This is the most common shark spotted by our guests, whether they are snorkeling or scuba diving. The white tip reef shark is a relatively small shark. The average size only measuring about 1.8 metres or 6 feet long. This is one of the best parts of our jobs, seeing people who less then 30 minutes ago were scared about sharing the water with a shark. Now they are seeing them up close and experiencing sharks in their natural habit. Immediately realizing that all the television and movie myths are just that myths. One of our guests last year went from being a nervous snorkeller to scuba diving, and her reason I want to ‘dive with the sharks’.
As you can see from the photo above, all sharks do not require to keep swimming to stay alive, this again is another myth. White Tip Sharks can move water through their gills as they lay still on the bottom. This species of shark tends to hang around reefs for long periods of time, sometimes years. They hunt at night feeding on octopus, fish and other reef creatures, including lobsters and crabs. Not a bad diet. During a night dive, you can observe them slowly swimming along the reef edge looking for that evening snack. Unlike other shark species they do not get into a feeding frenzy.
They are not aggressive towards humans at all, unless provoked and then purely a defensive measure. Humans feeding sharks can lead to confusion and sharks may mistakenly grab the hand that feeds it. Another good reason not to feed the fish, especially the big ones with big teeth.
White Tip Sharks pregnancy lasts about 10-12 months. They give birth to young called pups, this litter can contain anything up to 6 pups. Now how did the white tip shark get its name? Very easy, the white tips on the tops of the fins.
Current populations of white tip sharks are depleting at the rate of about 8% per year, due to unsustainable fishing practices in other parts of the world and its slow reproductive rate.
Swimming and diving with sharks that you must experience to really appreciate. The only way to dispel the myths and see the grace and beauty of a shark it to come and experience it in the sharks natural habitat.
Many of our guests get to experience swimming with a shark up close and immediately they see the myths around sharks are exactly that, myths. These encounters are often the highlight of the trip for people that only a few days before were terrified to share the water with a shark.
Shark Water is about to be released in Australia on May 15th. It is a great documentary and well worth a trip to the theatre. If you are interested is showing your support there are many shark support organizations listed the movies’ website.
The timing of the release of the movie is perfect considering that there is a current push to legitimize the fishing and finning of sharks on the Great Barrier Reef. You can voice your objection via AMCS at their website .