Tip today is about sharks and interactions with them. We will run through a few different bits and pieces about what we see on a few sharky days. The main thing when you encounter a shark is not to panic. I know it's easier said than done. We all have been conditioned to fear sharks.
So the first sharky day, we saw on our dive was a two and a half to a three-meter hammerhead shark. It came in just curiously, just wanting to have a look at the flashers. It was a very calm shark even though it was in a bit of an aggressive stance.
It had its fins vertically down just for a bit more maneuverability. It didn't really seem interested in us at all, just checking out what were we doing. Our dive started later in the day. Sharks usually feed early, this is pretty normal behavior for a shark. They're not particularly interested in the divers, they're just trying to get a free meal. I'd do the same thing if I was a shark.
The second shark for that day was a little bit later on the bottom. There was a really calm nurse shark. A nurse shark is more of a bottom-dwelling species similar to a gummy shark or leopard sharks this shark was very calm. So I just held on to its dorsal fin for a bit and went for a ride. Nurse sharks are calm Placid shark and just fun to see. You don't see them very often.
The third shark we saw for the day, unfortunately, was a tiger shark. It was a little bit more aggressive and unfortunately on the dive, I had gone down to the bottom looking for fish there wasn't much around. I turned around to come back up and when I got about 5 meters from the surface I start to push on my gun and then felt a push on my fins. When I looked down again the shark had actually pushed me that 4 meters through the water with its mouth open.
Whoa! luckily this particular tiger shark had closed its eyes for the bite. Which most sharks will do to protect their eyes because their sights are very important to how they hunt. When it closed its eyes it didn't notice it actually swam into my spear and my spear was lodged in its nostril.
Because of this, the shark decided to give up on its particular bite and it turned to swim away. Lucky, if the shark had come up at another angle apart from where the gun was there's a very good chance I would have been bitten. Unfortunately, with tiger sharks and whites have the same kind of mentality it's very simple they're curious they'll come in and have a look at you first. They're curious they're trying to find out whether you are either food or a threat. If they decide you're not a threat they automatically assume you're food.
Unfortunately, sharks unlike us don't have hands and fingers. They can't pick things up to manually process them. The only way for them to work out what kind of food you are is to bite you. To see whether you're something that is tasty, something they know, or whether you're something they don't want to eat.
Most sharks will just spit you back out or let go unfortunately at that point you've got some pretty serious lacerations and you may not survive if you're too far offshore. Most sharks aren't trying to attack you as such they're just trying to find out what you are shark attacks that are actual attacks and not often recorded as real shark attacks they're just people who are assumed drowned and missing because when a shark really wants to eat you it will eat you it's as simple as that.
The tiger shark on this day was a bit of an unusual tiger shark. Usually, tiger sharks will come in first, have a look, and size you up. This is the first time a tiger shark charge instantly. I'm not sure why I'm still trying to work it out. Possibly the reflection of my fins or maybe the flopper. I don't know what brought this particular shark on but it's an unusual activity for a shark to behave that way.
The next shark encounter for the day was in the afternoon on a spot closer to shore. There were a lot of bull sharks. So in this situation, because there are a lot of sharks around. We were diving in pairs so one diver goes down first then the other one would follow them down at a distance. Just to make sure nothing could get the drop on the other diver without them noticing. If they did shoot a fish, you could quickly protect that fish and the diver from the Sharks.
Sharks getting “turned on”for the lack of a better word by a fish struggling makes a shark start to target that fish. There is superiority in numbers, naturally, the shark sees two things that they perceive to be a possible threat so they'll tend to stay back.
If there are three sharks and only one diver the Sharks are definitely going to get braver and coming up closer to you. The reason sharks are so worried about us being a threat is that an injury for a shark is life or death. if you injure their eyes or any of their sensory organs they can't hunt anymore. If a shark can't hunt it dies. It's simple as that, so sharks are very apprehensive species. They're not going to want to engage something that they think could hurt them.
So the best bet as a spearfisherman or anyone who spends a lot of the time and the water. Is to have the Sharks think that you're actually going to do them harm. If it thinks you're a threat it'll normally leave you alone if it thinks you're an easy meal, fortunately, it's going to try to take a bite. So the reason the bull sharks weren't so aggressive on this day is there were too many people in the water.
Jekyll and Mr. Hyde situation, bull sharks and dirty water. Bull Sharks are very aggressive very brazen they will just harass you no matter what you do. They are at home in dirty water and they like that kind of situation. Bull sharks and clean water are completely different fish.
You can usually put a bull shark in clean water in your to watchlist as long as you have light contact with that shark. As long as the Bull shark can tell that you're watching it and that you're seeing what it's doing in clean water. A bull shark will be a lot more apprehensive than it will in dirty water.
Cobia usually likes to hang out with schools a bull shark so, in a clean water situation, you have a good chance at actually landing one of that cobia in a dirty water situation you have a good chance of possibly being bitten.
A lot of times we'll go down and give the shark a very hard poke. This isn't to try and kill the shark or hurt the shark in any way. Most of the time the shark barely feels the poke just because they've got such thick skin, the poke is just to deter the shark. You really want that shark to think that you can hurt it.
The only thing that makes us slightly different to prey is that we can cognitively make us harder to eat. So you really want to have the Sharks thinking that you can hurt them. It's a bluff but if the shark knows that you can't hurt it the shark is going to eat you it's as simple as that.
For a shark you're either a threat or your food, it's as simple as that. One thing to be very mindful of particularly when having encounters with sharks and spearfishing. If you start acting erratic, getting scared, and your heart rate goes through the roof they gonna sense that.
If you panic and trying to run you look a lot more like prey. If you're calm controlled centered then it put doubt in the shark's mind. It's no different from what they tell you to do with dogs. When you turn to run away from a dog it's going to chase you because it's instinct. If you try and to run from a shark same instincts engages. They're just going to want to hunt you.
Sharks are not evil. They're not trying to hurt us, sharks are in the ocean looking for food. A shark is harassing you more than anything else, they're after your fish. Dive Safe.