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Huge shark in Key West- Bull shark, white shark?

Discussion in 'Florida' started by sapphires, Aug 20, 2015.

  1. sapphires

    sapphires New


    I'm new here and I need your opinion on something- I'm a medium-experienced diver (have around 40 dives in the Caribbean, Europe and Asia) and I've seen nurse sharks, reef sharks and leopard sharks on my dives- But today, I saw something different and I'm not sure if I can believe my eyes or what I actually saw.

    Well, I'm in Key West at the moment, and I didn't go diving, but snorkeling. We went by boat, the trip took around one hour and we snorkeled very far from the shore (the next shore wasn't Key West but some small inhabited island I guess) in shallow water (I'd say max depth of 5 meters). I'm not sure what the spot was called exactly, but there was kind of a reef which looked quite dead, a couple of fish (nothing impressive) and some remains of a sunk boat/ship. I snorkeled far from the other snorkelers (I hate crowds) and for the first half an hour I didn't see anything but some fish here and there, then in moment I turned my head to the right and I saw a huge shark, not even 10 feet away. It didn't swim fast, but very slow (as if it was stopping to take a look at me), maybe one meter below the surface. As mentioned, I've seen nurse sharks, leopard sharks and reef sharks before and it didn't look like any of them. It was more massive, and much bigger, than any shark I have ever seen before, and it had a dark body. I almost got a heart attack, turned around and swam back to the boat as fast as I could. Now I regret a little bit that I didn't take another look, haha, but I was really frightened.

    My first thoughts were- Bull shark or white shark (I know they look different, but I'm not a shark expert and when I saw it I turned around immediately). Considering how big and massive it was I thought it could only be a bull, tiger or white shark. The boat captain told me it's impossible that it was a tiger shark because there aren't really tiger sharks around the keys. Another boat employee didn't even seem to believe me, she said she has only seen once a bull shark in her entire time here in Key West (a few years).

    So- Any guesses what I might have seen? What's the most likely? Was it probably a bull shark? Or maybe even a white shark? Or any other guesses? And considering this encounter, might it actually be dangerous to snorkel around there? I was never scared or worried while diving, but snorkeling on the surface, well.

    Thanks a lot!
  2. diversteve

    diversteve always tired Rest in Peace ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
  3. mntlblok

    mntlblok Contributor

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Pompano Beach. FL
    Nurse sharks can be pretty darn big, and that would be the most likely one to be in that shallow water in the Keys, I would think.
  4. Randy g

    Randy g Contributor

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Virginia Beach, Va
    And remember, everything looks 25% bigger than they really are underwater.

    All three types are all around Florida. It's a big ocean!! Although Tigers are very distinctive with the stripes.
  5. sportxlh

    sportxlh Contributor

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: formerly Palm Beach Gardens, FL: now Atlanta
    Could be a bull, but reef sharks can get pretty big too. They don't have the girth of a bull shark but once any shark gets to 7 feet long (and with the magnifying effect of the water), it will look huge to a startled diver. I've not seen many reef sharks longer than 5 feet, but they are out there (at least according to Wikipedia, the source for all accurate information on the internet)
  6. danvolker

    danvolker Contributor

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Lake Worth, Florida, United States
    If you ever find yourself in the water and suddenly facing a large shark again....keep in mind that to most predators, if an animal it sees is running, it is FOOD...:)
    You don't want to haul butt back to the boat. You want to keep your eyes on the shark, and act calm...and swim with deliberate, efficient and slow kicks....obviously no thrashing as a panicked diver might do with more of swimming pool style crawl , splashing alot and a poor choice of technique for this.
  7. hilljo88

    hilljo88 ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: nyc
  8. pendwyr

    pendwyr New

    Jaguar Shark?

    Sent from my SM-G900I using Tapatalk
  9. CajunDiva

    CajunDiva Contributor

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: South Louisiana
    While I would agree that it probably wasn't a tiger, you just never know. Great whites are definitely around the keys - I saw a good video of one seen on the wreck of the Duane.

    That's what's so darned awesome about scuba diving - you just never know what you might encounter! It's nice to have a forum like ScubaBoard to share and compare with other divers :D
  10. Johnoly

    Johnoly Contributor

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Near surface, Warm water with low viz & lots of plankton, slow "stopping" movement, "dark body" & HUGE SHARK = Basking

    Last edited: Aug 22, 2015

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