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Old 31-12-2010, 01:53   #31
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I am planning a transatlantic crossing and would like to know about sharks in the Atlantic...I've heard of people swimming off their boats when becalmed...is this safe...?!!
On an atlantic circuit I only saw 1 shark, off isle du salut in french guyana. Surprised there were any left as local fishermen offload boatloads of shark fins on the mainland every day.

But go for a swim when becalmed, i did it south of bermuda on a solo trip, amazing feeling looking at your boat while thousands of miles away from land in 4Km deep water. A couple of corys shearwaters actually paddled over to see me and let me stroke them, absolutely increadable.
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Old 31-12-2010, 02:55   #32
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Quite often they will spit out a human that they have attcked, once they've realized how bad we taste.
Just a comment on this, this seems to be a common misunderstanding: To avoid any possible damage to they vulnerable eyes during an attack, sharks have a distinguish attack pattern for some targets: The make a first strike (or one huge bite) to to make the victim weak and come back right afterwords to finish what they started as the target has now less ability to fight back -> Most human shark attack survives have been rescued right after the first attack. And that's where this myth started....

I cannot comment where it is save to swim/dive, I personally would take care in unknown water (ask locals is possible), and never swim if the sight is not clear. In the middle of the Atlantic? Yes, but short swim and not towing behind the boat....just a personal opinion.

And to be clear: This intelligent high end predator may eat what he gets, and I would not count that he does not like you because someone tells you your not tasty...

cheers Marco
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Old 31-12-2010, 05:14   #33
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We are far more dangerous to them than they to us. One day we will not need to worry about sharks. That's sad. The shark population is being decimated on a world wide scale.
Those images are a bit emotive IMHO - nobody likeS to kill but everybody's gotta eat. Images from any fish factory (or abbatoirs) can evoke such sentiments. But very few people looking at those images would know what they are looking at. That is, are the fish pictured a protected species? I'll wager they're not.

Fisheries are managed in most countries these days (sometimes not very well, granted) and most are under various international covenants. Wasn't long ago that Australian Customs chased a Chilean vessel with prohibited catch thousands of miles across the Southern Ocean, caught them and prosecuted.

Most sensible people and governments want good management of fisheries for sustainable food production and to ensure that protected species are indeed protected.

In Australia, the White Pointer is a protected species (us dinghy sailors have a certain ambivalence about that ), as are other species. But there are massive numbers of some other shark species, the fishing of which is a viable and sustainable industry and appropriately managed. And fish is one of the best meals we humans can have.
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Old 31-12-2010, 05:38   #34
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The thread has revived a memory of the only time I've ever panicked at sea...
Our ship had been dispatched from Gib to Antigua in '68 if I remember right... as there was a worry that elections could turn violent if the opposition party had no success.. then incumbent had been in power for ages.
Anyway... halfway across the ship had a problem and we had to stop for 6hrs while an engine was worked on.. it was a calm day and hot so around 3pm the skipper announced a free swim for any off watch crew interested..
Not many took it up... I dived in and creamed away in a strong crawl and when I stopped I just floated on my back for a few minutes...
When I straighted again I looked at the ship... which was not there.... I spun in all directions... no ship... the brain went overdrive... its over two miles deep.. there could be something a mile high and 12 miles long under me and I would not know... then all those weird sounds I listened to in my job as a sonar operator started playing.... I was in near blind panic when the ships mast slowly grew larger before my eyes and the ship reappeared as I rose back up the swell...
I've never felt easy swimming off shore since then... never more than three fast strokes from the ladder
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Old 31-12-2010, 05:50   #35
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One of the things I love about the sea is that were not on top of the food chain there !!

Dave
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Old 31-12-2010, 05:54   #36
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But there are massive numbers of some other shark species, the fishing of which is a viable and sustainable industry and appropriately managed. And fish is one of the best meals we humans can have.
Perhaps a little optimistic...

IUCN - News

Collapse and Conservation of Shark Populations in the Northwest Atlantic | Science/AAAS


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Overexploitation threatens the future of many large vertebrates. In the ocean, tunas and sea turtles are current conservation concerns because of this intense pressure. The status of most shark species, in contrast, remains uncertain. Using the largest data set in the Northwest Atlantic, we show rapid large declines in large coastal and oceanic shark populations. Scalloped hammerhead, white, and thresher sharks are each estimated to have declined by over 75% in the past 15 years. Closed-area models highlight priority areas for shark conservation, and the need to consider effort reallocation and site selection if marine reserves are to benefit multiple threatened species.
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Old 31-12-2010, 06:07   #37
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[QUOTE=swisscraft;587921]Just a comment on this, this seems to be a common misunderstanding: To avoid any possible damage to they vulnerable eyes during an attack, sharks have a distinguish attack pattern for some targets: The make a first strike (or one huge bite) to to make the victim weak and come back right afterwords to finish what they started as the target has now less ability to fight back -> Most human shark attack survives have been rescued right after the first attack. And that's where this myth started....[/quote]

This is not a myth. Sharks(exception Great White) as a rule do not eat people. If we thought they did there would be very few spearfishermen.

