Sep 10th, 2005, 08:43 PM
Original Poster
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My wife and I are planning a stay at The Sands in T&C. We will be taking in some snorkelling in front of the Coral Gardens. Should there be any concern at all over sharks?
jamicah is offline  
Sep 10th, 2005, 09:42 PM
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We stayed at the Coral Gardens last month and I spent so much of my time snorkeling that I got bad sunburn on my upper thighs and back.

When you put on your snorkel gear keep an eye on the sea around you - some of the fish are not shy at all.

While snorkeling we saw a 4ft long barracuda but that was it for scary fish.

At one point he was between me and the beach so I just floated for a while and when a group of people came splashing around, he headed into the roped off area. I got some amazing photos.

Have you heard reports of sharks?
alya is offline  
Sep 11th, 2005, 03:36 AM
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HIGHLY unlikely to see any sharks while snorkeling on TCI.

That patch of coral in front of Coral Gardens does not have enough size or scope to support sharks.

And not enough tourists to support them either. (JUST KIDDING!)

I've snorkeled hundreds of times all over the Caribbean, and it's very uncommon to see sharks unless you go to places JUST to see them. (Which are few and far between.)

Do be sure to take off sparkly jewelry as the 'cudas do like to get up C-L-O-S-E to see that bling!
Diana is offline  
Sep 11th, 2005, 03:44 PM
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jamicah; ditoe Diane about taking off flashy jewelry before you snorkel. Baracudas are everywhere, and they are harmless for the most part. I literally have NEVER snorkeled for a while without having one start to tag along with me. They look ominous with the razor sharp teeth protruding from their jaws, but they are not interested in going after you. It's a habit they have and will follow you everywhere. Simply swim toward them and they will mosey away...but will return. They are using you for cover so other fish won't notice them. This past summer, I snorkeled in a dock area off Lubber's Quarters off Abaco Island, Bahamas, and swam under a boat and, yes, a barracuda looked so ominous I was frightened and exited the area. Instead of the lean body, this 5 footer was robust and thick, twice as round as a normal baracuda. When I inquired, the Bahamians laughed at me. "Oh", they said, that's Rambo, he's waiting at the dock for food." Turns out, this baracuda was so huge because, each night, he tours four separate dock areas and people feed him left over Mac&Cheese, hotdogs, chicken...whatever. Still, Rambo had no interest in me when we came face to face. Flashy jewelrey looks like fish scales glimmering in the sunlight, and may provoke an attack by mistaken identity. I witness a grouper floating still at a cleaning station years ago. In a lightning flash a silver torpedo cut it in two without even stopping. Baracuda will do this. If you move your finger gently along the front teeth, it's like feeling a razor blade and it will cut you. But, they are very people friendly and I miss them if I don't see one when I'm snorkeling. As for sharks, do not snorkel in the evening or at dusk, or in the early morning hours. Sharks are VERY active at these times and do come into shallow beach areas. The reason? Reefs cannot contain the myriad of fish which live in them. There are night fish and daytime fish. Both kinds pass each other during these times as they retreat back to, and come from, the protective reefs. This high fish traffic time is when water visability is not good and is also when sharks are hunting and grow most active. It's nature's way of preventing the reefs from becoming overcrowded. Snorkel during the daylight hours only, even if you see people swimming at night in T&C...don't join them!!! Robert
Robert is offline  
Sep 11th, 2005, 06:12 PM
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Do you recommend taking off even wedding rings/bands? I am not a big snorkeler and would probably get a little nervous if a cuda was hanging out with me. They sound as if they are like a dog and follow you around. We could nickname them labracudas. Another poster was talking about the barracuda by Gallows Point that would try to cammoflauge himself vertically with the ladder.
brenandg is offline  
Sep 11th, 2005, 08:07 PM
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Barracudas are territorial and will generally investigate anything unusual (like a person) in his space. They are very curious but are only interested in eating fish. The amount of jewelry or lack of will not guarantee a barracuda will not check you out. I would just not worry about them. They are just making sure you're not poaching in their waters.
Tuxedocat is offline  
Sep 12th, 2005, 04:21 AM
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No, not necessary to take off wedding rings. I turn my diamonds around so that the stones are inward and snorkel (or dive) with my hands clasped loosely under my body.

I normally wear a "skin" or a 1 mil as I chill easily, and that covers my watch.

DEFINITELY remove earrings. I had a fresh water fish give an earlobe a chomp when I was going a check-out dive in a quarry wearing silvery earrings.

