August 12th, 2011

shark species week #6

Oceanic blacktip shark near the surface, Aliwal Shoal, South Africa

Nikon D300 + Nikkor 10.5mm, Pro One Dome Port, natural light

this image is not cropped and not color-corrected, technically it's just scaled down embedded JPEG

Location on Google Maps

Wikipedia reference

Moving along shark hierarchy again - this time to see our old friend which was star during my first "Week of..." sequence. Oceanic blacktip shark, one of the common pelagic sharks which can be found in the coastal warm waters in Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans. Theoretically it can grow up to 3 meters long, however it's rare and most specimens stay little bit below 2m in size. So far I met blacktip sharks only in South Africa, where it is probably most frequent sighting - I can't get bored with them though, always looking for new ways observe behavior and to make nice pictures of these beauties ;).

Oceanic blacktips are responsible for numerous attacks on scuba divers, which are fortunately never result in serious wounds. They can be very curious and travel in groups. Also blacktip shark is one of the major characters in annual Sardine Run drama - most of sharks you see on bait balls are them.

I can't walk past this insanely comical piece of Russian political news - especially when it's related to the world of diving - here is Telegraph take on it - and another one in Russian here ! Mr. Putin is closing gap with "favorite leader" Kim Jong Il very quickly now, by leading people and doing everything himself on every front ! And of course he is very successful in every small deed - I wish we can have Mr. Putin on The Sardine Run next year - I'm sure he can build bait balls purely with his will power, as well as to summon army of Bryde's whales just by moving his eyebrows ! It's strange to remember now that about 8-9 years ago I actually was fan of him, thinking that this guy is the somewhat noble and honest leader which is good for Russia. Hopefully rising Russian opposition driven by Internet personas like navalny will not allow bunch of thiefs and liars to take helm of the country during elections in less than one year now ! However considering traditional slave mentality still prevailing in Russia - just remember recent "mass garbage collection" episode from last week - I can't be very sure that they will be 100% successful.

shark species #7

Bronze whaler shark approaching diver, Wild Coast, South Africa

Nikon D300 + Nikkor 12-24mm, Marumi +2 diopter, Pro One dome port, strobes Sea&Sea YS-250x2

this image is 5% cropped from the left and bottom, very slight contrast adjustment in Lightroom

Location on Google Maps

Wikipedia reference

It is second week of "shark species week" and I'm not even half way through - so I thought I can do two posts today for a change, especially because these two species are somewhat related in the way that they are often confused, even by experienced divers ! Bronze whaler, or copper shark may look similar in shape to blacktip shark, but it's usually much bigger, sometimes exceeding 3m in length - also it tends to have sharper nose and most distinctively - position of pectoral fins is more advanced to the front comparing to the lead edge of the dorsal. Bronze whalers live in coastal pelagic areas around the world warm oceans similarly to blacktip sharks.

My first encounter with bronze whaler was during my first bait ball dive in 2008 in South Africa. After I entered water I was instantly approached by huge 2.5+ m shark checking me out and bumping into my camera. This is how we meet - and since when we are good friends - bronze whalers are definitely one of my favorite species ! :-)