Whitetips return to Elphinstone

Report from Fraser's dive instructors, Paul Vinten and Lisa Gates

We’ve just finished another trip to the Brothers & Elphinstone, and to our great pleasure, we have discovered that the Oceanic Whitetip sharks are back at Elphinstone!

First thing in the morning we had one shark circling the boat. For the second dive we dived on the south plateau and encountered no less than three sharks hanging around together.

Last September/October we had four sharks here for about six weeks, so we can only hope that their earlier appearance this year means they might stay for longer.

The Oceanic Whitetip - some interesting facts and figures

 a large, heavily built shark growing up to 390cm, rarely found over three metres in length, and weighing about 65kg.
 found world-wide in oceanic tropical and warm-temperate waters to a depth of 200m.
 feeds mainly on oceanic bony fishes, cephalopods, turtles, sea birds and floating garbage.
 catches its prey by using its lower, pointed teeth to hold its catch, while the upper, wider teeth act as a saw, cutting out pieces of flesh.
 can be very aggressive and unpredictable when they sense food.
 colour varies from grey to beige or even bronze with a white under belly.
 a slow moving, perpetually swimming species, but with short bursts of activity.
 usually a solitary shark, it is very bold and very persistent in investigating potential food sources and for this reason must be considered a potentially dangerous shark.
 considered to be the top oceanic predator ahead of the blue and silky shark – the two other main open ocean predators, often dominating them when it comes to sources of food.
 give birth early in the summer to as many as 15 live young of about 70cm in length following a gestation period of 12 months.
 attacks on humans have been recorded, although mainly in association with plane crashes, shipwrecks etc.
 considered to be one of the four most dangerous sharks to humans, not taking into account the number of divers who encounter these animals without any detrimental effect whatsoever!
 no known cases of attacks on divers but, nevertheless, this shark must be treated with the utmost respect.

Pics by Paul Vinten



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This page contains a single entry by Bryony published on August 18, 2004 12:53 PM.

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