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:
Those who follow me on Facebook have already seen the video in preview... 🦈 Having the chance to observe a shark (or several), during a dive, it always makes the heart beat a little stronger. But film him the back of the eye, because he decided to stick to the dome of your lens photo ... how to say ... It's an experience that I'm not about to forget! ! !
A meeting as intense as unexpected
I let you admire this meeting totally unexpected, intense, such as I lived, with this longiman shark... It was November 13, 2017, at the very end of the dive, at the Habili Ali (Saint John's Reef) site in the southern Red Sea, Egypt.
After an hour of immersion with my pairs of the day Anu and Alain, I discover, at the time of the security stop, a long-legged shark is there, to turn flush with the surface.
There are other divers around us, from another cruise ship than ours. Everyone is fascinated by the show. The shark passes and goes under the boats, more interested than scared by the divers.
A very curious shark
In this month of November 2017, I embarked, as in 2016 at the same time, for a "diving-photo-apnea" cruise, organized by my friends Phil Simha and Rémy Dubern, aboard theExocet. Thanks to them, in 2016, I had already been able to observe the behavior of longimans, in the Brothers Islands:
With this first experience, I'm not particularly worried this time around. On the contrary. I look forward to our luck because the site where we are, Habili Ali, one of the reefs of the marine reserve that make up the famous St. John's Reefs, does not have the reputation of being a "corner of longis".
I am therefore very enthusiastic, but also very vigilant: I know the very (very) curious nature of these sharks, and their propensity, especially here in the Red Sea, to come and inspect the webbed human beings very closely.
But I do not know yet, at the moment when all these thoughts cross my mind in the face of this solitary shark, how much I just see ... 👌
Short. I do not let go of the eyes longimane and decide not to turn on my flashes, which I just put on off during our ascent (the sharks are, it seems, very sensitive to electrical impulses from this type of batteries that launch regular recharge cycles).
I just switch from photo mode to video mode and decided to wait a few minutes to 3-5 meters deep, to observe the whereabouts of this unexpected shark, hoping to capture some images.
The longimane, him, continues to patrol quietly, until (finally!) He decides to come to meet me. Yes ! This time, no doubt, he is really approaching, the back and forth side of his caudal propels him right on me ...
It's a moment of grace. Magnificent ! ! ! 😍
I remain well in front of him, the dome of my device stretched at arm's length. I do not move, do not let too many bubbles burst in order not to frighten him. I do not leave the eyes over the top of my box and I wait for the moment when the shark will turn around and go back the other way (as I saw his fellow do it in the past) .
But he does not leave. Not immediately. 😱
For a few seconds (which seems very long), the longimane remains the eye and the "snout" glued to my dome. Fascinated by her own reflection? Hypnotized by the mineral luster of glass? Attracted by the electrical pulse of the camera in video mode?
It ends up coming to the contact! This triggers the reflex movement of a special eyelid, which comes to protect his eye. Never again, other than in documentaries, I had observed this eyelid or "nictitante" membrane in action. Well, well, that's it, it's done.
I discover and I learn, doing some research, that this protective membrane of the eye is common to some 270 species of sharks belonging to the order of Carcharhiniformes (the kind of word not easy to recast in a conversation).
In any case, this brief contact with the dome of my caisson sufficed for it, it immediately gave me company. After his departure, I do not insist and goes back quickly on the Zodiac. But I still do not come back from this funny wink that made me the shark longimane!
I add below the educational sheet, designed by Steven Surina de Shark Education, on the right attitude to adopt in the water, when one is in the presence of a shark. Note that I have not managed to maintain a distance, except by interposing my camera between the animal and me ...