Whitetip reef shark encounter

Whitetip reef shark

I went for a snorkel a few days ago and saw a shark for the first time in a long while. Well, I did see one a couple of months ago at Two Step, but it was tucked into a small cave, having a nap. The recent one definitely wasn’t at rest.

I was fairly far out, near where rock and coral gives way to sand, and happened to be looking out towards the sand when the distinctive shape of a shark came zipping into view. It was headed my way at speed, which was an invigorating moment, I can tell you. However, I did have the presence of mind to snap a few photos, of which this is the best. Considering the state of the water and the shark gliding across the bottom, I was pleased with how well this turned out. I think it shows the infamous lines of the shark and something of its powerful, sinuous motion and I was glad to capture the eye and lines of the gills.

I suspect it had detected my presence and was checking me out. When it saw what I was, it decided I wasn’t too interesting, cruised by, and then disappeared in the opposite direction. I headed back in, taking frequent glances behind me to make sure the shark hadn’t changed its mind.

A couple of weeks ago, a couple of paddle-boarders were attacked by a tiger shark near Hualali Resort. Tigers sharks are responsible for almost all the shark attacks that happen around Hawaii. The shark I saw was a whitetip reef shark (notice the white tip on the dorsal fin – many have white edging on other fins, too), which is capable of mischief, but mostly doesn’t. This one was around 5 feet long, maybe a bit more. For scale, the yellow tang at bottom right of the photo is probably between 6 and 8 inches long.

Posted in response to this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge ‘Lines.’

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16 thoughts on “Whitetip reef shark encounter

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  4. That’s a great shot of the shark! Your experience reminds me of the when I was snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef and there was a reef shark directly underneath me. It freaked me out, but I think I stayed pretty calm because I had heard they weren’t dangerous. I took a good look, but I also got out of the water pretty soon afterwards. The thing was, I had no idea how close or faraway it was, and how big it was. Presumably not that big. But the water distorted the distances and sizes so much. (I was snorkeling on the surface, face in the water)

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know what you mean about water distorting things. I try and make a decent estimate of size, but then sometimes I see divers under water and they look like they’re about 10 feet long. I figured this shark was 5 or 6 feet when I saw it, and having the yellow tang in the photo helped pin it down. I will say I was happy to get the photo since there was a big element of point and shoot and hope. I wasn’t entirely sure the shark was in the frame!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for visiting. I’ve seen sharks before, usually after they’ve gone by me. Chances are, if one did attack, the first I’d know about it would be when it sank its teeth into me. But, as they say, the likelihood of my getting killed or injured by a shark are way, way less than it happening in an automobile accident, so I don’t worry about it much.

      Liked by 1 person

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