Author: Doug (---.dsl.stlsmo.swbell.net)
Date: 08-03-06 14:00
My two sightings were at Luis Pena and Culebrita.
My first sighting, at Culebrita, was the larger fish, probably 6-7 feet long. I had swum out from Tortuga Beach, in search of some reef ( very little to be found, mostly turtle grass ) and as I approached the rocky cliffs on the extreme northwest corner of the bay, I saw a small underwater crevass. In it were the nurse shark, appearing to be at rest in a current, and a number of apparently symbiotic fish, all pointing into the current and maintaining position. At first my heart was racing, but there is something about the shape of that species that minimalizes the menace of its appearance. As I swam closer to take a picture, I spooked it and it scurried off and I didn't get my shot. On my return swim to the beach, I spotted a 3-legged green turtle and I had to wonder if my two most exciting creature sightings had met.
At Luis Pena, the shark was approximately 3 feet long and hid under a coral tower in about 15 feet of water. My companion and I both surface-dived to get a better look underneath. Of course, when diving without ballast, you have to work hard to stay down, and my kicking and arm movements scared the little guy off.
So far, my shark encounters have been more disturbing to the fish than to me.