Monday, April 02, 2012

Bébé Requin

A picture posted by a friend on Facebook of a black-tip reef shark surrounded by a shoal of fish reminded me of one of our trips to the Maldives - this is a few years back, when I was still proudly wearing bikinis! I'm thinking one-piece swimsuit for our next holiday!!

This was on Nakatchafushi - the island has since been turned into a luxury resort and they even changed its name. There had been a storm the previous day, and big shoals of small fish had taken refuge close to the shore (mackerel or something like it? - I'm not a specialist, though I'm pretty good at recognising the more exotic fish. I'd just call these ones "boring fish"). They were still there the following morning.

And in typical shoal fashion, they create a zone of exclusion around anything that remotely looks like a predator - shark or tourist, they don't discriminate. And they move as you do, keeping the same distance no matter what.

Which makes it very difficult for a shark to catch them. We observed baby sharks in the lagoon spending hours trying to figure out how to catch a fish - the trick is to work in a group and to separate a small group from the bigger shoal. Once that is done, push the small group towards the shore. Then, in the shallows, move for the kill! But be careful, baby shark, you could end up stranded on the beach if the tide is on its way out. I nearly had to go to a baby shark's rescue on one such occasion, but he/she managed to wriggle back into the water without assistance, thankfully. Go, Baby Shark, Go!

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