There has been some speculation in the British media this week that a great white shark has been seen off the Cornish coast. The shark sighting was captured on video and, as expected, the media’s interpretation of that video has been variable depending on which newspaper report you choose to read. I always find it a shame when the media sensationalises such a sighting and refers to the shark in a negative light. It does nothing to help the public understand the truth, which is that these animals are incredibly majestic, intelligent and should be appreciated not feared.

The shark sighted is, in my opinion, very unlikely to be a great white shark. The dorsal fin is consistent with that of a juvenile basking shark, the behaviour is unlike that of any white sharks I have worked with (though of course I can only compare to the time I have spent with that species here in South Africa) and there is no white marking on the pelvic fin – which is very unusual for a white shark.

The best and most factual places to look up sightings of great white sharks off the coast of the UK are Richard Peirce’s website and The Shark Trust website. They are both leading authorities regarding sharks in British waters and investigate reports of great white shark sightings.

One of the first white sharks that captured my heart was named Rasta and I had the pleasure of spending time with her in 2002 in South Africa. When I last saw her during 2002-2003 she was closing in on 5m length and was a mature female. She had a very unique personality and was named Rasta because of her relaxed nature. She cruised by our boat incredibly slowly whilst looking at the guests, the boat, the baits etc. She investigated everything very calmly and often lifted her head high out of the water (spy hopping) at the dive step to see what was going on. She was quite the contrast to some of the more lively white sharks I have come to love and know.



Rasta. The first white shark that stole my heart!


In other shark news, the widow of the recent Byron Bay shark attack victim Paul Wilcox has spoken up and stated she does not blame the shark for the attack.

‘I want to reach out to the Byron community,’ she said. ‘I don’t blame the shark, or the town or anyone,’ she says. ‘The beach is such a health giver.’

The full article containing this quote can be found here. The courage and compassion Mrs Wilcox has shown in such a difficult and tragic time is nothing short of inspirational. What an incredible example she is to us all.

Finally, for today’s bit of fun…we have been sent a guide on how to make paper sharks! Definitely something I want to try this winter and full details can be found here.