Sharks!!

 
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We get quite a few hunters on the Kyalami and normally we drop them separate from the sight see-ers so that the divers that just want to take pictures or video don’t have to be around spearguns and so they don’t have to witness any fish getting shot in front of them. I’m not a hunter but do eat fish and respect the spearfishermen (and women) that will shoot only what they’ll eat and not just shoot to kill for pleasure.

A while back I ended up with some of the hunters, we were on the same line along the Jupiter ledge and since my other divers had already gone up I stayed with the hunters so they would have the flag marking them in the water. We came upon an area that is packed with all kinds of big black and gag groupers so I was interested to see if anyone would get any and sure enough one diver got in a good shot and got a good size black grouper. It was big, no doubt there if it was legal size. I don’t like it when someone shoots undersized fish since they won’t be able to keep them so now they’ve gotten killed for nothing. The good hunters always say that if you’re in doubt, don’t shoot. Give the fish a chance to grow up and shoot it another day. I appreciate that and luckily we hardly ever have anyone shoot fish that aren’t legal diving with us on the Kyalami. But this particular grouper was plenty big and as the diver pulled it in to put it on his stringer a cloud of fish blood was flowing with the current.

I looked up to see if anyone would show up for a free meal and sure enough several candidates showed up to check out what the smell of blood was all about. I counted about 4 reef sharks along the top of the main ledge, a big goliath grouper in the sand, and a nurse shark that was accompanied by a green moray eel free swimming along the ledge in our direction. Everyone showed up for the party! The hunter had put the grouper on the stringer and since it was the end of the dive anyways everyone headed up and made sure to look down and around regularly to make sure that the reef sharks wouldn’t follow and try to take their free meal. The sharks circled around the group of divers but luckily the boat was very close by to pick us up. Don’t think the sharks like the engine that much and as soon as the fish is out of the water they disappear.

Was very interesting to watch this kind of change in behavior when there’s blood in the water. I’ve heard plenty of stories of spearfishermen that had to give up their catch because of these small reef sharks not giving up, they can act very nasty. Not necessarily something that I would like to find out first hand so I think I’ll stick with taking pictures and videos of the sharks when there’s no blood in the water.. 

 

-Anne

Anne Hill