A couple of weeks ago I ran a post about my first shark encounter for about two years. Then, like buses, another one came along within three weeks.
The latest was another whitetip reef shark, which are the sharks most commonly seen around here. I was swimming in shallow water, when the shark popped into view over the edge of a drop off to deeper water. It was quite close and moving fairly quickly, so I snapped this photo as it zipped by, before disappearing on the other side of me.
The photo isn’t the greatest, but I post it for two reasons. The first is that it shows the black spots on the side of the shark. These are a way of identifying individuals because the spot patterns are unique to each whitetip reef shark.
The second reason is that I usually have my camera zoomed in (it’s not a high-powered zoom) so that I’m more likely to get a quick shot of a small fish before it disappears. This photo is zoomed in, but when I first saw the shark, my immediate thought was, ‘I’m going to have to zoom out for this.’ In the photo, the shark is probably around 10 feet away. Compared to the shark in my previous post, the details of this one, such as the gills, are much more pronounced though this shark was smaller, probably about 3-feet long.
Whitetip reef sharks are not considered much of a threat to humans, though they are curious and, as this one did, will come close to take a look. When people do get bitten by whitetips, it’s usually spear fishers towing their haul, or someone provoking the shark, possibly entrants in the worldwide ‘My Dumb Selfie’ competition that so many people seem so keen to enter.