My experience is personal and having dived with many very experienced divers including Ben Cropp and Ron (filmed Jaws footage) & Valerie Taylor on Great Barrier Reef(GBR) and Coral Sea.

When spearfishing quite often the best fishing is where there is a lot of baitfish and at times current. Spearfishermen are frequently bumped (checked out by whaler sharks on the GBR whilst trying to land speared fish and protect the fish from sharks. If the water is dirty it is quite easy for a shark in its haste to beat its fellow shark to the feast and make an error. I know of a small number of spearfishermen who have been bitten by mistake - generally on arm - the shark essentially trying but not buying - sharks were definitely going for the fish and having sampled the diver did not feast on the diver although they quite capable. Dirty water with a lot of fish and shark activity is the most likely situation for such a mistake.

There is no doubt sharks prefer fish to divers/snorklers. Snorklers themselves do not attract sharks like a fisherman with wounded or bleeding fish. They generally will mind their on business perhaps checking you out as they pass by.

Do not rely on this assumption in areas frequented by great Whites - they are a different ball game.
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Old 31-12-2010, 07:18   #38
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I have gone swimming off the boat many times offshore when becalmed but it always makes me feel a bit spooky. Then last year saw a bit on the Discovery Channel about shark attacks. One case where a woman lost a leg occurred mid ocean on a research vessel when the crew went swimming.

Does seem like most cases happen closer to shore (maybe because that's were more people are available to bite?) but seems like it might happen anywhere.
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Old 31-12-2010, 15:51   #39
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skipjack,

Anything can always happen but you would have to be very ,very unlucky. But always assess your conditions at the time.

I have dived from my charter vessel with line fishermen fishing and sharks active. They were only interested in the fish.
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Old 31-12-2010, 16:13   #40
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The thought of it still causes more fear than a letter from the tax man or walking down a dark street late at night.

Swimming is scarey
Sharks are scarey

Combined is more than I want to dwell on
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Old 31-12-2010, 16:57   #41
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shark attacks are one of the rarest events on earth.. you will get struck by lighting five times before ever getting bitten/attacked by sharks

If you want to raise those odds to maybe 50-50 then maybe swim with sharks in dark/dirty waters while they are already eating!!!!

even if you swim with them while they eat, you still ahve a damn good chance of not getting attacked... they dont want you... they would only attack you by mistake...

I would love to swim with sharks, and or any other large fish... they are fascinating example of evolution...

BTW: i love the comment about making sure you dropped teh swim ladder before getting in...

Side note: I saw some 'swim decks' that attach to the back, and also 'stabilizers'... can you have a swim deck above stabilizers? and do stabilizers do much???

my biggest fear will be to jump in the water and the ship sail off with out me... and or get knocked off board or just slip and fall off... Does that happen in real life??? am i paranoid???

I think i am and really havent given it too much thought, at least not wanted to...
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Old 31-12-2010, 17:41   #42
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It maybe true that sharks don't like to eat we humans. First they must bite you to test if you're a worthy meal.
I once met a surfboarder who had been bitten by a shark and rejected. The number of teeth marks that he had acrossed his torso were unbeilivable!
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Old 31-12-2010, 17:50   #43
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Always make someone go first! Like the Goat!
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Old 31-12-2010, 18:11   #44
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Always make someone go first! Like the Goat!
prefer that the wife go first just to make sure i am safe
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Old 31-12-2010, 18:19   #45
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point taken but, i am guessing your freind was the epitomy of shark bait, i.e. wetsuit, floppin' on the surface, surrounded by others..etc....

Sharks and wile animals ned to eat, if they are hungry, they will try almost anything... I had an aquarium, and i saw fish try to eat rocks...

point is, if given the choice between rocks and other fish food, they will go for the fish food every single time...

I still want to swim with sharks, but will refrain if they are feeding... using some sense, giving iit some 'consideration' is always a good approach to things you arent familiar with...
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