Encountering Beautiful Sharks – Indonesia
Sharks – The King of the Reef
The true kings of the ocean, sharks are possibly the most misunderstood animal on the planet. Many folks have a deep rooted fear of these amazing creatures, mainly due to their poor treatment by media and Hollywood. However, there is no reason to be afraid of most sharks in the ocean.
Did you know there are over 500 species in the world? These range in size from the size of a human hand to over 12 meters in length. Over half of the shark species are a maximum size of 1 meter (3 feet). They have varied diets consisting of everything from shrimp and crabs up to seals and even whales. However, the two largest species (the whale shark and the basking shark) mainly feed on plankton. Learn more about these amazing animals on the World Wildlife Foundation website.
Are Sharks Dangerous?
Of course there are a few that are considered dangerous, species such as the great white and bull are known to bite humans. However, these species are rarely seen in Indonesia. In fact, they typically only bite humans in a case of mistaken identity. The vast majority of sharks that we see in Indonesian waters are more afraid of humans than we should be of them. The majority of species that we do see are smaller species which can be scared of large animals such as swimmers. One of Indonesia’s most famous species, the walking shark, is only 2 feet long (60cm) and will hide under a coral head when it encounters humans.
Will We See Sharks with Samata?
We often see sharks while diving and snorkeling. In fact, spotting them is one of our favorite goals while in the water. The most common ones we find are the black tip reef and the white tip reef. Another frequent encounter we have in Raja Ampat is with the bizarre looking tassled wobbegong. The wobbegong is a type of carpet shark that sits on the bottom and blends in to it’s surroundings. If we are lucky we can also spot grey reefs, nurse, bamboo, and the occasional thresher or whaleshark, the largest fish in the sea.
Sharks are naturally nervous around divers and snorkelers, their first reaction is to flee. Therefore it’s important to approach them carefully. Our well trained guides know the best way to get close to these wonderful animals. With slow movements and a calm manner, it’s possible to get close. Not too close though, they do like their personal space and will swim away if we encroach upon it. We love encountering them and are always happy to do so. If you are interested in seeing these amazing animals, please ask us which itinerary offers the best opportunity to encounter them. The protected waters of the Komodo National Park is a fantastic place to encounter plenty of white tip and black tips reef sharks.