Finally some more:Day 5
We started early and motored out into the blue. The sun was out and the sea was continuing to diminish. I decided to risk a day without sea sickness pills. I’d started out on some called Bovine, but discovered that a medicine called Dramaqueen seemed to suit me better. Anyway, today it looked like a no-pill day.
We dropped the bait and began fishing. Our aim wasn’t really to catch fish, but the fishing activity in this area was known to attract sharks. We only had two lines out, but as we passed the bait there was a school of Mahi-Mahi or dorado/dolphin-fish near the surface and immediately the reels were spinning. Americans cause fishing rods, fishing poles for some reason, but not being a fan of fishing I gave them a wide berth. As soon as the fish were hooked we had oceanics chasing them. It must be pretty stressful for the fish to be hooked up and being chased by an oceanic. Nick and Jeff did sterling work reeling the fish in before the sharks could get to them and the Lama landed them below.
Mahi-Mahi on the line:
The fishing worked a treat and Jim guided the Shear Water close to bait and soon we had three oceanics circling. Immediately we hooked another pair of Mahi-Mahi and the guys pulled them in. Then again a third pair. The Mahi-Mahi were not used as bait and were enjoyed by the piscivores on board. Fresh fish would probably get the sharks a bit too jacked up, so we tend to use older offcuts in the crates. It was amazing. In all the commotion it was about an hour until we got back to the bait and started diving, by which time we were down to two sharks, and more importantly had lost the one with bling – aka as pilotfish.
Oceanic and pilotfish follows the boat as we fish:
The calm conditions made it an excellent dive to stay right up just below the surface and work this into compositions. Marcus and a few others tried some split levels too. Breaking the surface certainly attracted the attention of the sharks, but this helped people get some impressive images. I decided to drop a little deeper and make use of the fact that the sun was at last shining to shoot some silhouettes with sunrays coming around the shark.
Marcus at the surface shooting splits:
The oceanics will really investigate anything on the surface. I saw individuals eat a banana skin tossed overboard and also the top of a pineapple! As always on shark dives we dressed entirely in black and wore black hoods and gloves. The ninja look is not just cool, but serves to differentiate you from the light coloured bait. One of the main prey items of these oceanics are the Mahi-Mahi, and as a result they really reacted to bright colours (when hooked these fish flash bright green/yellow/blue). We were told not to use bright blue fins, but Mike the chef, dived in his and got lots of attention from the sharks. I was in the water at the time and it was amazing to see how they were instantly attracted to his feet. His fins are not coloured blue anymore – they are now black, courtesy of a sharpie marker.
Mike's fins attract attention:
By the afternoon we were up to 5 oceanics and as the bait drifted over the shelf we picked up a couple of silkies, a couple of duskies and a handful of Caribbean reef sharks.This gave some variety and the duskies in particular seemed to enjoy charging the dome. I think that this species is very attracted to anything shiny, such as a glinting domeport, because the last time I photographed them my shiny fins were getting a lot of attention. Much better to have them coming at the camera.