself lucky to have the encounter.

~Bruce

pyithar
04/24/2016, 06:06 AM
very cool experience Ron. thanks for sharing.

pyithar
04/24/2016, 06:08 AM
thanks for sharing your experience Maritimer. i'd like to be lucky too. just a bit nervous. :D

jimbow
04/24/2016, 12:40 PM
My Fav shark story is seeing a hammer head off of Nags Head, NC. We were wreck diving and he circled us for the entire dive. He would fade into the gloom and then reappear some place else.

I also had the same thing off the wall in Grand Cayman. Not sure what kind of shark but it was big.

MikeyAl
04/24/2016, 01:17 PM
Okay my turn:
I grew up in south Florida and spent lots of weekends lobstering in the keys.
A buddy of mine and I were lobstering. He just managed to get one out of his hiding spot and I immediately submerged to go net him (we free dive). As I got him in the net and started to pull him out to put in my bag I noticed a BIG shadow. Turned out to be a hammerhead. My estimation is that he was about 10' which is big in real life :). We stayed calm, and we slowly made our way back to the boat. We didn't want to leave because the reef was filled with lobster. So we relaxed for an hour. We went back in and proceeded to get more lobster. After about 20 minutes he showed up again. He didn't even seem to notice us so we went about our business. Seems he was just cruising around. He didn't eye our bags or anything. It was a really cool experience to be near an animal that big.


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hogfanreefer
04/24/2016, 06:50 PM
We see nurse sharks up close so often I don't really think of them as sharks any more.

This video was in Hol Chan Park in Belize. Fast forward to about 1:14, I think I counted 13 nurse sharks that swam right under me.

watch?v=QuFsRTTVlRY

These pics were away from the park but these nurse sharks were also pretty unafraid of us.

http://i47.photobucket.com/albums/f164/huntindoc/Belize%202015/headonnurseshark1of1_zps5dfb3f5e.jpg

http://i47.photobucket.com/albums/f164/huntindoc/Belize%202015/sharkpilotfish1of1_zps408d2802.jpg

http://i47.photobucket.com/albums/f164/huntindoc/Belize%202015/shark2%201%20of%201_zpsvxe2ulpm.jpg

G_Sanab922
04/25/2016, 08:24 AM
Very nice pics and video.

G_Sanab922
04/25/2016, 08:27 AM
Gotcha. Blues and makos are deep water sharks. I think your biggest concern would be the big 3. If you are not an experienced diver (and even if you are) it's best to dive on days with good visibility.


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+1
Oceanic white tips are also deep water I believe.

Local Florida dive club spearfishes in Gulf of Mexico at least once weekly and frequently see Bull Sharks. They claim they don't worry much about them unless a diver gets bumped while fish are on the stringer. In that case the shark frequently bites the stringer (bloody fish) which the diver gladly releases and then makes for the boat before the shark can finish his/her appetizer. Sounds a bit edgy to me (haven't dived personally in years and never spearfished) but this story comes from a dive shop owner who was trying to recruit a new club member; so it may be credible.

Thing about this is that when I go spearfishing I don't use a stringer. If I'm too far from the boat I just put the fish in my pants and go :ape:

Yea the gulf has a bit more sharks, not surprised if they see bulls.
Not sure how those guys spear but when I see a shark I pretty much move spots because all the fish in the area just go in to hiding most of the time. Even while regular fishing, if we notice the shark breaking the lines then we move.

MikeyAl
04/25/2016, 09:14 PM
+1

Oceanic white tips are also deep water I believe.







Thing about this is that when I go spearfishing I don't use a stringer. If I'm too far from the boat I just put the fish in my pants and go :ape:



Yea the gulf has a bit more sharks, not surprised if they see bulls.

Not sure how those guys spear but when I see a shark I pretty much move spots because all the fish in the area just go in to hiding most of the time. Even while regular fishing, if we notice the shark breaking the lines then we move.



Yup. There are two types of white tip sharks. The oceanic reef shark which, is in fact a deep water shark and very dangerous. There is also a white tip reef shark which is according to its name a feed shark and not dangerous. Usually grows to about 5 feet.


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MikeyAl
04/26/2016, 08:08 AM
Yup. There are two types of white tip sharks. The oceanic reef shark which, is in fact a deep water shark and very dangerous. There is also a white tip reef shark which is according to its name a feed shark and not dangerous. Usually grows to about 5 feet.


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Edit: a reef shark not a "feed" shark.


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pyithar
04/26/2016, 09:28 AM
hogfanreefer: awesome pics and video

MikeyAl: i thought all white tips were oceanic and young ones stay around reefs. thanks for clearing it up!

MikeyAl
04/26/2016, 10:17 AM
hogfanreefer: awesome pics and video

MikeyAl: i thought all white tips were oceanic and young ones stay around reefs. thanks for clearing it up!


Same family, different species.
The oceanic whitetip is a shark not to be messed with. They are deep water sharks that are know for attacking people (shipwreck and plan crash survivors). and can grow up to about 14 feet.
The whitetip reef shark is relatively docile and lives on the reefs and can grow up to 5 or 6 feet.


