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Seeing Sharks Near Shore

Mankato, Minnesota
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362 posts
27 reviews
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Seeing Sharks Near Shore

We are currently into the last few days of our trip *sob* Anyways, yesterday I left for a bit and got a text from hubby saying he's seeing "shark like" fins sticking out of the water outside our condo. My mom & I thought he was joking but when we arrived back we spotted them as well. We couldn't track them down out of the binoculars though to get a good look at them (we were on our lānai). Eventually we quit seeing the fins and discounted it to a large fish with shark-like fins.

This morning I was out looking at a boat and just happened to see the fins out of the water again. I got a good glimpse of them this time through the binoculars. After some Goggling I'm convinced it's a shark. I saw both the front and rear fin. It's only maybe 20'-30' feet from shore in front of the reef. Long story short; what do I do? Tell someone or just ignore it?

Mankato, Minnesota
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362 posts
27 reviews
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1. Re: Seeing Sharks Near Shore

Oh, and on a side note. Maui is AMAZING and thank YOU all so much for all of your posts. We have had an amazing time. It's so funny when I see a random restaurant and start spouting off your reviews from it when I've never even been there before!

hudson valley
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2. Re: Seeing Sharks Near Shore

How many fins have you seen? While there can certainly be multiple sharks in a small area, they don't tend to travel in groups the way dolphins do. They also don't tend to spend time at the surface the way dolphins do, and sharks don't surf the bow waves and wakes of boats, which is something that could account for seeing whatever you saw near a boat.

If you definitely saw two fins on the same animal, then it probably is a shark. Dolphins have flukes, which are horizontal, whereas sharks and other fish have tails with vertical fins. Sharks also have a 2nd dorsal fin, but it's generally small enough that the tail fin sticks up significantly more. Most other fish have dorsal fins that are somewhat similar to a shark's, but those fish are almost all considerably smaller. Assuming it was a shark, simple probability says that it's a reef shark and poses no threat. I'd just sit back and appreciate having seen it. I certainly wouldn't call anyone unless I was positive it was a tiger shark, and in an area where there are snorkelers. It's a virtual certainty that there were also a lot of sharks out there that you just couldn't see. I wouldn't take the chance of having a bunch of people chased out of the ocean for half a day just because I saw proof that there's an ocean next to the beach.

Santa Monica, CA
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for Santa Monica
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3. Re: Seeing Sharks Near Shore

This happens at Santa Monica beach all the time. Normally, they are dolphins. Sharks are mostly solitary. But, of course, sharks are out there, so it cannot be completely discounted. If you are in an area where there are any lifeguards, go and ask one of them what it could have been. I like talking to lifeguards!

Big Island, Hawaii
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for Island of Hawaii
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4. Re: Seeing Sharks Near Shore

Eagle rays and manta rays on the surface can also look like sharks. I was snorkeling last week and there were a couple eagle rays mating (apparently) on the surface and when I got out the people on shore were all freaked out as they were sure I had been hanging out snorkeling with thrashing sharks!

But it would be very unusual to see a large shark at the same spot over different days, especially so close to shore in a resort area, it would likely have been spotted by others and reported. Probably dolphins or rays.

Maui, Hawaii
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5. Re: Seeing Sharks Near Shore

"But it would be very unusual to see a large shark at the same spot over different days, especially so close to shore in a resort area." That's true but it does happen. A few years ago my coworkers were all abuzz because there was a tiger shark that kept coming around Kihei Beach Resort for a few days in a row, pretty much in the mid afternoon.

Mankato, Minnesota
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362 posts
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6. Re: Seeing Sharks Near Shore

Thanks all. I only saw one swimming but saw 2 fins well. The one was more triangular and grey wile the other was a longer triangular shape stretched out a bit more (like the tails to the sharks I googled). It was all grey as well. It wasn't actually out near a boat, I was out looking at a boat and just happened to see it before I put the binoculars down scanning the water.

There are no lifeguards at the condo but there are usually people snorkling there. This morning however it was still early and the waves were the biggest we've seen so far which kept people out.

Vancouver, BC
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7. Re: Seeing Sharks Near Shore

Which resort are you at?

Mankato, Minnesota
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362 posts
27 reviews
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8. Re: Seeing Sharks Near Shore

Nohonani Condos. It's been beautiful & wonderful snorkling, great beach. No issues until yesterday and today with the shark stuff. I'm not sure if it's still in the area or is gone, we've decided to explore south maui today so we haven been at the condo for a long time.

Kapaa, Hawaii
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for Maui, Hana, Oahu
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9. Re: Seeing Sharks Near Shore

There is no way of telling for certainty what it is you saw. Maybe a shark, maybe not. I will guarantee you if there are sharks out there for you to see, others have seen them too. No need to tell anyone unless you are actually on the beach and 100% sure of what you are seeing.

NORTH CAROLINA
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for Oahu
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10. Re: Seeing Sharks Near Shore

Hey vegasgurl come back and let us know how you liked staying at Nohonani? I know how much we loved it but I'm always interested in hearing other peoples point of views.