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Recent Shark Attack near the Tapu Reef.

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Recent Shark Attack near the Tapu Reef.

All the tourism boards for Bora Bora claim there has never been a shark attack, but they can no longer. I ran across a report of this on TripAdviser while I was looking at the reviews for TopDive the Scuba diving company. Apparently one of the reviewers actually witnessed the attack and had the same detailed story that this link below tells. So I went digging for a bit online and eventually came across this news article on the actual attack:

sharkattacksurvivors.com/shark_attack/…

This is actually VERY recent as well, as in the last 2 months apparently. An actual substantiated report of a Sicklefin Lemon Shark attack on a TopDive diver. Same story that was told in the post on the review site for TopDive. Apparently the Lemon Shark really wanted the shiny watch that was attached to the tourists arm and bit the watch clean off and his arm down to the bone. Unprovoked attack apparently. I don't know if this is the first report ever of a shark attack on Bora Bora, I am sure there must be other small incidents but this one seems to be the most significant. TopDive has stopped diving at the outer reef of Tapu into the Lemon Sharks apparently for safety precautions.

Personally I am going to avoid any diving or snorkeling activities that involve any kind of hand feeding, chumming or stirring up of sharks. As I don't believe that is the respect that one should give when diving around sharks in a natural habitat and you are just looking for trouble. It is one thing if you dive, which I fully plan to do, and you see some random sharks. But it is completely another when the boat crews are chumming and stirring up a frenzy above you or the dive master is hand feeding sharks 5 feet from you. It will be known to any of my dive masters that this will not be happening on any of my 4 dives or snorkeling events with my wife. She has enough to worry about finishing up her Open Water License as a first time diver.

As long as nature is respected, in most cases one will be fine, and that is how I am going to act during my visit next month.

1. Re: Recent Shark Attack near the Tapu Reef.

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Michigan
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2. Re: Recent Shark Attack near the Tapu Reef.

In planning our trip, obviously we're looking at all the snorkel tours. And, honestly, the part about getting in the water with sharks scares the living daylights out of me! I've been thinking, well, ok, I can be the chicken and stay in the boat for that part. I mean, heck, sometimes I get freaked out when a school of yellow fin tuna swim close to me. I really do love to snorkel, I just don't need to be THAT close to the fish. :-)

Where is the Tapu Reef?

Julie

Paris, France
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3. Re: Recent Shark Attack near the Tapu Reef.

Tapu is a dive site, it's outside Bora Bora lagoon...no snorkeling there!

Enjoy your trip, I'm pretty sure you'll lovethe snorkeling ;-)

Las Vegas, NV
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4. Re: Recent Shark Attack near the Tapu Reef.

Over the past few years they have changed the rules/laws for feeding the sharks. On Bora Bora, they are now only allowed to do it outside of the lagoon. They no longer do it inside the lagoon. I don't go to Bora any more, so I don't know how active the sharks currently are within the lagoon.

On Moorea they are also not allowed to do it within the lagoon...BUT...they still do. There is not a dedicated stop for feeding them like there used to be...but the black tip reef sharks routinely show up at the Ray feeding site and quite often the crew dumps the rest of the ray bait in the water at the end of the ray feeding and the sharks go crazy. I have noticed the black tip reef sharks on Moorea have been coming closer to the people snorkeling with the rays and certainly getting larger over the past few years. Some of those cute little 2-3 foot sharks are now around 6-7 feet.

In general you really don't need to worry about the black tip reef sharks, they are not aggressive...and they certainly aren't man eaters. We are NOT a part of their food chain. They typically will NOT bother with you at all. BUT..with continued feeding, you never know. I would expect at some point in the future, there will be an incident with one.

Now lemon sharks (like the one in this story)...that's another story. I have heard a few incidents with them. Although they also are not deemed dangerous, but I would not get in the water with one. Now if you see a Tiger Shark get your butt out of the water ASAP!!!

To really put the whole issue in perspective....you have a MUCH greater chance of being injured in a scooter accident on Moorea than by a shark bite. Probably a million times more probable. Seriously.

Lastly...in general, you should not wear shiny jewelry in the water. Many fish (not just sharks) are attracted to it. I heard about someone who had a finger bit off by a barracuda (a pretty aggressive fish) due to a ring. They see the glimmer and associate it with the shiny little fishies that are part of their food chain. :)

Michigan
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5. Re: Recent Shark Attack near the Tapu Reef.

Sorry to read about it but glad it wasn't even worse.

We snorkeled outside the reef in December. There were black tips near the surface and lemon sharks just above the ocean floor.

Hearing about this incident three months after being there reminds me of learning about a helicopter crash not long after taking a tour on one in Hawaii in 1996. Maybe we lower our guard (or raise our thrill-seeking sights) while on vacation.

New Jersey
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6. Re: Recent Shark Attack near the Tapu Reef.

Being a fisherman for many years, it is always wise to take off all jewelry when ever entering the water. Any thing that flashes is a prime target for any fish. But to panic on something like this is foolish. If you swim with the guides on the tours you will be very safe snorkeling or scuba. Missing out over fear that you will be attacked is like not flying to the island because the plane may crash, possible but unlikely.

santa barbara,CA
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7. Re: Recent Shark Attack near the Tapu Reef.

Oh my....sad indeed.

As a clarification...the black tip reef sharks that one sees on the tours in Bora Bora 'within the lagoon' are safe by most standards. I've been on these snorkel/shark/ray feeding trips countless times and I personally feel safe. The rays are the ones that like to touch you lol!!! :) Lemon tips are sometimes seen down deep if one is snorkeling on top via a lagoon tour that ventures near the opening in the reef/lagoon.

One is more likely to see Lemon Tips, and other large sharks, whilst diving outside the lagoons or on drift dives through passes. These sorts of sharks can be aggresive in isolated cases. I have always given these creatures a Very Wide Breadth....

I am a stranger in their world & they deserve my respect.

Safety First....ALWAYS.

sunny regards,

shully

Edited: 7:13 pm, March 22, 2013
Boston...
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8. Re: Recent Shark Attack near the Tapu Reef.

Will be heading to Bora Bora for the first time in a few weeks. Are there sharks in the water where the OWB are? I have no interest in seeing any sharks while I'm swimming. We will be snorkeling but being a big chicken, I'm only interested in seeing small fish.

Thanks

santa barbara,CA
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9. Re: Recent Shark Attack near the Tapu Reef.

Hi jmob2901:

where are you staying? Creatures big and small are in the lagoon...some resorts have no coral (just sandy bottom) under the overwater bungalows....hence less, or no, sea life is attracted under or around.

They can swim by in any case....but no worries.... :)

sunny regards,

shully

Edited: 7:50 pm, March 22, 2013
Boston...
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10. Re: Recent Shark Attack near the Tapu Reef.

Thanks for getting back to me. We'll be staying at the Meridian. I've only just started snorkeling and I'm very timid with what is in the water. I'd rather admire from afar unless they are small fish. Do the resorts have anything in the water to keep sharks from coming in to where the public swim?