I’ve been paddleboarding for a few years now, and I’ve seen lots of really cool things. Dolphins, sting rays, more kinds of crabs then I care to count, about a billion kinds of fish and all kinds of other interesting creatures.
The one thing I have never seen while paddleboarding was a shark. But it seems I’ve finally found the secret. I was told if I go to Fred Howard Park in time to be on the water at sunrise the chances of seeing sharks, specifically hammerhead sharks, would be pretty good. So the last couple of Saturdays that’s exactly where I’ve been. And success!
The last two Saturday mornings the water has been perfect. Smooth as glass. Between the height you get from standing on the board and the fact that there is no chop to hide any movement it’s the best chance for seeing anything that’s out there.
Almost as soon as we were on the water I saw a dolphin swimming around who went surprisingly close to shore which was pretty cool. Of course it may have been better if we had actually been closer to the shore. Only manatees can beat dolphins for the cool factor. And that’s just because manatees will come right up to you on occasion.
Not very long after that we saw what I at first thought was a bunch of dolphins playing. The water was splashing like crazy and the occasional grey body and fin could be spotted from where we were paddling. I saw one fin separate from the rest in our direction though, and it was very steady, not moving up and down like a dolphin’s tends to do. The shape of the fin also was telling – this was not a dolphin. Which lead me to the conclusion that neither were the other animals splashing around because the single shark kept circling back to them.
I have to admit that as much as I’ve been wanting to see a shark I had absolutely no desire to paddle closer to them. I don’t know if they were doing the ‘feeding frenzy’ thing, playing (do sharks play?) or something entirely different but regardless of what they were doing, no. I stayed were I was and considered myself brave for doing so. Brave and three year old excited, it was pretty neat in my humble opinion.
The one bad thing to come from this? I realized just how bad my little point and click camera is. I tried taking video of them, but the few seconds I was actually pointed in the right direction all you could see was that something was really churning up the water. So I am now on the hunt for a waterproof camera with a lot of zoom and a viewer that I can see even in the sun. Because next time I want to be ready!
I also saw a couple of big turtles which I would have loved to get a decent picture of. I’m actually pretty OK with the simple fact that I get to see things like that, but it would be fun to share the pictures if I had them. Here’s a few that I did take.
Any other paddleboarders or kayakers out there? What sort of things have you seen when out on the water? Do you ever feel like no one is ever going to believe what you saw if you don’t get a picture of it? I don’t know why but I always kind of think that. Of course I also think if I go out with a really good camera I won’t see as many animals. Superstitious much? Why yes.