Tuesday, November 2, 2010
I spent a good amount of time sorting old images this morning and I ran across some of my shark images from Moorea and Bora Bora in French Polynesia. On Moorea Annika and I got to go on a shark feeding trip with just she and I and the Polynesian guide Calex. We were supposed to just go and feed the sting rays but Calex asked us if we wanted to do something special. When he told us it was feeding the sharks we readily agreed.
We moored the boat in about two feet of water on a white sandbar just off a motu. Next to us was a deep blue channel running through the coral out to the ocean. Calex had brought a can of chopped up batfish with us. He began tossing small pieces out into the water. Immediately Black Tipped Reef sharks began streaming out of the channel and grabbing the fish bits almost at our feet. Sometimes two or three sharks would come by us at a time.
Lowering myself down into the water with sharks racing by less than four feet away was frightening and a bit uncomfortable at first. But once I realized that I wasn't on the menu it proved to be exhilarating. The sharks would dart up out of the channel and then race by grab a piece of fish all in one quick motion. It was incredible how fast they could turn and bite. Some sharks just sat close by and seemed to be waiting for the bigger pieces. It was a bit disconcerting to look at that their eyes.
Calex eventually ran out of bait and the sharks mulled in tight circles below us. One bold shark came right up to Calex with its mouth open heading right for his midsection. Calex promptly rapped it on the snout with his bait container and it sped away.
It was an amazing experience. We swam two more times with the sharks on the trip but they were done in a very controlled way and we were with large groups of people so it wasn't nearly as exciting.
The majority of the sharks we saw were Black Tipped Reef sharks which are not usually known for aggresive behavior towards humans. We also got to spend some time with some Lemon Sharks in an enclosed lagoon. They were well fed and not the least bit interested in us. Though Lenore had one inhale a yellow angel fish directly in front of her as she was snorkleing along!
I photographed the sharks in all three situations but he time spent with Annika and Calex was the most memorable to me.
God's blessings to all,