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In the fifteen trips, soon to be sixteen, that I have made to the Cayman Islands I have seen a shark on two dives. One at Little Cayman and one on a night beach dive off the Coconut Harbor hotel on Grand Cayman.
Those rediculous shows about sharks is media overkill. They chum and feed the sharks to attract them to make it look like they are everywhere. Sharks don't want to have any more to do with you than you with them, unless, of course, you are handling fish.
So, enjoy your trip to the Cayman Islands and the wonderful diving there. Enjoy the prolific marine life, people life and night life. And have some conch fritters at Rackams Pub. It comes highly recommended.
NAUI Course Director
NAUI Technical Instructor
The only Cayman dive site where I've seen sharks every time is afternoon dives at The Maze, an East End site. Every afternoon dive there we've had sharks, between 3-5 black tip reef sharks. It's pretty cool actually. They come in and circle the divers, just checking us out. If you don't stay in one spot and let them check you out, they'll leave pretty quickly. Occasionally off the walls in the East End too, but from quite a distance and not too often. I've never seen more then an occassional nurse shark on the west or north side dive site.
I hope I am not being rude but this is a joke, right? JJ is pulling our leg, right??? It's almost every diver's dream to see sharks - an animal that is getting rarer and rarer every day. It used to be that in South East Asia I saw sharks on almost every dive. Now, on a weekend trip, we're lucky to see any at all. Diving in places like Sipadan, it's absolutely magical to spin around looking at the three black tips on the reef, the zebra shark sniffing around the coral, the four gray reef sharks cruising by the edge of the reef and the hammerheads far below. It doesn't get much better than that (except of course when there are so many turtles, humphead, bumpheads, octopii, etc. around that you get confused as to what to look at).
Life isn't about how to survive the storm, but how to dance in the rain.
Zippsy once bubbled... . . . it's absolutely magical to spin around looking at the three black tips on the reef, the zebra shark sniffing around the coral, the four gray reef sharks cruising by the edge of the reef and the hammerheads far below. It doesn't get much better than that (except of course when there are so many turtles, humphead, bumpheads, octopii, etc. around that you get confused as to what to look at).
Ooooh Ahhhh!! Thats what I'm talking about. Thanks for putting a picture in my head that will stay there all day!
So I got a tattoo of a turtle on my arm and a woman on the dive boat said "Oooh thats a nice tattoo. Do you like turtles?"
I am not saying that seeing a shark is something I do not want to do....I am just a little inexperienced and am wondering what, if anything, I have to be worried about. I am just worried a little about agressive behaviour of some sharks and wondering if the types of sharks I may encounter in Cayman are of any threat.
Does anyone have any negative experiences with sharks?
I realize that being atacked by a shark is quite rare...but it does happen at times....has anyone been attacked in Cayman ever that you know about?
Other than reef, nurse and the odd hammerhead...anyone seen anything else in Cayman?
Thanks alot...I am new to diving, love it, but have always been a little afraid of sharks. Thats all, I have no experience with them.
..at the Maze as mentioned earlier. It was my first and only trip (so far) to GC, so I guess if you go to the right spot, you'll see them. We were warned not to swim toward them because it would scare them off and they wouldn't return. One got within 5 ' of us. That pass actually did get my wife's heart racing a little bit, but I was actually a little surprised at how relaxed I felt. It was a grey reef shark about 6' or 7' long. Up until then, the only sharks I had ever seen were nurse sharks, which I really think of more as a huge catfish than sharks...
Our DM did tell us though, not so surface away from the boat and surface swim to the boat, but rather, to stay deeper right up until time for the safety stop, ascend (safely of course) by the boat for the stop, do the stop and then finish our ascent and get in the boat. Apparently our DM had done some snorkelling there once and was "chased" back to shore by a reef shark that seemed just a little too curious.
The dive site is right near the shop where Drew Sailbum (a board member) works.
I don't think I would worry too much about it if I were you....wish I were in your shoes!.. Hey! I'm wearing my Cayman Diving Lodge T-shirt right this minute as I type this!
Caymen Diving Lodge Rocks!!!.. Work Sucks!..I wish I were there right now...I'd probably be donning my gear for the giant stride...
My wife and I dove the East End last December and got to see the sharks at the Maze, up close and personal. We were told they tend to hang out there in the afternoons because this used to be the site of the "shark education" dives a couple of years back and they just got used to the place.
At one point during the dive, we (my wife and I only as this is not a guided dive) had five or six Carrib. Reef sharks circling us. This was way cool=-) We were lucky enough to have rented a camera that day and got some increadible picks. Be warned that you can only get so close before they "freak out" and dash off to a more comfortable distance. I learned this when trying to get a head shot and got about 1-2ft away. After feeling the tail wake from this one I respected there space more. My wife said the sharks tail just barely missed slapping me silly.
If you respect there space you should have no problem with these sharks. In fact, if I remember the stats, I don't think there has been a single shark attack on a scuba diver that wasn't provoked (chasing, feeding, etc.). The great white may be the exception to this one but they are a cool water species and I don't believe one has been seen in GC.
Have a great trip and I hope you have the chance to see these magnificent creatures.
We do occasionally see sharks and as others have said, The Maze (and adjacent sites such as Pat's Wall, Jack McKenney's Canyons, and Scuba Bowl) is the center of shark action. At other sites, it is quite rare.
The usual sharks are Caribbean Reef sharks. Rarely other species are seen at The Maze. I have seen one bull shark in that area... much to everyone's surprise. We see sharks in about one half of the dives at The Maze.
Based upon the behavior of the reef sharks in this area, it is clear that they have been conditioned to approach divers and seek out food. Shark feeding has been banned in Cayman since early 2002, but they still come. I wonder why? I have never seen any incidents.
Hammerheads are more common along the North Wall. They eat stingrays. Not surprisingly, they come into the shallows to hunt stingrays at night. They hang out in deeper water during the day.