Hammerheads. Kurkap Island, Maluku, Indonesia, October 2015.
Hammerheads. Kurkap Island, Maluku, Indonesia, October 2015.

They Hammer Me With Joy

#Indonesia

Dear English-speaking readers, this page is an automatic Google translation from a post originally written in French. My apologies for the weird sentences and the funny mistakes that could have been generated during the process. If you can read French, the original and correct version can be found here:

  Indonesia: Banda + Raja Ampat - October 2015

Hammerhead sharks make fantasies for diving fans. These sharks have mouths, it must be said. I met them (again) during a fabulous cruise in Indonesia.

The year of the hammers

In July 2015, I had glimpsed them - furtively - during a dive south of Lombok, the neighboring island of Bali, at the famous site called The Magnet.

Three months later, I had the chance to cross hammerhead sharks again, in Indonesia (again), on a diving cruise aboard Waow, in the east of the archipelago, in Banda Sea. This time, the show is less stealthy!

Hammerhead shark bank. Maluku, Indonesia, October 2015.
Hammerhead shark bank. Maluku, Indonesia, October 2015.
Hammerheads. Kurkap Island, Maluku, Indonesia, October 2015.
Hammerheads. Kurkap Island, Maluku, Indonesia, October 2015.

This year 2015 is definitely the year of the hammers, in my little diving life ...

Waow burningUpdated 2018. The Waow, this magnificent dive-cruise boat aboard which I had the chance to embark on in 2015, no longer exists ... 😢 He unfortunately burned and sank, in Cenderawasih Bay, Indonesia, at night January 31 to February 1, 2018. I refer you to the message posted on their Facebook page and on their site.

That said, question underwater photos, I'm not spoiled: at each of our outputs "hammers", from the archipelago of Banda to the island of Kurkap, the visi is rather rotten and my autofocus skates, unable to handle the focus in this water loaded ...

The Waow route for this cruise, from Ambon to Sorong.
The Waow route for this cruise, from Ambon to Sorong.

(For non-divers: the "visibility" under water can be very changeable and vary from a few meters to more than 25m, from one site to another, from one day to another, sometimes even from one hour to another, depending on the particles and plankton in suspension, related to currents, tides, weather, etc.). Sharks are only seen at the very last moment, they seem to emerge from the greenish blue "fog" of the water.

So, I have not managed to make a single photo of hammerhead sharks ... I must admit that Indonesian waters are probably not the most suitable for photographing these animals - and I was blown by promising names like Galapagos, Cocos Island, Bahamas ... So many destinations to register on my "bucket list" diver!

In short, the only images that I have to offer you are actually screenshots, from the film made by the videographer of the Waow, Steffan Kilbywho managed to get closer to them than me. With his permission, I give you an excerpt below.

Face-to-face with the sharks

I have fond memories of my first real face-to-face encounter with a big hammer at the Karang Hatta site in the Banda archipelago at the start of the cruise. He appeared in the middle of the blue boiling water, right in my line of sight, but spun at once without asking for his rest. No time to shoot him ... Frustrating.

After the dive, Refly, guide on the Waow, offers itself well as a model of substitution. But, how to say ... It's a lot less impressive. : lol:

One of our guides, Refly, disguised as a hammerhead shark ...: D
One of our guides, Refly, disguised as a hammerhead shark ...
Do you know the sign of divers to report hammers?
Do you know the sign of divers to report hammers?

Many times, during our various dives in Banda Sea, we will encounter hammers. But you have to get away from the reef and go palmer in the "blue" to hope to see them ... Sharks patrol nearby, in number. But the weight of my bulky cameraI do not pad fast enough and scuba divers are often luckier than me to see a hammer bank in the distance.

The most polished among us manage to get close enough, especially around Kurkap, a small isolated island of Moluccas, between Banda Sea and Sea of Seram.

Hammerheads. Kurkap Island, Maluku, Indonesia, October 2015.
Hammerheads. Kurkap Island, Maluku, Indonesia, October 2015.

