Sand Tiger Shark Question

Please register or login

Welcome to ScubaBoard, the world's largest scuba diving community. Registration is not required to read the forums, but we encourage you to join. Joining has its benefits and enables you to participate in the discussions.

Benefits of registering include

  • Ability to post and comment on topics and discussions.
  • A Free photo gallery to share your dive photos with the world.
  • You can make this box go away

Joining is quick and easy. Log in or Register now!

OP
rob.mwpropane

rob.mwpropane

Contributor
Messages
2,938
Reaction score
2,229
Location
Fallston, Maryland
I've dove with thousands on probably a hundred different sites minimum usually spearfishing every time and never noticed much aggression towards the diver but occasionally they will snatch an untended fish.

That being said, all bets are off when they are migrating S for the winter. They come alive and act like other sharks. I've had them follow me up the water column which is very unusual for these guys.
You both put my mind at ease and struck fear in the same breath...:)
 

clownfishsydney

Contributor
Messages
1,650
Reaction score
1,148
Location
Sydney Australia
# of dives
2500 - 4999
Sand tigers, or grey nurse sharks as we call them, are totally harmless and, at least in Australia, have never attacked a person unless provoked. We dive with them regularly on the north coast of New South Wales and also see them in Sydney, there are a couple of colonies off the city's northern and southern beaches.

They mostly swim in gutters or gullies. The legal code of practice here to dive with them is to stay to the side of the gutter and let them swim up and down. Do not get in the middle of the gutter or bloke their way. They will come as close as half a metre to you without a problem, even swimming right over top of you.

We have sites where I have seen 50 or more at a time. A great experience.
 

stuartv

Seeking the Light
Scuba Instructor
Divemaster
Messages
10,273
Reaction score
6,209
Location
Lexington, SC
# of dives
500 - 999
You can get literally INCHES away from them. At worst, they just swim away from you.

I have sat there watching as another photographer was trying to shoot up at one swimming overhead while he was completely unwittingly kicking the snot out of another one with his fins as it tried to swim past below him. The one he was kicking just gave an annoyed wiggle and took off.

If you want to get close to them, you have to ... not try to get close to them. Chill out and observe the pattern of their swimming. If they are in open water, they usually are swimming laps. Go to a spot where they will be coming and then just relax, be still, and let them come to you.

If they are in an interior space, e.g. Club Aeolus, you have to enter slowly and not going directly towards them. Otherwise, they will just leave.

As noted, they are still sharks. Do not position yourself in a way that would ever make one feel like it's being cornered. Do not try to touch them. Do not wave your hands at them.

Be cool and they will be cool. :wink:

ps. As soon as you splash, listen. You can sometimes hear what sounds like a thundercrack or a bullwhip crack. That is the sound of a Sand Tiger tail whipping when it flips around and takes off hard. You can often hear that when you splash and the sharks below realize you're coming down. The ones that don't want to be around you will be gone before you get there.


P5304388-Edited.jpg
 
OP
rob.mwpropane

rob.mwpropane

Contributor
Messages
2,938
Reaction score
2,229
Location
Fallston, Maryland
You can get literally INCHES away from them. At worst, they just swim away from you.

I have sat there watching as another photographer was trying to shoot up at one swimming overhead while he was completely unwittingly kicking the snot out of another one with his fins as it tried to swim past below him. The one he was kicking just gave an annoyed wiggle and took off.

If you want to get close to them, you have to ... not try to get close to them. Chill out and observe the pattern of their swimming. If they are in open water, they usually are swimming laps. Go to a spot where they will be coming and then just relax, be still, and let them come to you.

If they are in an interior space, e.g. Club Aeolus, you have to enter slowly and not going directly towards them. Otherwise, they will just leave.

As noted, they are still sharks. Do not position yourself in a way that would ever make one feel like it's being cornered. Do not try to touch them. Do not wave your hands at them.

