Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Encounter with a tiger shark

On a scuba dive in 'Eua, I was making my way through a maze of towering coral heads on the northern reef. The visibility here is up to fifty metres, in clear blue water ... the profusion of fish life is breath-taking, and on an average dive you might see a dozen different species; clown fish, angel fish, butterfly fish, pipe fish ... a batch of piscine licorish all-sorts, created by some kind of divine art director in a fit of inspiration.

At about twelve metres, my dive buddy tapped me on the shoulder. I turned around to find a two metre tiger shark, mottled and quite still in the water column behind us.

The poised beauty of the creature was what struck me ... this animal is near threatened, and is the second most dangerous species to humans, after the great white shark. This has lead to indiscriminate culling, which when combined with over-fishing for its fins has wiped out large numbers of this magnificent species.

After he had inspected us, the shark swam off. I was reminded that this is the shark's natural domain, not ours ... My dive buddy snapped this pic ...

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