Welcome to the Marine Mammal and wildlife Research and Community Development Expedition blog where you can keep up to date with all the happenings and information from Kenya

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Amazing Tiger Sharks Spotted!

Thursday started out as a slow day on the marine programme – after being on Bardan for hours without a sighting, the day was not looking as promising as the previous trips. We pulled up to a snorkel spot at Kisite and were half in the water, when we heard news of a dead whale spotted in the deeper waters. Faridi hurried us all back into the boat and we sped off to investigate!
We headed towards what looked like the white of breaking waves in the distance, about 2km away, but as we got closer it was clear it was the remains of an adult humpback whale, missing it’s head. We took some pictures and had a closer look at what might have caused its death, but there was no clear evidence.
Once we’d had enough of the awful smell, Faridi turned the boat back towards our snorkel destination, only to turn back around after deciding Kirsty should take a sample. As she reached out towards the whale, a KWS boat approached and warned us there were sharks lurking in the water. Within one minute the first enormous tiger shark was spotted; incredibly only a few seconds later another one appeared... with her baby. As we all rushed to look over the side of the boat there was a scare that it would tip over and we would all be swimming with the massive predators!

The bite marks clearly evident on the whale carcass
Their strength was incredible and the speed was hard to believe. They were approximately 3m in length and distinctively striped. We watched one bite into the flesh of the whale and tear a chunk off to devour, sending shivers down my spine. The two sharks were clearly visible near the carcass one second, and the next would disappear into the deep blue. To see something like that in the wild, was truly a once in a lifetime experience.