Wednesday, November 21, 2012

How to get bitten by a reef shark

The reefs have lots of sharks, a number are over 2 meters long. As expected, they make you feel a little small and evoke the stereotype of vicious man-eating, razor-mouthed monsters.

Step One - find a shark (or many sharks)

The best time to see sharks is at night. The lights of the boat shine on the water, attracting schools of small silver fish (snack sized fish). In turn, medium fish come to chase around and eat the little ones (appetizers). And bigger fish come to eat the medium ones (tapas). And the sharks come to eat the bigger fish (entrees). It's not very orderly, but it is fun to watch.

Step Two - get the sharks primed.

It helps that the boat serves a small amount of fresh red meat to the sharks. The smell of blood really does get them going. They smack into each other, splashing around, unable to find the tiny piece of meat. (Most often a bold medium sized fish gets in on the action and the meat is gone before the sharks even know what happened.)

Step Three - jump in the water.

It's more fun to watch the sharks from the water, so most people suit up and dive in to watch them first hand. Having a flashlight helps you see them close up too.

Also, remember that lights attract the snack sized fish, so with flash light in hand, you become the director of the evening buffet.

Step Four - getting bitten.

If you want to get bitten by a shark, you need to swim up behind them somehow disguising your smell. Next, you grab it around the neck and put it in a headlock. They are slippery, so hold tight. Open it's mouth with your free hand and stuff your arm in. Now, give it a good smack up side the head. It may bite you, or it may swim away.

We completed all of the above steps, except number 4.

Sharks have a very good sense of smell and they can sense vibrations in the water (like a struggling fish). But their eyesight isn't very good and they are a bit cumbersome. I don't think they're terribly smart either.

The truth is that the sharks don't like humans at all and are skittish. The most common way to get bitten is to accidentally step on one in shallow water. Though swimming with the sharks was fun, I like the fish that are not as scared of humans more.


When on the top deck of the boat you get one bar of reception. Not enough for pictures, but at least I can get a short post out.


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