Something To Consider

oceanic white tip

If you’re anything like me, you usually have two things on your mind as you go through your life’s daily activity:

1. How often do military divers have encounters with man-eating sharks? Let’s be honest, pitting the ablest underwater humans against the fiercest underwater creature is very appealing. One very rarely finds any reports on this, although it does happen (see here)

2. I wish I had more information on Oceanic white tip sharks. They are the coolest, most terrifying shark you’ve never heard of. Even we in the professional shark community know very little about them beside the fact that they haunt the open ocean, eating any shipwrecked humans they chance upon. Unfortunately, these humans aren’t around to give us their stories, and missing those stories leaves me with a hole in my heart.

It’s very difficult to get reports on either of these topics, and you can just forget about the two topics ever being together in one story. Then, the other day the Heavens smiled down upon me. I was listening to the book Shark Trouble (nonfiction) by fellow shark expert Peter Benchley, author of Jaws. He tells a true story about two navy divers diving in mile-deep water near the Bahamas. They were doing whatever navy divers do when an Oceanic white tip came out of nowhere, took a big bite out of one of the them, then started pulling him down into the deep. His buddy held onto him, trying to wrestle the poor fellow free from the beast. But as he got to around 300 feet deep he knew he had to let go or soon be in depths that would kill him. He let go. True story.

Not sure if that will make your day better or worse. Either way, I thought you should know.

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13 Responses to Something To Consider

  1. Davis says:

    That Navy diver should be reprimanded. “Leave No Man Behind” doesn’t have a depth limit.

  2. Rebecca says:

    i think most people prefer NOT to know these things. I’ve always enjoyed the beach UNTIL i met the Bells.

  3. Ryan says:

    You are a hero for speaking out for the unmourned. Those down trodden white tip sharks that have eaten all of those thrashing, noisy castaways need an advocate, now more than ever.

  4. Craig says:

    i don’t think i’d ever heard of an oceanic white tip before, but your post led me to the wikipedia’s where i learned that:
    -“the oceanic whitetip is responsible for more fatal attacks on humans than all other species combined”
    -“Peter Benchley, author of Jaws, observed this shark swimming among pilot whales and eating their feces.”
    -“Recent studies show steeply declining populations because its large fins are highly valued as the chief ingredient of shark fin soup” (good news regarding your plans to eradicate all sharks)

    fascinating stuff

  5. Rachel says:

    Does anyone verify information published on Wikipedia? Anyone who makes it their mission in life to be a top contributor is suffering from 1. unemployment and 2. a bit of the crazies. And, we are trusting these people??

  6. Davis says:

    Rachel, you obviously haven’t read my “Peaches and Cream” post.

  7. Braden says:

    Sad as this story is, I’m just relieved that we finally have literature on the white tip attacks as related to military divers.

  8. Troy says:

    Christian I will always feel like I’m on the outside looking in when it comes to being a member of the Shark Expert community. That being said, Oceanic White Tips are not to be confused with Whitetip Reef Sharks. I am a Scuba Diver and have dived (dove? doven? diven? divened?) with Whitetip Reef Sharks…one dive we spotted over a dozen. I threw up through my scuba regulator. When I play Two Truths and a Lie, “I once vomited at negative 75 feet” is always such a curveball. Anyways, if the Whitetip Reefs would have been Oceanic White Tips, either this post would not exist because I’d be dead, or it would have taken a lot longer for me to type with my feet.

  9. Christian says:

    Craig, this is a shark you need to know about. Benchley also describes a super scary encounter he had with an Oceanic white tip in that same book. You should look into that.

    Rachel, welcome and lol. unemployed and a case of the crazies, for real.

    T-roy, I am laughing hard about you puking in your mask, and picturing you typing with your feet because the Oceanic white tip took the arms.

  10. Layne says:

    Sounds like a pretty innocuous name for the most lethal (to humans) shark there is. Can’t they come up with something better? Who names these things? “It lives in the ocean and has a white tip… HEY, let’s call it the oceanic white tip!” Very pedestrian effort by the taxonomist that named that one. I say we change it to the Oler le sangre shark or something.

  11. Christian says:

    I’d like to see you make fun of the Oceanic white tip’s name in front of some of the legless survivors of the USS Indianapolis sinking.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Indianapolis_%28CA-35%29

  12. danithew says:

    http://www.cnn.com/2010/US/02/04/florida.shark.death/index.html?hpt=T2

    Such a great ending quote to this article:

    “Surfers accounted for 57 percent of shark attack victims; swimmers and waders, 36 percent, and divers the rest, according to the Shark Attack File.”

  13. Christian says:

    Danithew, I saw that this morning on Drudge and posted a link on our sidebar under the new DDDT Shark Attack File. George Burgess has another think coming if he thinks that he and the University of Florida are the only ones with a serious Shark Attack File.

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