Thursday, May 28, 2009

Tigers in Vava'u!

And talking of Tigers in Tonga - here's the proof!

Some sort of Beaked Whales managed to beach themselves at one of the local island resorts and within a couple of hours, four big Tiger Sharks turned up to share the serendipitous meal. Did they sense the blood from miles away? No they didn't, as this clever post by the Southern Fried Scientist eloquently explains!
Anyway, having interviewed a reliable witness, he estimates that the biggest one may well have measured between 5 and 7 meters - the Shark, not the Whale!

Great news - although I have no doubt that the Whale watchers are gnashing their teeth as always! After all, it's the traditional tooth gnashing and ankle biting season!

For you Whale aficionados, here's the head.
The adult animal was approx 7 meters long and Friedel of Blue Lagoon Resort (the top of the crop!) has taken all sorts of measurements which he'll be happy to pass on to anybody interested in the matter. Click on the image for better detail. The skulls have been buried and you can probably have those, too - provided that you come and take care of them yourself!

The Shark pic is by a visiting yacht that just chanced by.
You can read the tale of their very close encounter on their trip log.
All very exciting indeed!

12 comments:

Wilson said...

"For you Whale aficionados, here's the head."

I would have said 'boy you're cheeky falla' - but then remembering that the head of the fish is the most prized part at any dining table in Fiji, I see your angle :P

DaShark said...

Now who's the cheeky falla (:

Ziphiid said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
DaShark said...

Hi there!

just click on the link in the post and that should take you directly to their home page!

Whow - how do you know, I mean, they all look so similar to me? I was already pretty proud w myself for having correctly identified the general group!

DaShark said...

PS: i read that they strand frequently?

Any idea why this is happening?

Ziphiid said...

hi,

thanks.

It is easy to ID the beaked whale.

We don't know reasons why they strand however it can be because of:
-sick animal
-attack killer whales
-sonar used by an army
-garbage in oceans(eg.foil looks like a jelly fish-one of their diet).

See:
http://vertebrates.si.edu/mammals/beaked_whales/pages/routing_main.htm

cheers,
Ziphiid(ziphiid means beaked whale in Latin)

Carol said...

We are the yacht (Raven) that posted the photo and story of our tiger shark encounter in Tonga. The link on your blog to "the tale" appears to be broken. Here it is again if you want to make the correction
http://fijisharkdiving.blogspot.com/2009/05/tigers-in-vavau.html
Enjoyed your website - full of interesting information - and was glad to learn from Ziphiid the identity of the beaked whale.
Carol Parker
s/v Raven

Carol said...

Sorry! I cut and pasted your link, not ours. Here is the correction:
http://ravenaz.wordpress.com/2009/05/19/tiger-sharks/
Carol
s/v Raven

DaShark said...

Thanks Carol!
I did re-post the link, nice witness account! Guess you won't take that risk again, huh...

I did enjoy your Blog too - especially the story about the customs officials. Did you feel harassed or was that just within your expectations of a remote island in the SoPac?

Also, do you have more pics of those Sharks?
We're pondering writing a small paper about Tonga's Elasmobranchs and as far as I know, those are the only pics of Tigers that have ever been taken here!

Carol said...

We've been cruising the South Pacific for a few years now and more or less expect that kind of approach by customs officials. Usually they enjoy coming aboard and checking out the latest arrival. Always have been courteous and not a ripoff. Just a little less "official" than we would expect back home!

Yes more photos of the tigers although of course you've seen my favorite.

Vava'u tiger shark photo gallery:
http://cbpphoto.zenfolio.com/p294031696

BTW, we are divers and we (except my husband) love sharks. We did the shark dive in Beqa Lagoon about three years ago - awesome!

Carol

DaShark said...

Great, thanks Carol!

How big do you reckon that Tiger was - and do you agree that one may have been gigantic?
I heard it was happening but alas, I got no boat here & my camera housing is in Fiji. Oh well, there will be a next time!

Shame we didn't meet in Vava'u!

By the way, if you thought the Shark dive was awesome 3 years ago, you'd be blown away now! Many many more Sharks and also, many more big Fish!

Carol said...

We'll be back in September for humpback whales - meanwhile Raven is moored on one of the Aquarium's moorings in Neiafu harbor and the captain is aboard. He estimated the biggest shark at about 5 meters.