We had a shark trail in our wake for most of a night and into the next day when we sailed up from Tahiti
. We were only doing about 3-4 knots. Big bugger, probably 10' plus just lazily swam along about 10 feet aft of the stern. Don't know whether he expected to grow and be able to eat our boat or what as we certainly didn't feed or chum for him to hang about. Kind of a creepy feeling with it hanging out back there. Got to wondering if it knew something we didn't know about the seaworthiness of our boat.
Snorkeling in the Tuamotus was always an interesting experience with sharks. Almost always had a couple of white tip reef and nurse sharks milling about. One time I was spearing fish across the lagoon
from the village. I'd speared a couple of fish and had them on a stringer and was looking for more when my wife, who was rowing along in our dinghy
, started yelling at me. I'd been so intent on chasing fish hadn't noticed that I'd drawn a crowd. There were a bunch, quit counting at 20, and growing number of 4'-6' long reef sharks eyeing the fish on my stringer.
To keep my wife happy, quit spearfishing and went walking around the motu. Just as we were about to step into a shallow tidal stream draining a small pond on the motu, a 3'-4' shark came wriggling across headed for deeper water. The water was less than a foot deep so the sharp had to wiggle and thrash about for 10' or more to propel itself over the coral
and through the extremely shallow water. Don't think yourself safe from sharks unless your feet are dry. We found out later the locals never spear fished there because of all the sharks that hung around.
We got so blase about sharks that I even used to wake them up and chase them away if they interfered with my fishing
. Sharks are wary of aggressive neighbors possibly because they are used to being the threatening one. Of course, you have to be aware of what variety of shark you are dealing with. The reef sharks are virtually harmless. There were a bunch of Italians on a Swan 65 in one anchorage. They were always trying to spear the reef sharks. One guy managed to spear one but it was only a flesh wound and the shark began to swim off. The Italian didn't want to lose his spear so wouldn't cut the line. He continued to hold onto the gun while the shark towed him behind. After a short tow, the shark had had enough, circled back and took a nip at the guys thigh. It was just a love bite as it only left a few teeth marks. It did get the guys attention and he let go of the spear gun after which the shark swam off.
If you see a big one with stripes down the side, might want to exit the water. A little shark identification course for any serious skin/scuba diver wouldn't hurt. Only a few species are known to be unprovoked maneaters, tiger, hammerhed and, of course, great whites are some of the dangerous species. Normally you don't have to worry about Great whites. They come out of nowhere and cut you in half without warning. Always wondered how they get their victims out of the wet suit as the uninhabited wet suit is usually the only confirmation of a great white attack.