Thursday, December 20, 2007

Silky Gold Silky Shark

Continued from: False Killer Whales Gang Hunting Lone Yellowfin Tuna...

Besides these killer whales, there was another rare species in the vicinity, a lone silky shark, Carcharhinus falciformis. This shark species is fairly rare to see regularly in Hawaiian waters. I think they’re one of the most beautiful shark species.

The shark has a slender but beautifully streamlined body with pointy snout. I think the species is relatively aggressive, but I always have fun photographing it.

This shark was fairly large, and for a moment, I was distracted by the shark sneaking up from my back or the bottom to check me out while I was shooting the false killer whale hunting event.

The shark looked splendid lit up by glowing golden sunset light. Unlike the false killer whales, it seemed more interested in me than anything else. Luckily it circled nearby, and I was able to snap some shots.


Silky Shark, Carcharhinus falciformis, off Kohala Coast, Big Island, Hawaii, USA, Pacific Ocean

As the sun was setting, we thought we saw the false killer whales again in the distance, but they turned out to be short-finned pilot whales, Globicephala macrorhynchus. It was a large pod - maybe hundreds of them - spread out for miles.

We all traveled together riding large offshore swells for a while, and tried to photograph the pilot whales rocketing out of large swells like in the emergency surfacing scene of the Navy submarine from a Sean Connery movie, The Hunt for Red October.

Believe me, it was very hard to capture the scene at sunset because the whales were quick and totally unpredictable as to where they were going to appear. Besides, the boat was rocking pretty bad, and in the end, neither of us got a decent shot. Despite that, it was a great day for marine photography! We’ll catch the pilot whales and the whale sharks another day!

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