Shark Encounter

14 years 7 months ago #3891 by chrisinmanly
Shark Encounter was created by chrisinmanly
"About 1km off of North Steyne. It must have been 5 - 6m. The dorsal fin was a metre out of the water and the shark was still well below the surface!

I fell in about a minute after we saw it!!!!!"

This is an email from a paddling friend who was paddling around Manly (Sydney), last week. It has got me wondering if there any best practices around what to do when we encounter a shark? Is it best to try and hit the shark around the eyes if it comes at you or is it best to stay still? What is the best cause of action if you fall in during the encounter?

Does anyone have any good advice around the topic?

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14 years 7 months ago #3892 by [email protected]
For a description on some shark incidents in South Africa, see:

In the "related links" box on the right of the page, there are some other stories too.

In the course of researching some of the stories, I spoke to some experts on Great White sharks and they said, basically:

- Sharks are inquisitive, and most "incidents" can be attributed to the sharks simply "investigating".
- Sharks are like any other predator and react (like cats for example) to signs of panic. If you're in the water with a shark, it's better to swim towards it rather than away from it.
- Sharks are individuals. 99.9% will come look at a ski, realise that it's not a prey object and will move on. But there are individuals who'll want to mouth the ski to see what it is.

One of the researchers, Alison Kock, who has been working with GW sharks here in False Bay for years, has been experimenting with "critter cams" which attach to the sharks dorsal fin. After a couple of hours the camera releases itself, you pick it up and you can see what the shark was up to. She said it was fascinating to see just how inquisitive the animals are - the camera shows them checking out all kinds of things from kelp to plastic bags.

I have seen precisely one shark in 8 years (shat myself at the time but be that as it may) and had one come and look at me (spotted by a buddy who said the fin came within 3m of the back of the ski). But I am certain that they come and check us out all the time.

What to do when a shark comes up? Don't act like frightened prey! Either stop paddling and raft together, or continue gently - but don't panic and start thrashing the water. If you're in the water, stay close to the ski, draw your legs up so they're not hanging down. Get out of the water!

And, as one of the researchers said, if you see a shark, "enjoy the moment!" It's rare enough to see them, might as well appreciate it! They are magnificent (if scary) animals!


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14 years 7 months ago #3893 by Paul101
Replied by Paul101 on topic Re:Shark Encounter
Well, firstly I would say, stay in the boat!
I am by no means an expert on sharks but I would think that the last thing you would want to do is pick a fight with a shark in his environment!
I watched an episode of mythbusters (authority on everything) where they took a swim with some sharks and the sharks definitely showed less interest in them when they stayed still as opposed to thrashing around.
That said, if a shark has decided that he needs to taste you, obviously remaining still and calm isn?t going to do you any good and so trying give him a sound beating with a paddle prob won?t hurt.
Would make one hell of a good story for the pub though if you get it right :)

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