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Old 01-08-2016, 07:33 PM   #1
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Shark!!

We seem to have more sharks than usual presenting here, with more human attacks. One theory is coastal marine parks prohibiting fishing may increase bait fish numbers, attracting sharks. Warmer coastal currents could be another factor.
A Sydney hull cleaner diver reports seeing so many sharks over a long period he now schedules his work outside perceived shark feeding times. He mainly works in Rushcutters Bay(home of the Sydney-Hobart race organizing Club CYCA). He reports increasing sightings of bull sharks, which can be aggressive and grow to 3M. A Sydney navy diver training nearby lost both right limbs to one a few years back. Shark experts say bull sharks are throughout Sydney Harbor, a recent tagging program has proved that, the tagging team had no trouble locating sharks to tag. There are no fishing restrictions in the Harbor, except it is unwise to eat anything caught west of the Bridge due to pollution from now removed factories.
Our only sighting was a shark around 3M cruising on the surface heading inshore, when we were entering Broken Bay from the Pacific a couple of years ago. Even so, I`m getting concerned swimming off the back of the boat in the Broken Bay/Hawkesbury regions.
What`s it like elsewhere?
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Old 01-08-2016, 07:54 PM   #2
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I must admit that swimming in the tropics does freak me out a bit.
Stupid Jaws movie
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Old 01-08-2016, 10:58 PM   #3
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I am reluctant to swim off the back of the boat in Moreton Bay. Its either take the dingy into shallow water in places like Horseshoe Bay, or be as far north as Tangalooma. In nice clear ocean water further north I'm more comfortable, but still think about it. There are likely more sharks now but also they are not afraid of humans these days as hunting them is not allowed.

Sometimes I put on dive gear at the Sandhills for a little hull scrub, but there is location named Shark Spit just a little to the north of the anchorage that messes with my head.

At the beach in northern NSW I only swim on patrolled beaches, and prefer to be between the flags with other people in the water as well. Twenty years ago I didn't give sharks a second thought.

I was bitten by a shark 30 years ago, during a dive at Julian Rocks, Byron Bay. It was a Wobbegong, only 5" long and sleeping with its head under a ledge. I pulled its tail..... I was amazed how fast and flexible it was. It bit me on the webbing between my thumb and forefinger before I could let go its tail. Sharp teeth too....

Back in the late 80's I did one group dive in Shark Alley, just east of Flat Rock, itself just off the NE end of North Stradbroke Island. Its a sandy floored canyon that Grey Nurse sharks use for breeding every year. Everyone says that Grey Nurse are the Labrador's of the shark world but I did feel uneasy with these 6-8' sharks just slowly cruising past me. I only did it once. Not sure if people still go there for that dive experience or not.

We mainly dove just south of Flat Rock. There were always Leopard Sharks around the 6' size but they never came close and because of their small mouth we felt they were harmless. Yet the guy on Straddie who filled our tanks felt differently. Once he has a curious Leopard Shark calf persistently get really close to him. The mother got very agitated and harassed him, to the point he has never been back into the water since even though he was not actually bitten.
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Old 01-09-2016, 08:42 PM   #4
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Quote:
I must admit that swimming in the tropics does freak me out a bit.
Stupid Jaws movie
It's kept me out of the water a number of times! A neighbor recently showed it at his monthly movie night. I wouldn't go! I don't need that music in my head.
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Old 01-09-2016, 10:32 PM   #5
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There seem to have been more shark attacks in Hawaii over the last few years.

However..... I really question if all this is down to more sharks or more people in the water. With the huge growth in travel and tourism all over the world and rampant development to attract this business, much of it in the more tropical areas, I would not be at all surprised to learn that from the point of view of the sharks nothing has changed other than there is more food (people) in the water now.

If in X-miles of coastline you have 20 sharks and 20 people in the water the incidents of sharks meeting people will be fairly few. But if in x-miles of coastline you have 20 sharks and 500 people in the water, the incidents of sharks meeting people will skyrocket.

It was not too long ago that the concern was the dwindling population of sharks due to sport and commercial fishing and other causes. Lot of National Geographic-type articles about the impending crisis in the ocean if the shark populations continued to decline.

My own opinion is that if the risk of being attacked by a shark is too high, don't go in the water. I don't see the solution as being to kill sharks. They're the ones that live in the ocean, not humans.

I came to this conclusion while growing up in Hawaii and seeing things like sharks, barracuda, and moray eels firsthand and close-up.

A schoolmate lost a couple of fingers to a moray eel during a school field trip when he stuck his hand in a hole in a reef despite being warned not to. I've been bumped by a shark as a little kid while I was swimming in Hawaii and I've had barracuda hover nearby while snorkeling over a reef in Saipan. I've looked down on hundreds of huge hammerheads in Kaneohe Bay on Oahu while fish spotting with an airplane for some locals.

The conclusion I came to early on was this--- the ocean is full of animals with really big teeth. They don't come out and bother me, so I'm not going to go in and bother them.
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Old 01-09-2016, 11:01 PM   #6
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Apparently Orcas are looking after our best interests.

Orca Whales Prevent Shark Attacks on Kayaks in the San Juan Islands
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Old 01-10-2016, 03:50 AM   #7
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Our two favorite haunts in the Eastern Caribbean, Rodney Bay in St. Lucia and Ste. Anne in Martinique appear to have few sharks. Actually haven't seen one in either location.

Water in Ste. Anne is 12 feet deep and crystal clear 70/ 80 degrees F so we would see a shark if we were watching.

Both locations have many active fishermen (commercial) so I don't think there are many bait fish. However, there are lots of swimmers.
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Old 01-11-2016, 06:57 PM   #8
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Here is the video of the shark attack on Aussie champion surfer Mick Fanning in South Africa: http//www.theguardian.com/sport/video/2015/jul/19/surfer-mick-fanning-shark-attack-j-bay-open-video. Rare footage indeed. He survived, and is back in the water, shaken but not stirred, though events were complicated by the near contemporaneous death of his brother.
It is said if you can see dolphins you will be safe from sharks. True? I don`t know.
I still see lots of people swimming off boats. Harbor beaches in Sydney used to have a bad reputation. It does seem sharks are being found in quite shallow water. A man in a black wetsuit can resemble a seal. But, on a surfboard, like Mick Fanning, in broad daylight? A number of survival stories include fighting back, eye gouging, etc.
Dusk and dawn are risky times. We have to exercise care.
Wobbegong or Port Jackson(another name for Sydney Harbor) sharks are generally regarded as harmless, but may retaliate if stepped on, or if as Brian (Insequent) found, you pull their tail while they are snoozing.
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Old 01-12-2016, 10:00 AM   #9
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Shark!!

I've heard the Dolphin story as well. Don't know if it's true or not. Maybe just wishful thinking.

I used to surf some before I got too lazy, and we used to go to a "sharky" spot in Matagorda. At least I thought it was sharky and spooky. Had to paddle across the Colorado river to get there, dodging fishing boats coming down the river, and the spot was pretty secluded. Got my legs bumped a few times there by something. Can't remember the name of the spot-- maybe Turds? Baker knows.

I've heard surfers (and snorkelers) look like seals/prey floating on top of the water to a shark.
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Old 01-12-2016, 05:51 PM   #10
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... I used to surf some before I got too lazy, and we used to go to a "sharky" spot in Matagorda. At least I thought it was sharky and spooky. Had to paddle across the Colorado river to get there, dodging fishing boats coming down the river, and the spot was pretty secluded. Got my legs bumped a few times there by something. Can't remember the name of the spot-- maybe Turds? Baker knows...
We call that swimming undeterred.
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