Ocean News

Nervous Nurses

24th March 2009

No, its not the name for an x-rated movie as it might sound (actually, it probably is somewhere in the world), but rather a description of the marine life we spent our morning with.

We’re running short on days here in Eleuthera, and we need images and video of sharks swimming around the BRUV’s to edit together with the footage that the BRUV camera itself will be recording. As a surefire bet we decided to head to the local fishing marina (yes, crime scene for the bull shark killing that took place a couple of days ago). Nurse sharks are seen here most days, attracted by off-cuts of fish that are thrown into the water by sport fishermen.

The shot to the right is of a tawny nurse shark, and was taken in the Seychelles. The sharks we were diving with today were unfortunately not as brave as the one pictured, as you can see, he’s almost bumping into the camera.

There are a few different species of nurse shark. The one pictured is called the tawny, or Indo-Pacific nurse shark (Nebrius ferrugineus), and the ones we were trying to film today are simply called nurse sharks (Ginglymostoms cirratum).

Myself and Tom were in the water together watching and waiting for the sharks to come and investigate the bait that we had strategically placed around the BRUV. We could see the sharks hanging out on the edge of the visibility, but they didn’t want to come close.

After 45 minutes or so, the sharks were still keeping their distance so we decided to move away from the bait and see what happened. As extpected, they moved in straight away, and once we tried to get close again, they disappeared! This went on for quite some time, until after a couple of hours the sharks finally became comfortable with us, and began nudging the investigating the BRUV with us right next to it.

We got there in the end, but sometimes you really get the feeling these animals are just playing games with you, and making you work for your images.