Not just a
huge collection of
Elasmodiver.com contains images of sharks, skates, rays, and a few
chimaera's from around the world. Elasmodiver began as a simple web
to help divers find the best places to encounter the different
species of sharks and rays that live in shallow water but it has
slowly evolved into a much larger project containing information on
all aspects of shark diving and shark photography.
now more than 10,000 shark pictures and sections on shark
evolution, biology, and conservation. There is a large library of
reviewed shark books, a constantly updated shark taxonomy page, a
monster list of shark links, and deeper in the site there are
numerous articles and stories about shark encounters. Elasmodiver is
now so difficult to check for updates, that new information and
pictures are listed on an Elasmodiver Updates Page that can be
dreaming. I must be, or perhaps I've died and gone to shark heaven. I'm hanging
in the blue water under Jim and Anna Abernethy's live aboard the MV Shearwater.
Two Great Hammerhead sharks are circling me and a handful of other lucky divers.
One of the hammers is timid, perhaps 10 feet or so and lost at the edge of
visibility. A ghost shark. It cruises in for the occasional close pass, teasing
us with its slow undulating head-swings as it effortlessly slips through the
water. The second hammer, a female and the larger and bolder of the two
approaches fearlessly and cutting through the ever present reef sharks
nonchalantly winds its way in towards the bait suspended at the surface. Opening
its jaws wider than appears possible it clamps down hard, thrashes twice and
swings away gulping down its prize to the delight of the surrounding divers.
Four sets of strobes flash like under water fire crackers. She cruises away but
soon turns and comes back at us for another run. Lungs burning I stifle the urge
to breath as she closes in closer and closer. She comes straight at me serenely,
non threatening, and just before she carves away I squeeze the shutter and am
rewarded with a head on image of long spiky fins radiating from a muscular
central core. This view of her reminds me of an undersea mine and has the same
explosive power. She passes overhead and lunges at the bait once again. She is a
player; a photographers dream shark.
she circles us perhaps curious but never with malice and striving for that
quintessential Hammerhead shot I position myself just down current from the bait
and tread water in the chum slick wary of reef sharks which constantly harass
me. The Reef sharks which are up to around seven feet long look like toys as the
Hammer drifts back in for another serving. One bad tempered reef shark
repeatedly nips at my strobes and fins. I'm hit from behind and pushed deeper.
Jim later tells me that it was the same shark that had circled behind me and
taken a bite at my first stage.
drift away in the current with the hammer and look back to see the boat fading
into the fog. Time to grab a final glimpse and start the long kick back to the
Shearwater. I turn and there in front of me is a vividly striped tiger shark
cruising across my field of vision. Beyond it the Hammer's long caudal fin
snakes away into the mist. I hover breathless composing my shot and snap two
frames before this timid shark with its ferocious reputation slips away back to
its hidden life. Heaven.
4 dives and 6 hours in the cool winter seas of the outer Bahamas I struggle back
onto the boat spent and utterly sated.
night, our last of seven shark swept days we swim in bottomless water with
hunting spotted dolphins, clumsily mimicking their antics. I float alone in the
dark and my mind drifts back to the days earlier encounters. At no time during
the whole experience did I feel even mildly threatened by these powerful but
docile giants. Looking down now into the blackness I feel a shiver of doubt and
climb back onboard and lay back satisfied to watch the stars as the shearwater
pulls anchor and heads for home.