Since Discovery Channels Shark Week always seems so far away (…174 days – who can wait that long!), let’s band together and fill our shark geek cravings! We here at ShARCC will share our first shark sighting experiences with you. Every week one of the ShARCC organizers or volunteers will have their first featured shark story on the blog, along with some interesting facts about the species we first spotted.
So pay back the favour and share your first shark sighting story with us! We want to hear from you – where you were, what you were doing and who you saw! Leave a comment below, post your story to our Facebook page or tell us via Twitter – we can’t wait to hear from you!
Beth’s First Shark Experience
The date was January 2nd, 2011 and I was in Gisborne, New Zealand with one of my best friends. We had taken a boat out past the break and were floating in the open water, the sun was shining, the water was sparkling and the ocean was calm.
Picture 1: Gisborne, New Zealand. Photo credit: Felipe Skroski
The boat captain, an excitable Kiwi man told my friend and I that we would be going first. So when he animatedly yelled that something was heading our way, I had my wetsuit zipped up and was in the water before he could finish his sentence. Once in the water I realized I couldn’t see a thing, not a single fish and definitely not the ocean floor. Everything was blue, I was startled by the emptiness of the ocean. I didn’t know where to look! Then appearing out of nowhere, I saw deep black eyes and a sleek silvery body swimming towards me.
Picture 2: Shortfin Mako Shark. Photo credit: Mark Conlin, SWFSC Large Pelagics Program
I was staring danger in the face but I wasn’t afraid. I was mesmerized by the ease and speed with which he swam through the water. Visible one moment and gone the next. The shark kept returning, swimming over and under and all around me as if curious about what I was doing in this underwater world.. I followed his every move not wanting to let the shark out of my sight. Reluctantly I broke my gaze and climbed back on the boat. I may never see that particular Shortfin Mako Shark again, but I’ll never forget my first shark sighting.
Written by: Beth Watson, ShARCC Media Intern
Tell us about your first shark encounter on Twitter (@AtlanticSharks) or Facebook (ShARCC)!
Facts about Shortfin Mako Sharks
-Shortfin Mako sharks are found worldwide, even along the continental shelf of Nova Scotia and in the Gulf of St. Lawrence!
-Shortfin Makos are one of the fastest sharks in the ocean, capable of swimming at speeds of up to 35 km/h (22 mph), which enables them to leap up to 6 m (22 ft) out of the water.
-The Shortfin Mako is an important species in both commercial and recreational fisheries.
-COSEWIC has recommended that Mako sharks be listed as Threatened in Canadian waters even though only 2-3% of the global catch comes from Canadian waters.
-Canadian Shark Research Laboratory. (2013). Shortfin mako. Retrieved from http://www.marinebiodiversity.ca/shark/english/mako.htm
For more information on Shortfin Mako Sharks visit: http://atlanticsharks.org/shark_species_details.php?id=7#