Shark I.D. by dorsal fin shape?

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TomN
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Shark I.D. by dorsal fin shape?

Postby TomN » Sun Jul 25, 2010 5:06 pm

On saturday a cranking sourtherly was blowing. Perfect for a run from my place to Woolgoolga, 15km up the coast.

I headed out in my F1 though dauntingly big surf, 3/4 expecting to be pounded back onto the beach. But my little boat really surprised me and we made it out the back. Guessing some solid 5 foot swell coming through.
Once out there I headed north. I barely needded to paddle, other than to make sure I caught the swell when it was breaking behind me, and a bit of steering, as my little sail just cranked - plenty of speed bubble noises, and planing down swells.. at speed the F1 feels like it 'pops up' and planes.

Half way there off Sandy Beach (yup it really is called that.. creative buggers round here..) I saw a large D shaped dorsal fin. Ragged trailing edge, sharky slow movement and a _large_ shadow, that seemed about the same proportions as my boat. No tail fin out of the water. Not great visibility of the body because of the wind chop.

It was not a whale, and it wasn't a dolphin. ... clearly it was a bigish shark. And it was turning across my bow, heading round.

It certainly gave me some impetus to paddle!! Irrational cause 4 or 5 kts isn't going to out run a shark, but i felt much better paddling a bit away from it.

Anyway the paddle was great, saw a whale, a pod of dolphins, some albatros and skewas (sp) and had a mighty nice time out there. Woolgoolga was beautifully sheleter, with offshore wind, and little waves for landing.

But I can't ID the shark.

From a bit of googling it looks like a great white fin shape, but does anyone know of a dorsal fin shark id method? I'm imagining a nifty poster (What shark is that? :)

Any help appreciated.

Tom

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Bill
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Re: Shark I.D. by dorsal fin shape?

Postby Bill » Sun Jul 25, 2010 6:40 pm

Hi Tom

Heres a couple not particularly relevant to us but does have the white.
A google search for "shark dorsal fin identification" turned them up


Try This
Then This
and then This onel

Cheers

Bill
Cheers

Bill

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TomN
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Re: Shark I.D. by dorsal fin shape?

Postby TomN » Mon Jul 26, 2010 6:56 am

Thanks bill,

I saw all those in my googling - but couldn't make out the key features other than by comparing the pictures. I am hoping for a taxonomic key by dorsal fin shape... ?

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Re: Shark I.D. by dorsal fin shape?

Postby TIMAX » Mon Jul 26, 2010 8:15 am

Hmmm , what colour was it? Brownish or full grey?

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TomN
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Re: Shark I.D. by dorsal fin shape?

Postby TomN » Mon Jul 26, 2010 9:39 am

Hard to tell with the glare and sun angle at the time, but I didn't notice much in the brown tones. More black / very dark blue. If I had to give it a colour it would be dark bluey grey-black.

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Re: Shark I.D. by dorsal fin shape?

Postby RobH » Tue Jul 27, 2010 7:58 am

Well, this certainly would not have been the type of shark you encountered but I've just received a nice photo of me with a basking shark off Coll in Scotland a few weeks ago:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/16795279@N08/4700743119/in/set-72157624151604197/
It was basking shark season so there were several of these huge sharks around. Amazing paddling among them.
Cheers
Rob

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Re: Shark I.D. by dorsal fin shape?

Postby TomN » Tue Jul 27, 2010 9:20 am

Wow thats impressive.

I have just heard a local from Sandy Beach has spotted a large inquisitive tiger shark some 3 times there. Once it came very close to him. I suspect we might have a resident there.

The reef (Witchies?) near Sandy is also reportedly a mighty fine place for sharks.

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Re: Shark I.D. by dorsal fin shape?

Postby adventuretess » Tue Aug 03, 2010 9:46 am

Hi Tom
There have been a few stories around lately about kayaks and sharks and as you know, your post prompted me to dig a little deeper to assuage my own curiosity about the breeds, behaviour and identification of the sharks whose environment we share.
I though your 'Shark I.D. card' was a great idea but given even the experts have difficulty identifying breed by dorsal fin only, it may be a long way off yet.
I learned a lot researching this topic and with so much more to learn, will continue to research and educate myself.
http://funtessea.blogspot.com/2010/07/shark-id.html
Cheers
Tess

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Re: Shark I.D. by dorsal fin shape?

Postby haresfur » Tue Aug 03, 2010 5:48 pm

You've got it wrong. You saw a big fin and no one was around to disprove you: ergo - white shark ;)

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Re: Shark I.D. by dorsal fin shape?

Postby TomN » Tue Aug 03, 2010 11:15 pm

Tess - nice post.

I did think for a moment maybe thats a sunfish, but it was moving way too fast. Last sunfish I saw was slow (less than walking pace) this had that swishy motion of a big slow shark, and was quite fast. The lack of tail fin does suprise me though (perhaps it was one of the ones from the aquarium in Sydney - the saggy sad looking caged ones?)

And Haresfur - I saw it and my imaginary friend out paddling with me did too therefore it did exist ;P

Tom

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Re: Shark I.D. by dorsal fin shape?

Postby Gray Raider » Wed Aug 04, 2010 5:43 am

Two great white sharks, swimming in the ocean, spied survivors of a sunken ship.
"Follow me, son." the father shark said to the son shark and they swam to
the mass of people.

"First we swim around them a few times with just the tip of our
fins showing." And they did.

"Well done, son! Now we swim around them a
few times with all of our fins showing." And they did.

"Now we eat everybody." And they did.

When they were both gorged, the son asked, "Dad, why didn't we just eat them all at first?

Why did we swim around and around them?"

His wise father replied, "Because they taste better without the shit inside!"

G Raider

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Re: Shark I.D. by dorsal fin shape?

Postby tassiejohn » Fri Aug 06, 2010 9:01 pm

This guy saw a shark close up eariler in the week: http://www.rollordrown.com/shark.htm

:D

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Re: Shark I.D. by dorsal fin shape?

Postby adventuretess » Thu Aug 12, 2010 7:07 pm

US big wave surfer Chuck Patterson filmed this GW encounter in California....
http://news.ninemsn.com.au/world/794416 ... -encounter


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