Be cool and they will be cool. :wink:

ps. As soon as you splash, listen. You can sometimes hear what sounds like a thundercrack or a bullwhip crack. That is the sound of a Sand Tiger tail whipping when it flips around and takes off hard. You can often hear that when you splash and the sharks below realize you're coming down. The ones that don't want to be around you will be gone before you get there.


View attachment 689742

Awesome pic!!!! Oh man, I would have loved to have gotten that close!

I didn't expect sharks on the dive we did. Had I known, I think I would have researched it a little more beforehand (honestly though, it was in the ocean, I guess I should have done that anyway). I found myself unaware of what to do. It wasn't that I was nervous, maybe "on alert" or anxious would be a good term to use. It was breathtaking, and I really wanted to get closer, but that little "spidey sense" that's on the back of my neck that tries to save me from doing stupid things (and fails miserably) was going off. I just didn't know enough.

They were circling the wreck, and I did attempt to get close to the circle but they were coming from either direction and I didn't want to be the 1st guy to get bit by a shark off NJ in who knows how long because he was an idiot and did the one thing your not supposed to do (whatever that might have been Idk). When one started to take interest in what I was, it confirmed that I didn't know what the hell I was doing and I took a rain check and drifted up onto the wreck away from the crowd.

Next time I'll edge out into traffic, no touching, no waving (I like my fingers). See what happens.

Interesting about the sounds... I'll try to listen next time.
 

stuartv

Seeking the Light
Scuba Instructor
Divemaster
Messages
10,273
Reaction score
6,209
Location
Lexington, SC
# of dives
500 - 999
Awesome pic!!!! Oh man, I would have loved to have gotten that close!

I didn't expect sharks on the dive we did. Had I known, I think I would have researched it a little more beforehand (honestly though, it was in the ocean, I guess I should have done that anyway). I found myself unaware of what to do. It wasn't that I was nervous, maybe "on alert" or anxious would be a good term to use. It was breathtaking, and I really wanted to get closer, but that little "spidey sense" that's on the back of my neck that tries to save me from doing stupid things (and fails miserably) was going off. I just didn't know enough.

They were circling the wreck, and I did attempt to get close to the circle but they were coming from either direction and I didn't want to be the 1st guy to get bit by a shark off NJ in who knows how long because he was an idiot and did the one thing your not supposed to do (whatever that might have been Idk). When one started to take interest in what I was, it confirmed that I didn't know what the hell I was doing and I took a rain check and drifted up onto the wreck away from the crowd.

Next time I'll edge out into traffic, no touching, no waving (I like my fingers). See what happens.

Interesting about the sounds... I'll try to listen next time.

LOL Thanks!

I totally know what you mean. The first time I encountered them was diving the Aeolus, out of Morehead City, NC. I swam into "Club Aeolus" (a big room on the wreck) and there was half a dozen of them just hanging out in there. I had the same reaction you did. "Oh, $h1t!!" and backed the eff right out of there. Ha ha ha!!

Nothing wrong with warming up to them slowly. :)
 

johndiver999

Contributor
Messages
2,403
Reaction score
2,667
Location
Gainesville FL
# of dives
500 - 999
If I dug around, I could fine photos of a girl's arm which was terribly mangled by a sand tiger - before they tried to reconstruct. They may be 99% docile, but they are not necessarily harmless. You could have a worse outcome then them swimming away.
 
OP
rob.mwpropane

rob.mwpropane

Contributor
Messages
2,938
Reaction score
2,229
Location
Fallston, Maryland
If I dug around, I could fine photos of a girl's arm which was terribly mangled by a sand tiger - before they tried to reconstruct. They may be 99% docile, but they are not necessarily harmless. You could have a worse outcome then them swimming away.

Can you give more info of what the reason was? There's always the chance that there was no reason and it just happened.

I would never consider them harmless. I remember watching the video of the diver in the aquarium with one that was giving birth (at least I think it was a sand tiger). He grabbed onto the dorsal fin (I'm not sure why anyone thought that was a good idea) and she about took his hand clean off. They 100% deserve respect.
 
https://www.shearwater.com/products/swift/

Top Bottom