On my first boat dive the last thing I wanted to hear was, "Do you want to go see a shark in a cave?" Everyone else on the boat seemed enthusiastic so I kept my "Heck no!" to myself. I was totally relieved when the cave was empty. I began to dive several times a week and after about 10 more times of going to the cave to see the shark and the cave being empty, I really started wanting to see a shark.
By the time I finally got to see a shark I had begun to play around with a Nikonos III underwater camera. I laugh to myself looking back at the first couple of rolls of film I shot because they all have the edge of my instructors shoulder in the fore ground. Sort of like, "Yeah, I'm right behind ya boss!"
The little shark in most of the photos on this page was only about 4 feet long and for a few months could be found in the same cave nearly every time we dove that location. At some point we heard a diver had tried to clip and remove the hook from his mouth, but only succeeded in frightening the poor little guy and we never saw him again.
White tip reef sharks are generally harmless and don't normally approach humans. Accidents are known to have happened, but almost always because of harassment from divers and swimmers, or from divers spear fishing at night drawing them to the blood in the water during their feeding time.
Whitetip reef sharks give birth to live little pups, usually one to five per litter. They average about a foot and a half to two feet long at birth. Both males and females reach sexual maturity when they are about 5 years old and a length of about 3½ feet.
Whitetip Oceanics on the other hand, bare little resemblance to the reef shark except in name. They are quite aggressive creatures. We would come upon them occasionally in the company of a pod of pilot whales a couple of miles off shore. They seem to hang around the whales hoping to scavenge some scraps of whatever they might be feeding on, usually deep sea octopus and squid.
There were no sharks in the vicinity the day I took this picture, but a couple of these pilot whales had huge tentacles hanging out of their mouths. We were able to retrieve a piece one of them dropped and found it amazing that each of the suction cups were lined with what appeared to be teeth. After some research at the library I learned that thre tentacles were those of a deep water squid.
I had been diving 5 years before I got to see a Hammerhead. It felt very magical and I was so in awe that I began to swim slowly towards him.
As he slowly disappeared into the distance I realized I had completely forgotten about my camera.
The day I finally got lucky, I was on a large boat with 15 other people, just outside the harbor of South Kohala, enjoying a surface interval after a deep dive. We had all been fortunate enough to get hired to do some U/W work for the FX crew making the movie, Waterworld. In spite of all the noise and commotion that had been going on that day, a baby whale shark appeared next to the boat. It was about 20 feet in length; as adults they get quite a bit larger.
My love of diving and marine life inspired me to create a line
of dolphin and whale treasure boxes. I am still working on an idea
for a shark box. See the treasure box link below.