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Hi Wendy, we were free diving out at the Kittiwake and got to the shark just after the Scuba divers got out of the water. What an amazing experience. I can't comment about what happened while there were Scuba divers in the water but while we were free diving the shark seemed completely calm and wasn't bothered by the human traffic at all (granted we weren't giving off any bubbles). We were watching it for close to 30 minutes. It seemed intrigued by the dive boat and was swimming around it and under it. When the boat switched on its engines and left the shark lost interest and slowly swum out over the wall and dropped out of sight. Some of the pics with divers holding onto the fin don't look great, but considering the shear size of the shark I don't think they were bothering it all that much. It might be a good idea if all the dive operators got together and decided on rules of engagement for future sightings, but I wouldn't be to hard on the divers that were in the water at the time, as it was a pretty overwhelming experience and everyone got a little excited. I hope Wally pops around for another visit and that you are lucky enough to find him.
"but considering the shear size of the shark I don't think they were bothering it all that much."
Definitely a no no to touch the sharks skin, let alone grab the fin. Been shown to cause damage which can lead to disease. Thats why in almost every area of the world where they frequent there are strict laws forbidding touching them. They are a species in trouble, we need all of them to survive and breed.
But to me I don't think the divers should be given a pass. They had to know your not supposed to ride on the back of a marine animal.
Some of the pics with divers holding onto the fin don't look great, but considering the shear size of the shark I don't think they were bothering it all that much. It might be a good idea if all the dive operators got together and decided on rules of engagement for future sightings, but I wouldn't be to hard on the divers that were in the water at the time, as it was a pretty overwhelming experience and everyone got a little excited.
In Belize intentionally touching a Whaleshark could result in a U.S.$5000 fine!
irishtn, I hear what you're saying, but think still think it will be more productive if the dive operators just set some rules among themselves and manage such encounters better in the future. These sharks are very rare in these waters and not everyone knows how to behave during such an unexpected event. I don't know about you, but I've also done some stupid things while diving over the years. You learn from it and don't do it again! It just seems counter productive to start having a go at some divers who had no malicious intent, but were just acting in ignorance. Set some guidelines and educate our divers and we won't have this problem in the future. Hey, I'm just glad they called us over to come have a look. I still can't get the smile off my face. EPIC.
One of the problems with Cayman is that there are two very distinct sets of rules when it comes to marine life. Many places around the island you're not supposed to touch anything (that's why they don't allow gloves), and then there's Stingray City & Sandbar...
To add to it, the Kittiwake is almost promoted like it's a Disney ride. I was there recently and they were having a scavenger hunt. Even though I have always avoided touching things and been super cautious, it lulled me into a false sense of security. I came this close (holds fingers up) to sticking my hand in a young moray's mouth feeling around for one of the tokens.
I'm also concerned about what dive op it was. Last I knew Kittiwake dives were all supposed to be guided, so someone who knew better should have been there.
Last edited by billinwilliamston; March 20th, 2012 at 10:43 AM.
Reason: Can't type, can't spell.