A miniature version of the scary Holywood varieties, this shark had a grey top which faded toward a white underside.
Built to move fast through water, the skin of this shark was thick and abrasive as sandpaper.
Caught a shark...
October 4, 2007 - Day 87 11.3528N,148.9228W
Now I have confirmed that I can eat a shark if I have to, but I will favor the dorados when I can, which are more plentiful. Certain species of shark are endangered and I do not know which those are. An example for their decline is the famous shark fin soup in southeast Asia which costs many sharks their fins. With demand mostly for the fins, there is a market for fishermen who trim the fins from the sharks after which they are tossed back to sea to die. This is definitely a murderous abuse of a resource.
Earlier accounts of ocean rowers on the Atlantic reported seeing many hammerhead sharks. In my singlehanded row from the Canary Islands to the Caribbean Sea passing by Guadeloupe in early 2006, I never encountered any sharks. I do not know if that was due to their population decline, wrong season or simply my luck.
The first shark that I saw on this crossing was on day 11, when I was 100nm west of Monterey, still so close to land that I could see the glow of the Bay Area to my northeast at night. Just after sunset in the dusk before dark that day, I saw the unmistakeable dorsal and tail fin tips of a shark, skimming just under the surface. Seen in profile against the last few minutes of remaining daylight, these fins were about 6 feet apart, belonging to a shark perhaps 10 feet in length. A great white? Who knows... I had been told that great whites come to feed on the seal colonies at the Farallon Islands across the Bay Area.
Sunday evening, I saw two small sharks picking the small bait fish from around the boat. They were moving effortlessly, making moves for their prey with sideways movements of their snout. It is difficult to film or photograph such encounters since my camcorder and camera are typically tucked away in a dry bag to avoid prolonged exposure to humidity, or the rain or lighting don't allow it.
By then I had my doubts about the hefty double hook on my lucky lure, and had replaced it with a single hook which I had hoped would prove attractive to the dorados again. I left that lure trolling in the water behind the boat overnight. On Monday morning the line was heavy. "Picked up a fishing net again I bet, always happens if I troll," I thought to myself, as I pulled the line.
At the end of the line was a 3-4 foot shark, same size and species as the ones I had seen the previous evening. It was a gorgeous creature, so streamlined, so sleek. I tired it alongside before bringing it on deck. The boat was moving west with the winds and downpours of rain were frequent after spending a few days waiting on para-anchor. I left the shark on deck until I could process it during a dry spell.
PS: What I have been calling a sea anchor until now, I will start calling a para-anchor (please see my Sept 22 dispatch for a description). Apparently some folks are confused by my terminology. If there is a parachute at the end of my rode, then that will be a para-anchor; in case of a metal hook to grab the sand, I will call that a bottom-anchor.