Thursday, October 06, 2011

Sharkin' part three - "and behold a pale horse...."

We dove Elphinstone every morning for 6 days and some afternoons too. Most dives were split into two sections, down deep looking for hammers and then the part I craved, floating along at 5-10 metres either enjoying the spectacular reef on the wall or, in my case, ignoring it and staring into the blue to look for sharks or other big pelagics.

Let's cut the fake suspense and get to the encounter - I didn't see longimanus whilst in the water but I did see it. It was the end of the second morning just after our first dive on Elphinstone. We parked the rib at the back of a larger liveaboard vessel to get some more drinking water and a large grey and white shape cruised past.

It banked in close to take a look at the rib and cruised on and we watched in awe.

The first thing I noticed was the whiteness. In such shallow depths and such brilliant sun, longimanus' white fin patches almost glow and the contrast with the grey skin tone is magnificient. The second thing you notice is its shape. This is a beast designed to go long distances with great ease and is beautifully sculpted to do so easily. If it were a car, it would be an e-type jag, if a plane; it would be a supermarine spitfire. If it were designed it would be a design classic but of course it was not. 

Everything about this shark is calm, controlled, at ease - it even looks more comfortable in its own skin than the mighty great white. It was at once the most beautiful and terrifying thing I've ever seen.

It was also however a shark looking for food and so, eventually it looked elsewhere, cruising on into the blue until it became blue itself and disappeared.

As it left I dunked my camera underwater and took photos blindly. The end result may be my favourite photo ever: 


and I guess now I will have to go back and do it properly.

2 comments:

Floridacracker said...

That is an EXCELLENT shot! Really captures the esscence of being a pelagic fish.

tai haku said...

Thanks FC - I totally agree with your assessment which is why I love it. I really wanted a shot of it coming towards the camera but the idea of the shark swimming out into nothing but blue really speaks to me.