I personally love 'cudas. They sometimes hang about in little "gangs" just under the water's surface and look like a bunch of hoods with just their eyes following you.

My gear (fins, etc.) is hot pink, and they seem to love me. More than once I have caught them following along behind me lurking. I think they're funny.

Have fun and don't worry!
Diana is offline  
Sep 12th, 2005, 01:49 PM
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All the posts above are right on. You really have nothing to worry about, beside just having a good time. We like to be careful, and take all jewelry off, including our rings. Probably not necessary, but again, we'd rather play it as safe as possible. You will learn to love the Cudas...they are an awesome site, and your chances are excellent of seeing many.

If you are lucky enough to see a shark, it'll most likely be a nurse shark which are harmless. We snorkeled a spot in Belize called Shark-Ray Alley, and swam with dozens of nurse sharks. They were totally harmless, and a lot fun to see. Even if you do see a shark, whatever you do, don't panic. Sharks tend to me more attracted to something making a commotion. So swimming away frantically(sp?), will not be wise.

Remember, you have a better chance at winning a major lottery than you do getting attacked by a shark.
ScottB is offline  
Sep 12th, 2005, 05:18 PM
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Wow! What a joy reading everyone's input on the Great Barracuda. Seasoned snorkelers and divers have many stories to tell on this magnificent creature! But, all who encounter them become fans on this primitive mouthed predator. Most predators like grouper have huge mouths, and actually suck fish in as they rapidly open them with gills flaring. The Barracuda doesn't; it's primitive sharp teeth merely slice the prey in half...without chomping! Then, they jetison back and grap the head or body and start munching. I witnessed this happen to a grouper at a cleaning station; the Barracuda must case out cleaning stations for prey with their guard down! They usually don't attack during the day, since reef fish have excellent vision and hand close to the protective reefs or rock cover. But, Barracudas are opportunists. When surfacing to a dive boat from 65 feet of water, we saw a large Cuda underneath the dive boat, in its shadow. I hung on to the life line about 20 feet beneath the hull. The Cuda suddenly assumed a vertical position, its head facing downward and its tail touching the hull. I looked 40 feet down to see a group of large snapper above the sand flats, with no cover near. The Cuda bent its body and shot straight down like an arrow shot from a bow. It was impossible to see the whole fish, only a silver streak. It attacked the snappers from above, which they aren't accustomed to. Still, it missed...barely! I've heard divers say that during night dives, with lights, the Cuda's take advantage of the lights to find and attack fish. And, as many has seen, Cudas can change their color to blend in with their surroundings. No wonder they follow snorkelers like dogs...I like the term labracuda, as "brenandg" nicknamed them. Could it be that when we jump into the Caribbean waters that we become mere handmaidens for the Cudas to catch food? Robert
Robert is offline  
Sep 12th, 2005, 09:50 PM
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Robert: Great cuda story. I am still mourning the reported passing of the one at Norman Island as told by (I think Mountaingirl) on her recent trip to the BVI's. It is thought someone killed it. Isn't that awful?!
Tuxedocat is offline  
Sep 13th, 2005, 05:08 PM
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I was reading a report from a hotel on Trip advisor. Someone in Playa del
Carmen was bit by a Baracuda. They spent several days in the hospital. The Dr.s said they had been quite active and he had treated quite a few bites this year.
diann is offline  
Sep 13th, 2005, 08:02 PM
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Diann: That is terrible! I've never heard of that kind of barracuda behaviour-- certainly not on that scale. Makes you wonder if something happened in their ecosystem to make them react that way? For example, the shark attacks in Florida are thought to be in part caused by changes in the movement and availability of their fish/food resources.
Tuxedocat is offline  
Sep 13th, 2005, 10:37 PM
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We went to T&C about one and a half years ago and did indeed see some sharks, but none that bothered us. Both times were at the reef at Coral Gardens. One day we saw a nurse shark sleeping down below and another day we saw a reef shark swimming far below but heading toward the reef. Both times we were on the outermost side of the reef where the depth dropped off quite a bit. I got out of the water pretty darn quick both times!!! But I do not think the sharks were interested in us at all. However, when I saw the reef shark, we were the only ones snorkeling out there at the time so I thought it prudent to leave well enough alone. The water there is amazing and you will have a great time.
californiadeb is offline  
Sep 14th, 2005, 04:55 PM
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Tuxedocat--yes it is on under the Barcelo Maya resort. Apparantly they had quite a time of it not to mention the medical costs up front. I wonder if it were the same one or different Barracudas.
diann is offline  
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