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PatW
04/30/2016, 04:37 PM
I have seen nurse sharks. Even very large nurse sharks are pretty timid. I have also see reef sharks. It is hard to get very close to a reef shark. They will take off. I have seen one bull shark.

Think about it though. I am 6' tall. With fins, I am 8' or 9'. Then I have the BC which makes me look bigger. I also have a metal tank and I am blowing bubbles. I am not something that looks like normal prey. Plus, I am way too big for most sharks to fool with.

I would think that only a large shark of one of the very aggressive species would have the potential for going for a diver. I have never seen a verified account of a diver being attacked by a shark...... That does not count spear fisherman with yummy bleeding fish.

I suppose it could happen but it is not on the list of the top ten ways you can die whilst diving.

jk1nole
05/25/2016, 09:47 PM
I've been diving for about 5 years and I have seen nurse sharks, bull sharks, tiger sharks, reef sharks, hemmer heads, and lemon sharks (great whites next year in South Africa). 2 of the dives I have been on have been "Shark Dives".

I have never felt threatened or in danger. Sharks are largely a misunderstood creature.. this misunderstanding is heightened by Discovery Channel's "Shark Week".

I am not advocating to go out looking for sharks to swim with, but they are not the nasty animals they are made out to be. With that being said... don't trust a bull shark, oceanic white tip, or great white.

Attached are a few pics of lemon sharks. They come in large numbers off of West Palm Beach, FL during the winter months here.

pyithar
06/01/2016, 06:59 AM
I've been diving for about 5 years and I have seen nurse sharks, bull sharks, tiger sharks, reef sharks, hemmer heads, and lemon sharks (great whites next year in South Africa). 2 of the dives I have been on have been "Shark Dives".

I have never felt threatened or in danger. Sharks are largely a misunderstood creature.. this misunderstanding is heightened by Discovery Channel's "Shark Week".

I am not advocating to go out looking for sharks to swim with, but they are not the nasty animals they are made out to be. With that being said... don't trust a bull shark, oceanic white tip, or great white.

Attached are a few pics of lemon sharks. They come in large numbers off of West Palm Beach, FL during the winter months here.

Thank you for sharing your experiences. very nice shark pics!

rsidwell
06/17/2016, 04:01 PM
Sharks for the most part don't even care about you, especially diving instead of snorkeling. Just don't be bleeding or flailing :) Also, good visibility water. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=951389851179&set=a.933705076609.1073741832.122800658&type=3&theater

rsidwell
06/17/2016, 04:05 PM
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=951389851179&l=63e2985a74 Sharks for the most part don't even care about you, especially diving instead of snorkeling. Just don't be bleeding or flailing Also, good visibility water.

teemee
06/21/2016, 11:44 PM
I've probably seen 1000+++ sharks on over 300 dives, almost all of which in the Indopacific, including many places you listed as wanting to go to.
I've been circled a number of times by large black tip reef sharks, but they were only being curious.

The only trouble I've ever heard anyone having was from someone who reached into an opening on a wreck, and startled a wobbegong shark, and told me he was bitten, though whether or not it was a true story, I don't know.

More than sharks, be prepared for some challenging diving. At Sipadan (Barracuda site), with a v. inexperienced guide (not even a dm), I got completely swept off the reef, and while flying the water for almost a km, I counted almost a hundred white tip reef sharks, a blessing considering not long before they'd been finning them on Mabul...
Many places I've gone to expressly to see sharks, I haven't seen any at all...
So, I hope you do, keep your wits about you, dive responsibly and with a buddy, and have fun!

SouthFla
07/27/2016, 01:40 PM
To the OP, maybe go for a ride?!? :lolspin:

http://imagesbyjda.com/Web_Photos/Bimini%20Tiger.jpg

Seriously tho, enjoy the experience, they're beautiful animals :wavehand:

C.Eymann
08/11/2016, 07:42 AM
Sorry to revive an old thread, I thought I'd share a little tip/trick- (towards the end) I agree with what everyone said, remain calm, keep extremities close to the body, if it's a worrisome species, don't turn your back on it. Tigers and oceanic white tips would make me the most nervous on dive in clear water, but I haven't been in the water with either, I have dove with black tips, Bulls, nurse and lemons. When spearing fish under piers with Hawaiian slings-Bulls are a concern, but in clear reef waters they are fine. Here is the tip- If you want to see sharks on a dive this is a nifty, non chum way to attract them, take a plastic water bottle that is ribbed, fill it 1/2 full with water and roll it between your palms, doing so puts out sound waves very similar to that of a fish in distress, you will know you are making the right sound when you notice yellow tail snapper and groupers taking an increased interest in you, have attracted sharks this way successfully numerous times, once the sharks come in to view, probably wise to stop making the noise.
Staying calm is key, but in clear water they are not too big of danger, beautiful, majestic animals

Paul B
08/11/2016, 08:09 AM
Sharks are not a problem but if it bother's you carry a big knife. If you see a shark that scares you, take the knife, and cut your throat. :facepalm:

SouthFla
08/11/2016, 08:38 AM
Sharks are not a problem but if it bother's you carry a big knife. If you see a shark that scares you, take the knife, and cut your BUDDY'S throat. :facepalm:

I edited that for ya :wavehand:

C.Eymann
08/11/2016, 02:10 PM
Yup. There are two types of white tip sharks. The oceanic reef shark which, is in fact a deep water shark and very dangerous. There is also a white tip reef shark which is according to its name a feed shark and not dangerous. Usually grows to about 5 feet.


