Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Define "infested"...

Where: North Shore, Oahu, HI
When: August 19, 2010

Whee sharks!! This was one of the coolest experiences of my life. The sharks we saw were primarily Galapagos sharks, which prefer to hang out at about 200ft of water depth. The area we were was a crab fishing area, and over the years the sharks have learned that when they hear a particular type of engine, there's going to be food, so they come up.

We probably had 12-15 or so, and they were anywhere from 8-10 feet long. Some were pregnant.

They are apparently very picky eaters - according to the guide if he were to throw chicken or pig into the water, they would not be interested. According to wikipedia: "They feed mainly on bottom-dwelling bony fishes and cephalopods; larger individuals have a much more varied diet, consuming other sharks, marine iguanas, sea lions, and even garbage".

More on this type of shark here.

I was most impressed with the economy of movement. There was only thrashing when a piece of food was tossed in, and half the time the birds got the food first. When the shark did get to a piece of food, his or her mouth would only open as little as it had to - just wide enough to engulf the food, no more no less.

There was also a school of mackerel under the boat which the sharks weren't at all interested in - the guide explained that the amount of energy the shark would have to expend to catch one would be more than the amount of energy he would get from the fish. However, if one of the fish happened to be injured then the sharks would be all over it.

Here's the cage we went into (although that's not us, obviously). You can see two sharks circling it:

They never seemed particularly interested in the people in the cage. They would get quite close, and they were clearly looking, but none of them decided to try us out.

I had bought a throw away underwater camera specifically for this adventure, but by the time it was my turn to get into the cage I was SO EXCITED that I forgot to bring it! And it was so fascinating to be in the cage watching the sharks cruise by and under and around INCHES from us that I didn't even think about cameras until I got out, which ought to give you some idea of HOW FREAKING AWESOME an experience this was! When I forget that I could be taking pictures something extra weird is going on.



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New York City, United States

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This is my first blog attempt. It hasn't been kept up over the last year, for some reason being pregnant really ate into my creativity, and I picked up the camera very rarely. I am thinking about starting it up again, but am not sure what direction to take it in.

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