DIVE REPORT: HAMMERHEAD SHARKS ARE OUT TO PLAY

Hammerhead sharks are rare and exciting to encounter in the Florida Keys. TONY TIMPANO/Contributed

Conditions were okay. The insane winds came down enough to start running trips again. Still, all that energy from the winds and waves takes awhile to calm down. So, even though we could run, there were still decent waves, and the visibility was still a little off. 

Maybe hammerhead sharks like those conditions, because we saw so many last week. I think we saw four different sharks on separate occasions. This is really rare. 

Sharks are an obsession of mine, and we do as much as possible to raise awareness about the importance of sharks. They’re apex predators that keep our oceans healthy and balanced. 

Whenever we get to interact with them in the wild, it’s an extra special treat. The great hammerhead is my favorite species. It has very distinct characteristics. For example, its “hammer” gives it superior vision and aids in capturing prey. The great hammerhead’s dorsal fin is also very tall and sickle shaped. Furthermore, hammerheads can tan. That’s right – research shows that hammerheads can tan from light brown to almost black because they spend so much time on the surface. Interestingly, no cases of cancer have been detected in this shark species, which has led researchers to see if there’s a link between this shark and the prevention and treatment of melanoma.

Next Week’s Dive Report

The wind is finally going to lay down this week and we should get our famous visibility back – just in time for summer.

Conservation Update

I.CARE will be finally getting back out there Saturday to plant corals after being grounded by the wind for a couple weeks. Key Dives will be conducting the outplantings. Don’t forget that locals can dive free to help I.CARE plant, monitor and maintain endangered corals. Call us for more details!

Conservation Tip

Sharks are super important to our ecosystem. We need to protect certain species that are threatened. To get more involved, take a PADI Shark Aware class to become a shark ambassador.

I.CARE Tip

Come visit I.CARE at Anglers Reef on Sunday. They’ll have a booth at the 3rd annual Jeff Leonia Reel & Steel tournament weigh in and party. This tournament raises funds for a kids sea camp that will certify less fortunate kids in scuba. 

If you would like to have the Weekly delivered to your mailbox or inbox along with our daily news blast, please subscribe here.

Eric Billips is is the owner, captain and instructor at Islamorada Dive Center and Floridia Keys Dive Center. He specializes in scuba, rebreather, spearfishing and captaining in the Florida Keys