Yikes - Big Sharks!
Went snorkeling at Waterlemon beach on STJ yesterday. We (wife and I) snorked out to Waterlemon cay. The scenery was great, lots of bright fish, coral, and cool stuff. When I saw the shark I got nervous. He was as long as me and a much better swimmer. We abandoned our idea to circumnavigate the cay although we were about half way. As we made our way back to shore the shark swam under us and seemed to be stalking us. He had a pair of large fish (flounders?) as his henchmen. Well, I'm not sure how many sharks we saw, but we feel lucky to be alive today. Anyone else have this happen? I'm getting a dive knife.
Any shark you see here is really not dangerous, providing, as mentioned above, you don't bother them. We ran across a nurse shark when diving a couple of years ago. He/She was just limin on the sea floor. The dive master went over and gave it a poke. It gave him a dirty look and swam off.
In all the years I have been in the water here I have never seen a shark, not even a nurse shark. We have been all around the BVI. St John and St Croix. I did see a pair of large somethings with dorsal fins near Peter Island in the BVI. The Captain said they were tuna or something like that. Why don't you go on line and try to find and identify what you saw. It might have been a shark, but it is not likely.
I have seen a great white shark near Carmel in Monterey Bay years ago. Dive master said don't worry we are in the kelp forest. I worried.
I've seen several sharks multiple times out at Buck Island on the underwater trail. A few were nurses and a few were reefs or lemons. Most were about 5 to 6 feet in length, and none appeared at all interested in us. I'm very positive they were sharks--no question about their profile and swimming motion. They were about 10 feet away in crystal-clear water, so there was no mistaking them for tarpon (which I have been guilty of in the past when they were far away).
And DixieChick, you're right--earlier this year, a couple of tiger sharks (the bad kind) were caught off Frederiksted, feeding on leatherbacks.
I've only been here a year, but as my "name" should cue you in, I love to snorkel and usually am in the water at least once a week. Ive seen several sharks, either nurse sharks or reef sharks. They always startle me, too, but just leave them alone, like all the other critters down there, and they will do you the same favor. I adore snorkeling Waterlemon (and Cinnamon, too.)
Having worked as a snorkel / dive tour operator for several years and putting in many hundreds of trips swimming circles around Waterlemon I'd say it's very likely that you did indeed see sharks there.
The location is a very common one to see reef sharks while swimming around the cay. They'll usually come sweeping in out of the deeper water to check you out and then usually just as quickly zoom off. They aren't aggressive or interested in people as food but people frequently mistake their curiosity for aggression. You'll also see nurse sharks there very frequently but usually in more shallow water, they like napping on the bottom and chowing on the lobsters in and around the reef. The nurse sharks are also not aggressive and will let you swim right up to them but you shouldn't touch or poke them, they will bite if harassed.
Anyways just thought I'd chime in. Please don't consider the sharks a threat, seeing them should be a thrilling and beautiful experience. Instead of a dive knife I'd suggest spending your money on an underwater camera! If you want some safety gear get some dive scissors to free yourself in case you ever get entangled in the abandoned fishing line littering the area!
I'll dig through my photos and see if I can find any good ones of the sharks out there.. they're beauties!