Posted by fred on October 05, 2000 at 21:53:19:
In Reply to: Someone speared a Mako?!! posted by Other Ben on October 03, 2000 at 10:36:25:
Mako armed to the teeth | Man kills attacking shark | Diver uses spear gun on deadly fish off
Stewart Graham was calmly "paddy hopping" -- swimming from one kelp bed to
the next -- just south of Coronado Island yesterday when he nearly met
Graham, 39, an environmental geologist, was free diving 30 feet down
searching for yellowtail when he spotted the long, stout body of one of his
favorite creatures -- a shark -- in the distance.
He rose to the surface and calmly called to Danny Oliver, pilot of the Blue
Job, the dive boat sitting 50 feet away, to bring the boat around. Graham
told Oliver he was getting out of the water.
Graham said he wasn't panicked or even frightened. An experienced free
diver (they don't use air tanks), he has swum with sharks before,
particularly along the Cocos Islands in the South Pacific. It had become
routine in 27 years of diving, and no shark had ever attacked him. Why
would this one, he thought.
But when he dove under the surface again, he saw a large mako shark -- its
mouth wide open and sharp teeth shining -- charging straight at him.
With only a moment to think and the shark only about 15 feet away, Graham
said, he grabbed the spear gun at his side -- loaded with a thin, 6-foot
metal spear -- and aimed it at the fish's mouth.
As the spear shot through the water, he said, the shark seemed to sense the
danger and jerked its head to one side. The spear sank into the gills of
the 10-foot-long animal, which then passed Graham without touching him.
Meanwhile, on the boat, Oliver, also a geologist, said he was more stunned
than his friend.
"I thought: `Oh, boy. What's going on?' I wasn't sure if we had a kill,"
said Oliver, who lives in Solana Beach.
Graham said he doesn't know what prompted the shark to attack him except
that makos are unpredictable. There was no blood in the water near him to
lure the shark, he said.
It took the team of four on the boat more than four hours to return to the
Marlin Club on Shelter Island. The shark was too long and too heavy to put
into the 18-foot Blue Job. They struggled with the dying fish for 20 miles,
moving at a snail's pace, before docking late yesterday.
A crane lifted the shark out of the water and onto a scale, where it
weighed in at 426 pounds.
"It's still hasn't sunk in. Maybe when I get home," said Graham, of
The four divers were participating in the San Diego Free Divers Blue Water
Meet, an event held within the 40 miles of water surrounding Shelter
Graham said he was sorry he had to spear the enormous fish, even though it
attacked him. "One of my favorite animals is the shark," he said. "As a
geologist I have so much respect for them because they have been around for
so many years."
While members of his dive group were researching whether the shark could be
a record for a fish caught with a spear, Graham and Oliver were looking for
someone to fillet it while it was still fresh.
"Shark meat's great," Graham said. "It's a little like swordfish."
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