Longimane shark came close, sticking to my goal! (Red Sea, Egypt, November 2017)
Longimane shark came close, sticking to my goal! (Red Sea, Egypt, November 2017)

A Wink from The Longimanus Shark


  Egypt : Red Sea - November 2017

Dear English-speaking readers, this page is an automatic translation made from a post originally written in French. My apologies for any strange sentences and funny mistakes that may have been generated during the process. If you are reading French, click on the French flag below to access the original and correct text: 

Those who follow me on Facebook have already seen the video in preview... 🦈 Having the opportunity to watch a shark (or several sharks) during a dive always makes your heart pound a little harder. But filming the depth of its eye, because it has decided to come and stick itself to the dome of your photo lens... well, how to say... It's an experience that I will never forget !!!

An encounter both intense and unexpected

I let you witness this totally unexpected, intense encounter, as I experienced it, with this longimanus shark (oceanic white tip 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.

At the end of an one-hour immersion with my day pairs Anu and Alain, I discover, at the safety stop, that an oceanic white tip shark is there, circling at 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 scuba diving and snorkeling cruise, organized by my friends Phil Simha and Rémy Dubern, aboard theExocet. Thanks to them, in 2016, I had already been able to watch the behavior of longimanus sharks, at the Brothers Islands:

Read → Under the sea with the longimanus sharks

Longimans do not hesitate to go up to shallow depths, they often come to run under the boats. (Small Brother, Red Sea, Egypt, October 2016)
Longimans do not hesitate to go up to shallow depths, they often come to run under the boats. (Small Brother, Red Sea, Egypt, October 2016)

Having had this first experience, I am not particularly worried this time. On the contrary. I am delighted at our luck, because the site where we are, Habili Ali, one of the reefs of the marine sanctuary that are part of the famous St. John's Reefsis not known as a "longis corner".

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 still don't know, at the moment when all these thoughts cross my mind in front of this lonely shark, how right I am... 👌

Funny wink

Anyway. So I keep an eye on the shark and decide not to turn on my flashes, which I have just switched off during our ascent (the sharks are, it seems, very sensitive to the electrical impulses coming from this type of batteries which launch regular recharging cycles).

I just switch from photo mode to video mode and decide to wait a few minutes at a depth of 3-5 meters to observe the comings and goings of this unexpected shark, hoping to capture a few images of it.

More to read → Photo Equipment and Dive Gear

As for the longimanus shark, it continues to patrol quietly, until (finally!) it decides to come to meet me. This time, no doubt about it, it really comes closer, the lateral come-and-go of its caudal fin propels it straight to me... 

There, no doubt, it's me he comes to see! (Red Sea, Egypt, November 2017)
There, no doubt, it's me he's coming to see! (Red Sea, Egypt, November 2017)

It's a moment of grace. Ma-gni-fi-que!! 😍

I stay well in front of it, the dome of my camera stretched out at arm's length. I don't move, don't let too many bubbles blow so as not to frighten it. I don't take my eyes off it over the top of my camera housing and I wait for the moment when the shark will turn around and go back the other way (as I have seen its fellow sharks do in the past).

But it does not leave. Not immediately. 😱

For a few seconds (which seem very long to me), the longimanus shark remains the eye and the "nose" glued to my dome. Fascinated by its own reflection? Hypnotised by the mineral shine of the glass? Attracted by the electrical impulse of the camera in video mode?

It ends up coming straight into contact! This triggers the reflex movement of a special eyelid, which comes to protect its eye. Never before, other than in documentaries, have I ever observed this third eyelid or "nictitating" membrane in action. All right, well, that's done.

Screenshots taken from the video. The eyelid is distinctly closed. (Red Sea, Egypt, November 2017)
Screenshots taken from the video. The eyelid is distinctly closed. (Red Sea, Egypt, November 2017)

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 housing was enough for it, it immediately faded from my company. After it left, I didn't insist and quickly got back on the inflatable boat. But I still can't get over the funny wink that the longimanus shark gave me!


