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Old 29-08-2016, 12:09   #1
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Close encounter

The wind was too light to make enough progress sailing on Sunday so my wife and I were motoring back from Cutty Hunk to Jamestown. The wind died entirely when we were about four miles south of Westport MA. It was hot so we decided to jump in quickly to cool off and have a break from the engine. We took turns, just in case. My wife jumped in then climbed out. I dove in, swam back, dove in, and swam back and climbed out. Then suddenly my wife yelled, "There's a shark!". I looked back and saw a dorsal fin and thought it was a dolphin, but then saw the tip of its tail too. It was swimming directly towards our boat. I jumped to the side of the boat to get a better look as it swam by. It was a six foot hammerhead, likely attracted by our splashing.

I have read stories posted here about such encounters, but it never seemed like something we would experience in our "backyard". It was a reminder that even though you can see land, it is still the ocean. That's the last time we will be swimming off the boat out in the open like that.
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Old 29-08-2016, 12:54   #2
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Re: Close encounter

Your backyard is shark's front yard. ;-)
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Old 29-08-2016, 12:57   #3
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Re: Close encounter

OK, that would definitely upset me! I believe I would have had a stiff drink after that swim.
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Old 29-08-2016, 13:08   #4
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Re: Close encounter

Two years ago I dropped in on a dive site off our boat, turned around and was looking at a Bull shark not two feet away, face to face.
Now Bulls always look like they are going to bite, but this one was not aggressive at all, I assume I almost fell onto him doing by back flop.
Now I look before I jump in.
Only time I have ever had a shark act aggressive was a Hammer, but in his defense, I had just shot a large Red Snapper not ten seconds before he got aggressive.
Many, many times I have been diving and if you look good, you can just see them right at the edge of visibility, I think there are more around than we realize.
I used to always swim off our boat out of sight of land when I was a kid fishing, but the movie Jaws fixed that habit.
I hate doing deco hanging on a line under a lift bag, gives me the willies, I have to keep turning around thinking something is behind me.
You know what hangs under an orange ball in the middle of the ocean?


Bait.
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Old 29-08-2016, 14:20   #5
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Re: Close encounter

I'm not familiar with what is normal in your backyard. Is it unusual for hammerheads to be there? In my area (SoCal) it used to be unheard of for hammerheads to come this far north into cooler waters, but with temps going up now they are often sighted and I saw one last spring cruising on the surface near Santa Barbara.
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Old 29-08-2016, 14:23   #6
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Re: Close encounter

I jumped in and was immediately chased out by a tiger about 80 miles off freeport tx diving on a rig.
Same as previous guy only bad experience i have ever had was with a hammerhead. Just shot a big ling and in a funky top layer where i couldnt see he hit my tank....i came up yelling and he was right behind me. Buddy had his AR15 with us.Whew!
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Old 29-08-2016, 14:35   #7
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Re: Close encounter

Had the largest Hammerhead I've ever seen circle our boat for at least half an hour in Georgetown Bahamas. We had just finished cleaning a bunch of Conch. Based on our dingy tied alongside it was about 10 ft.
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Old 29-08-2016, 14:41   #8
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Re: Close encounter

The sv delos and la vagabonde crews seem to regularly dive with sharks. Not seen them with hammerheads yest.

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Old 29-08-2016, 14:55   #9
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Re: Close encounter

I always associated Hammerheads with warm tropical water, so your encounter in your location does surprise me. I took a look at a site which had the following graphic showing the common range of Hammerheads, which is much larger than I expected too.
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Old 29-08-2016, 15:01   #10
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Re: Close encounter

One reason to slither smoothly (without splashing) into the water, and to swim non-splashily. Not what they taught us in swim school. No butterfly stroke allowed.
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Old 29-08-2016, 15:02   #11
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Re: Close encounter

We met a shark on a fresh water river in New Cal back in 2006.

Sharks are quite rare overall unless you are lucky to live in an area where they are very well protected.

We met thousands of dolphins, hundreds of whales, maybe a dozen sharks only, though.

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Old 29-08-2016, 15:22   #12
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Re: Close encounter

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheechako View Post
Had the largest Hammerhead I've ever seen circle our boat for at least half an hour in Georgetown Bahamas. We had just finished cleaning a bunch of Conch. Based on our dingy tied alongside it was about 10 ft.
So you met "the harbormaster"? I've heard about him for years, but never seen him. The late Wendell Cooper, who was the harbormaster in Elizabeth Harbor for years, once told me he estimated that shark at 10-12 feet.
Yikes!
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Old 29-08-2016, 20:20   #13
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Re: Close encounter

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steady Hand View Post
I always associated Hammerheads with warm tropical water, so your encounter in your location does surprise me. I took a look at a site which had the following graphic showing the common range of Hammerheads, which is much larger than I expected too.
I was very surprised too. The water was so clear and the shark was so close that I am pretty certain I saw its distinctive head. It is unusual for them to be up this far, but apparently they do show up occasionally during the warmest months. I fact a manatee was reported off of Cape Cod this weekend. Strange times.
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Old 17-09-2016, 09:24   #14
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Re: Close encounter

Quote:
Originally Posted by hlev00 View Post
The wind was too light to make enough progress sailing on Sunday so my wife and I were motoring back from Cutty Hunk to Jamestown. The wind died entirely when we were about four miles south of Westport MA. It was hot so we decided to jump in quickly to cool off and have a break from the engine. We took turns, just in case. My wife jumped in then climbed out. I dove in, swam back, dove in, and swam back and climbed out. Then suddenly my wife yelled, "There's a shark!". I looked back and saw a dorsal fin and thought it was a dolphin, but then saw the tip of its tail too. It was swimming directly towards our boat. I jumped to the side of the boat to get a better look as it swam by. It was a six foot hammerhead, likely attracted by our splashing.

I have read stories posted here about such encounters, but it never seemed like something we would experience in our "backyard". It was a reminder that even though you can see land, it is still the ocean. That's the last time we will be swimming off the boat out in the open like that.
Thanks and i was finally starting to get over my fear of swimming in the open ocean.
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Old 03-10-2016, 21:45   #15
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Re: Close encounter

That's really awesome. I had a same situation.. I was sacred to death after watching a fin coming near me in water. But it was not an shark, it was a dolphin Now I laugh at me thinking of how scared I was, but that moment was really scary.
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