My First Shark Encounter

by Heather
(Atlanta, GA)

I wanted to share the story of my first shark encounter. In mid-June I had the great experience to stay at one of the islands in Glover's Reef Atoll in Belize.

I knew ahead of time I would more than likely see a shark in the wild for the first time. I tried to mentally prepare myself for the likely possibility. Even though I tried, it did not work.

I was snorkeling in shallow water, 5-10 feet, with a lot of turtle grass, so visibility wasn't great. As I was approaching the boat dock area, a Nurse Shark came swimming out of the turtle grass. The shark went left, I went right and you would have thought I had just walked on water with how quickly I got out. The staff laughed at me, but it still took a bit of time to gather myself and go back out again.

Comments for My First Shark Encounter

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Aug 09, 2017
Nurse Sharks
by: Nicole & Galen

Hi Heather, of all the sharks you could see as your first one, the Nurse Shark is probably the least dangerous.

They have small mouths on the undersides of their heads that they use to suck their food out of the sand: crustaceans, small fish, mollusks.

Unless you provoke this sedentary shark, it is very unlikely to bite you. So, like we always say, look but don't touch. Leave them alone and they will leave you alone.

We usually come upon a Nurse Shark resting on the sea floor, not doing anything but breathing by flushing water through its gills. Apparently they are more actively hunting at night.

Hopefully next time you can enjoy your encounter more and observe the beautiful creature you came across snorkeling.

Aug 09, 2017
First Time I Saw a Shark When Snorkeling
by: Ivette Pieterick

We were snorkeling at Oppenheimer Bay in St John, USVI. We snorkeled slowly to find hidden sea life then, from under a reef I saw the brown tail of a Nurse Shark. I was thrilled as it came out and swam. I took a photo quickly since it swam away within a few moments.

Aug 10, 2017
Common Sight
by: Susan B

Nurse sharks are an incredibly common sight here in Florida. We see 2 or 3 almost every time we snorkel and have learned to react to them as if they were any other fish. As soon as I see those two fins close together towards the end of the tail, I breathe a sigh of relief. Of course, we would never attempt to interact with them in any way. Mostly they are sleeping under rocks. Have never encountered one that was in the least bit aggressive.

Aug 10, 2017
Nurse Shark
by: Linda

Ran into tons of Nurse Sharks off Ambergris Cay in June... Awesome and big! Actually caught one fishing (by accident), and got to feel its skin. It felt like a combo of leather and suede. We did let him go.

The coolest thing was to suddenly see a big Caribbean Manatee swimming towards and under us. It was much larger than the Homosassa, Florida River Manatees.

Aug 10, 2017
Thank you everyone!
by: Heather

Hello everyone! I did see a Nurse Shark "resting" the following day, but I was with the snorkeling guide and a group of people. It was a very neat experience. I think that in my story above it was because I was alone and not with people for that first encounter was what scared me. I probably scared the poor shark now that I think about it!

Aug 13, 2017
First Shark Encounter
by: Anonymous

I also had my first encounter with a shark at Slickrock, Glovers Atoll. Like you, it was a Nurse Shark I encountered. I knew what I was seeing and had to share with my hubs. Head out of water, unthinking, I said to Timo -- shark... The lady with us WALKED on water. Swearing like a sailor. I swear it to be true.

Last night I saw 9 Nurse sSharks. Today 4 reef sharks and 2 Tiger Sharks. The reef sharks I followed. The Tiger Sharks, adrenaline rush.

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