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Yes they are in general a open ocean deep water species and wouldn't be encountered on typical patch reef dives, however they can be spotted on outer wall and atoll dives. Several dive guides I have talked to in Belize have said they see them occasionally.
That's always been the shark that worries me when doing safety stops, can just imagine one cruising into view, flanked by pilot fish and all.

If visibility isnt so great pretty much any species can be prone to attack, even a 4 foot little lemon can be deadly if it gets you in the right place causing you to bleed out, esp when far from shore.

Paul B
08/11/2016, 06:07 PM
Sharks don't bother me in the tropics. I don't like to see them here in New York because our visibility is measured in inches so when you see one, he is already eating you especially if you dive at night. But tropical sharks are basically wimpy and eat mostly blackworms.

C.Eymann
08/11/2016, 07:42 PM
http://i.imgur.com/DUdUDRQ.gif

EntropysHelper
08/19/2016, 03:53 PM
OK, here is the story. In Nov of 2013 Elaine and I decided to go snorkeling at Bahia Honda State Park. It's Nov so the water is pretty cool and a weekday so virtually nobody on the beach. We both had on our heavy wetsuits and about an hour in, after swimming against the current (in coming tide washing along the beach and around the end of the island) Elaine tells me she is getting chilly and tired so we are going to just drift back to our spot on the beach.

We are in water that is about 3 feet deep and 150 feet off the beach. While drifting along we have become separated by 50 feet or so and I hear my name being called. Not a scream, or a call for help, just trying to get my attention. I stand up and Elaine, in waist deep water points between her and the beach and says, "Ron, there's a shark over there." Again, no panic, no real urgency, just information being delivered. I start to swim to her and think to myself, by the time I get there it will probably be gone and I won't get to see anything.

So I get to Elaine and she points out about 20 to 30 feet away, between us and the beach, there is a sandy hole that is bright compared to the dark rocks. And in that sandy circle of sand is a dark, backwards letter 'C'. She says it's a 4' nurse shark sleeping in the sand. Her camera battery is dead and she asks me to stay and watch the shark while she gets to shore and gets new batteries. I say OK.

Elaine leaves and I move in closer to get a better look at the shark. From the original spot where we were standing, I couldn't even see it while underwater. I got close enough to get a good look and then moved back away so as not to disturb it. As Elaine was on her way back out to me, the shark woke up and swam off away from Elaine into the current.

When Elaine got out to me I asked her how in the world she could see the shark from so far away (she is great at seeing things underwater that I can totally miss). She tells me, "Oh, I didn't see it from here. I was drifting along looking straight down at the bottom looking for anything interesting. Then out of the corner of my eye I saw something dark and as I looked over, there was this nurse shark and in less than 3 feet of water I drifted right over it. I could have reached out and pet it." No fear or anxiety in her voice at all.

I told her I was proud of her and she asked why? I told her 95% of swimmers at this beach would have totally freaked out if they saw the shark. And 99% of all women (not meaning to be sexist) in this country would have gotten up out of the water and walked... no, run on top of it to the beach and would never get back in. But you get so close you could have touched it and you calmly swim out to deeper water and call me over to see it too. Her response was, "Ron, it was just a 4' nurse shark."

That's it.

Back in 2000 when I moved to Florida, seeing a shark in the water would have seriously unnerved me. But every year I get more and more accustom to sharing the water with them. Two years ago a little 3' nurse shark got caught between me and a rocky wall. I was 2' out from the wall and the shark came up from behind and swam past me, between me and the wall. For half a second I was spooked because it caught me totally off guard. But then I realized how small it was and I was fine.

This winter I caught a small sharpnose shark with my bare hands in the surf washing up on the beach of Sanibel Island in SW Florida. We took a couple of pics and then I carried it out into deeper water and released it. It just swam away like it was no big deal. However, if somebody had told me that morning I would catch and rescue a 18" to 2' shark in the water with my bare hands... I'd have told them they were crazy. A) I probably wouldn't even try. B) What are the chances of a small shark being washed up toward the beach by big waves and having trouble swimming back out... 1,000,000 to 1? I'm just glad my wife took a photo! :fun4:
Cool story, ron. I think you mentioned in another thread you were retired...how long have you and your wife been snorkeling?

Learn It
09/10/2016, 03:27 PM
Good advice here. Nice pics hog.