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White Tip Shark Ilot Mato South Reef New Caledonia
Nouvelle Calédonie

When I took this image of the white tip shark, Triaenodon obesus, it was about one metre from the camera lens. It looks big because it was so close, but was only about 1.4 metres long. Normally these sharks are kind of hard to get close to - at least on normal terms. One can get a lot closer when feeding them - but that's one thing I don't get involved with; feeding them with bait or feeding them with parts of myself.

I have to admit that I don't think sharks are cuddly creatures. I don't trust them. They have a chilly, unintelligent persona and I don't feel comfortable taking my eyes off one when I see it in the water. They normally reciprocate the feeling (humans are a lot more dangerous than sharks) so we tend to go our separate ways pretty quick if we happen to meet unexpectedly. But this shark was apparently unaware of what I was and seemed quite comfortable hanging around. In fact 3 or 4 of its mates were hanging around, too. They were not sure of what kind of creatures Freddy and I were because we were wearing our stunning zebra-striped leotards. You can see Freddy in hers, swimming up the coral gully on the reef behind the shark.

The sharp, high contrast pattern of these leotards confuse our normal human shape in shark eyes (also in fish-eyes) and the reef creatures are a whole lot less worried about us than when we look like a normal human killer fish. The suits also have the benefit (if you call getting close to sharks a benefit) of protecting our tender skins from the sun, the occasional jellyfish or stinging coral. It even holds a little body heat.

For more about diving and snorkelling spots in New Caledonia's fabulous lagoon, check out the cruising guide to New Caledonia.

Copyright: Richard chesher
Type: Spherical
Resolution: 13118x6559
Chargée: 31/03/2012
Mis à jour: 26/05/2014
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Tags: shark; mato; new caledonia; lagoon; white tip shark; triaenodon obesus; reef shark; underwater; diving; snorkelling
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More About Nouvelle Calédonie

Une Nation du Pacifique Sud, la plus proche de l'Australie et de la Nouvelle Zélande. Une chaîne de hautes montagnes, d'impressionnantes cascades et de nombreuses rivières avec une flore et une faune variée et souvent unique au monde - C'est le paradis de la randonnée pédestre ou équestre ainsi que de l'excursion en véhicule tout-terrain.Le plus grand lagon du monde, peuplé d'une faune tropicale endémique particulièrement riche, avec des récifs et des populations de poissons rares et protégées. Des centaines d'épaves sous-marines, des îlots, de nombreuses plages de sable blanc. La population calédonienne est issue d'un large brassage culturel : Mélanésiens, Européens, Polynésiens, Vietnamiens, Chinois, Japonais, et la langue et culture française. La Nouvelle-Calédonie est dotée de très bonnes infrastructures médicales et sociales. Une infrastructure touristique qui offre un large éventail de types d'hébergement allant de l'hôtel 5 étoiles au camping aménagé en passant par l'accueil en milieu tribal, les chambres d'hôtes, les refuges et l'auberge de jeunesse.