JBL Shark Workshop Bahamas 2018: Day 5 – Humans Are Not Food

Today I am back with the boat group and we are eager to observe and to test what we learnt about sharks from Erich’s lecture. We receive clear instructions how to behave and what reaction our behaviour might have on the sharks.

Our friends are already waiting for us at the anchorage “Shark City“. Since we now know sharks don’t bite we sit down on the platform at the end of the boat and dangle our legs/feet in the water. The animals really differentiate between food they are fed and humans, who don’t fit into their prey scheme. We can now observe the sharks a lot more knowledgeably and I’m particularly fascinated how these majestic animals turn with us if we stay in eye contact with them. We can talk to the sharks – even without words it works! Amazing. And again we have learned something!

The diving was incredible, but the snorkelling at the boat's stern in the shallow water somehow managed to beat it. The sharks seem to have completely lost their fear for us to the extent that they aren’t taking us seriously. They bump into us, hit us with their fins or swim towards us. But there’s no biting. Why should they bite us when they have their food thrown into the water for them? That don’t even associate a human hand with food. Even if the fish meat falls 20 cm beside our heads into the water the sharks accurately shoot towards it. No divers get bitten! We are absolutely delighted. You can’t get any closer to a shark than this.

Erich’s lecture today is about shark accidents. Why do they happen and how can they be avoided? The essence of the two hours: there are no dangerous sharks but only dangerous situations. The best example of this is his own accident where he lost his complete calf. A mistake of his shark observer meant he had no eye contact with the bull shark approaching him from behind. The test bite into his leg was not the main problem, but the shallow water was causing the shark discomfort since it requires a “comfort zone” all around its body. This comfort zone was greatly reduced by the closeness of the ground and the water surface. This made the situation dangerous and not the animal itself.

Blog 2018: Bahamas Tag 5
© 03.07.2018
Heiko Blessin
Heiko Blessin
Dipl.-Biologe

Tauchen, Fotografie, Aquaristik, Haie, Motorrad

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