12 May 2010


So many times when Brett and I have headed out for a dive, he's said "I hope we see a hammerhead," to which I've often replied, "I hope we don't!" Today, he got his wish. We actually had several shark sitings throughout the dive, starting with a small reef shark that came over to greet us as soon as we arrived at the wall. He startled me a little bit because he was moving swiftly towards us... and then Brett started me when he began swimming right back at it with only his camera as a buffer between them. But the little guy was harmless. In fact, there was a school of rainbow runners playfully swimming circles around him.

Reef Shark and Co.

So we watched them for a short while and then turned left to continue our dive towards "the grotto", and were even greeted by a couple of other reef sharks along the way. I spent a good portion of the dive admiring the many angel fish and scanning sponges for a (pea-sized) juvenile smooth trunk fish, and Brett worked on expanding his underwater photo portfolio. I think we saw about 3 lionfish too.


After leaving the wall and heading back towards the boat, Brett stopped to get a picture of a huge channel crab that was hanging out under a coral overhang.

Channel Crab

He was intently shooting away, and I was sort of hovering by him when I looked up to find another shark swimming straight towards me. This one was no little reef shark though. It was HUGE. And funny looking. (That was my first thought.) I even wondered for a split second if it could have been pregnant... I was so focused on its oversized belly. But when my gaze shifted up slightly, I realized - without a doubt - that I was looking right into the eyes of a Great Hammerhead. And it was looking right back at me.

I started banging on my tank to get Brett's attention. There was a third diver with us too, but she had already spotted it. Brett, however, was still enamoured by the crab and ignoring my noise-making. He said later that he heard me and guessed that I wanted to show him something, but just thought to himself, "I really want to get this shot... I'll see whatever it is in a second." Little did he know that what I wanted to show him presented much more exciting photo opportunities than what he was looking at. Once the hammerhead was within probably 15 feet of us, it sleepily turned to the right and sauntered off. It was apparently mildly curious about us, but then didn't find anything to hold its attention. Brett did finally look up in time to see the hammerhead, and he took this photo as it swam away.

Great Hammerhead

(Close up)

So exciting! I still wouldn't say that I "hope" to see a hammerhead on my next dive, but I'm thrilled to have seen one! And (more to the point) to have lived to tell about it!

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