More to read → All my dives with sharks

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 ...

(Source: Steven Surina / Shark Education)
(Source: Steven Surina / Shark Education)

  Egypt : Red Sea - November 2017

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  1. I am left speechless! Me, in the same situation (highly improbable, by the way), would have fainted with fright, and then, and then, meal ready for the shark!

    1. @Ysbilia: I burst out laughing when discovering your comment ... I knew you would love ... We are not a meal for these sharks, their diet is fish and squid ... On the other hand, it is true that this species- it is not at all afraid of the man, so it's better to be careful ...

  2. Extraordinary Corinne! I should be spared during my future trip to Raja Ampat next November 😀 Very beautiful pictures of the Red Sea in any case!

    1. @Cem: thank you ! Extraordinary is the word ... We do not live this kind of face-to-face every day. In Raja Ampat, sharks question, besides the usual black tip / white tip and some gray, you will necessarily see the innumerable wobbegongs (bearded carpet sharks) that are everywhere and maybe some walking sharks ... It'll be fantastic!

  3. bsr
    It's funny I experienced the same experience in November 2017 on the site of Daedalus. While under the boat, I saw the "Longi" arrive. I was equipped with my go pro who filmed but voluntarily I had not turned on my headlights. The shark came to me, until then normal, it began to turn around me getting closer very quickly. He first came into contact, as if attracted by my go pro, then in a new circle he came back a second time by insisting a little more, until giving a nose to the camera (there I started to ask questions and I felt a certain amount of fear in me.) He came back to me again. Having felt a certain apprehension on his ride, I gave him a shot of platinum on the nose which made him turn around. Phew. I quickly got back on the boat and it was there that I had this tremor that takes all the body when you leave a situation of intense stress. Honestly I am a little reassured to see the mishap that you have experienced and that can be explained by the electrical impulses delivered by the camera in operation. Nice experience anyway, I will detail my video to see his wink ????
    Thanks to you.

    1. @ marcopolo8356: Generally speaking, when a particular shark and longimane begin to behave a little too "pushy", it is actually safer and wiser not to stay to see how far he or she may be able to insist ... Better to get out of the water. Given what you describe, it's probably your GoPro that attracted him ...

      We, we were on a site where, in principle, there are no longimanes, so that a small group of freedivers had gone to the water while we were doing our dive ... As soon as we saw the shark, it was reported to them and the Zodiac quickly went to get them out of the water, for prudence. As much as bottle divers do not fear much underwater, as long as they are at the same level as the shark and can observe his behavior, so much on the surface a swimmer risks to attract his curiosity without seeing him arrive by underneath, exposing itself to a dangerous "exploratory" bite ... Unfortunately, there were sad precedents on snorkelers in the Red Sea.

      For my part, it's okay, I did not rise in stress during this episode, but it is true that I had the box of my device, much more imposing than that of a small GoPro, interposed between me and the " "nose" of the shark, which was probably reassuring enough, unconsciously. I just found it odd that the bestiau is thus stuck to the dome instead of barring immediately as it should have done, but it only lasted a few seconds fortunately ...

      Scientists have not yet pierced all the mysteries of Lorenzini bulbs that sharks have at the head and that allow them to detect electromagnetic fields. See also Shark Education: The electromagnetic sense.

  4. Hello Corinne,

    I do not know how you do not have stress or even fear in those moments. Just having to swim with tiny lemon sharks, did not reassure me, there, in your place, I do not know how I would have reacted!

  5. When I think that I was in the freediving group instead of sticking you to the flippers, I'm disgusted 😉 ... That infidelity to one's partner doesn't pay!

  6. Hello Corinne, this is just unbelievable! To think that with my little snorkeling experiments where I swam with black tip and lemon sharks I can go get dressed ahha! But Bravo for your courage and your magnificent photos 🙂

  7. Hello. Sincerely, not only were you lucky with this little wink, but also a huge courage to have been able to swim with such a close shark. Personally, I can not!