As for me, the only time I find myself really close to a hammer, at a distance finally making a potentially fabulous image is ... just 5m from the surface, at the end of the dive, at the landing! Unbelievable…

It was in the Banda archipelago, at the Karang Hatta site again, where we dive several times in a row. A very big shark suddenly burst in front of us, really when we least expected it.

Surprised, I widen the eyes behind my mask, understanding that it is indeed a hammer, again: I quickly distinguish the flattened jaws, I see the left eye that eyeing me, a massive body, powerful, d an almost coppery gray, the lateral movement of a long tapered tail ... The whole scrolls to 3-4 meters from me ... Waooooow! ! ! 😮

A large shark shark, intimidated, away from divers ... Moluccas, Indonesia, October 2015.
A large shark shark, intimidated, away from divers ... Moluccas, Indonesia, October 2015.

The time to turn the camera, to try a focus, to start the video mode, the beast is already more than a vague shadow of shark in the bluish fog ...

But I'm still amazed. This kind of meeting is both impressive and magical. See evolving so closely, even a short time, such animal, it's worth all the reports of National Geographic ! The hammers really delighted our first dives.

Return of the divers aboard the Waow. Maluku, Indonesia, October 2015.
Return of the divers aboard the Waow. Maluku, Indonesia, October 2015.

Sharks and men

My non-divers do not really understand the crazy excitement that catches me in the midst of these animals.

When I return from Indonesia, I have to explain to a colleague, a little taken aback by my enthusiasm, that no, it is not dangerous. That the sharks are not bloodthirsty animals who throw themselves like furious molosses on every human being close to them. That on the contrary, in scuba-diving, it is often difficult to approach them, because they are rather frightened in front of a palanquée continually releasing strings of bubbles noisy and scintillating. I can see that what I say surprises him.

→ See: all my shark articles

Hammerheads. Kurkap Island, Maluku, Indonesia, October 2015.
Hammerhead sharks near Kurkap. Maluku, Indonesia, October 2015.

My sister was convinced, most seriously in the world, that a shark facing a man almost inevitably attacked him. And I, naively, thought that everyone had understood - since the time - that Spielberg's film, Jaws (1975), was fiction.

But no. Most people are unaware of the actual behavior of sharks. And the spirits remain marked by the terrible facts of surfers and swimmers bitten by sharks, as in the meeting or in Australia. These dramas are fortunately very rare and sharks kill much less than mosquitoes, crocodiles, bees or snakes. But the sea is a wild environment, impossible to domesticate. There will always be areas and certain conditions that pose a risk for bathers and surfers.

My green minute

As a result, sharks are not about to inspire as many good feelings as baby seals, even though they are victims of hallucinating overfishing - mainly for their fins, allegedly aphrodisiacs, which end up in soup in Asia and are traded profitably.

We do not realize it, we are earthly, but these marine super-predators are essential to the balance of the ocean ecosystem. Himself vital to the planet. If they disappear, we are bad.

Nala Cat and her shark cap. More than 2.5 million subscribers on Instagram ...
Nala Cat and her shark cap. More than 2.5 million subscribers on Instagram ...

I know that between a shark and a cute cat, people will always prefer a cute cat ...

But I prefer the shark not cute, alive and big as possible, a sign that he has managed to reach a certain maturity that will allow him to reproduce.

One thing is certain, when there are no more sharks in the oceans, it will be the beginning of the end. Beans, cute cats and humans.

In short, I am very happy to have crossed as many, sharks, during this cruise aboard the Waow. It comforts. In addition to the hammers, we met classic black tip sharks, one or two fox sharks with their huge whip-tails and, in the Raja Ampat archipelago, a lot of carp sharks or wobbegongs and even a shy bamboo shark "walker" ... What hope.

Bamboo shark "walker".
Bamboo shark "walker".
Wobbegong, or "bearded carpet shark".
Wobbegong, or "bearded carpet shark".

 

I was the guest of Waow from October 27 to November 8, 2015, for this diving cruise called "Secrets of Seram". All opinions expressed here remain 100% mine. 

  Indonesia: Banda + Raja Ampat - October 2015

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