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Sharks on the west coast of Barbados

Dublin, Ireland
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Sharks on the west coast of Barbados

Two days ago I was snorkelling on the west coast in sandy lane bay just between the two floating platforms about 75meters from the shore when I saw a 5-6 foot nurse shark swim past me along the bottom no more than a couple of meters below me. Although I was startled to see such a big fish in the water so close to me, I know these sharks are not dangerous to people. Some other people also saw it and were frightened by it. Does anyone know what other sharks can be found in these waters?

Bridgetown, Barbados
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1. Re: Sharks on the west coast of Barbados

Very unusual to see any sharks in the water as most of the island is surrounded by a reef thankfully, and sharks tend to stay the other side...this is quite a way off shore... are you sure it was a nurse shark? have you seen one before?...normally the only area you might see a shark is off of North Point but to be honest no-one would go in the water there - much too rough....

Glad it didn't frighten you too much - I would say it's highly unusual...

That said we have had whales off of the west coast a few weeks/months ago which I had never seen in 23 years and you do get dolphin a bit further out too...

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2. Re: Sharks on the west coast of Barbados

brooke g

Scary is completely correct, although I do see the odd person going to Cove Bay and River Bay for a swim from time to time. Sharks on the West Coast aren't impossible, but highly improbable.


Glasgow, United...
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3. Re: Sharks on the west coast of Barbados

Plenty of sharks out of the water though!

You can never be 100% sure of anything where the ocean is concerned.

Burlington, Canada
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4. Re: Sharks on the west coast of Barbados

Did a bit of research and here’s what comes up. Basically there are sharks in the waters just as anywhere else in the Caribbean but fortunately there haven’t been any attacks. Like Scary said though there have been some whales off shore in the spring so big fish are out there.




5. Re: Sharks on the west coast of Barbados

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Removed on: 27 August 2011, 10:35
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6. Re: Sharks on the west coast of Barbados

I agree with Scary, very unusual. I am in Barbados 4 or 5 times a year and spend part of almost every day that I am there snorkeling on Sandy Lane Bay. I have only once seen a small (4 ft) harmless nurse shark and that was probably 8 years ago.

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7. Re: Sharks on the west coast of Barbados

Never say never...just last week a great white was caught off coast of Nova Scotia Canada where no record of sharks in years.


Edited: 27 August 2011, 08:45
Liverpool, United...
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8. Re: Sharks on the west coast of Barbados

Please find below an email sent to a couple we befriended during our holiday, while we where staying at Almond village hotel, which describes my little encounter with a shark on the 4-03-12. I was in the next bay to the right, as you are facing out to see from Sandy Lane Bay.

Dear Henry and Cherry Anne

Please find attached a copy of a few sunsets that Henry requested, and a few other images you may find interesting. May I say, sorry for the delayed email, we’ve been up the wall here since getting back.

Yes it’s true; I had a very terrifying swim with a 3 meter shark on the last full day of our honeymoon. I’ve since worked out that it was a Lemon shark or a Sand Tiger shark and not a Tiger shark as first thought. It was defiantly not a Barracuda as suggested by the manager of the hotel.

I was lead to believe there where no sharks in the water near the beach, after speaking to one of the members of staff from the catamaran trip Nicky and I took. They stated there were sharks in the water around the island, but they stay in the deep waters about 1 mile off the coast or further. Since being home I’ve done quiet a lot of reading about sharks, but it seems they come closer to the shore line to feed over the inner coral reef at night; which resulted in my little encounter.

I was only suppose to be going for a snorkel near the beach for 15 to 30 minutes on our last full day, as assured to Nicky as I set off at 5pm. As soon as I got into the water I felt really good and thought I’ll swim really hard out to the wreck to have one last look at it before we left. Especially as there were no boats in the area, which I considered would allow some more different types of fish to be viewed, as it would be really quiet (how ironic).

I got to the wreck at 5:15 as I was keeping an eye on the time, to see what time to set off back towards the hotel beach. While I was having a very quick look around, 30 or so silver fish (2 foot in size) where circling round me. The few times I had been out to the wreck they always came over to me, thinking I was going to feed them with bread as the tourist on boats would.

At this point I was directly over the wreck and facing out to sea, but I could hear what to me sounded like static. I thought there was something in the water near by and started looking round calmly. As I started to swim back, thinking it was a boats engine, to my surprise in front of my path and the beach was a 3 meter sandy brown coloured shark with the biggest eye looking at me. Swimming from my left to my right just off the sandy bottom, directly in front of the coral reef about 10 meters away from the wreck.

At this instant I went from being totally at ease, to shear terror and to almost drowning myself. As I let out what can only be describe as scream and all of the air out of my lungs. I slipped under the water and the seawater come rushing into my snorkel and I really had to fight to get my head out of the water again. It seemed like a few seconds, which it wasn’t, but I got my head above the water and started to cough the water out. Once I starting breathing again unobstructed by the seawater, I looked around frantically for any possible way of getting myself out of the water. There where no boats or Jet Ski’s nearby, and the beach was over 500 meters away. I didn’t fancy swimming for the beach, as I’d been suffering with cramp the last few minute previous to my shark sighting. The only thing to hand was a small boy with excess rope running freely in the water. I grabbed hold of the rope and made a mental effort to calm myself down so I was no longer flapping about in the water, which would have been the quickest way of bringing the shark right over to me for a feed.

A few minutes later two jet skis went past in quick succession, and both drivers failed to see my slow arm waves and hear my screams for help! I was always lead to believe in the sea cadets that a slow wave was an international sign of distress requiring help. All I can say at that point I have never felt so alone and thought I wouldn’t be getting away with this little adventure today.

I decided to stay put with the boy, as I was thinking the rope could be the only thing I could possibly use to fend off, what I was thinking at the time, was an immediate shark attack to come. I then begin to place my head under the water moving round in a circle, round the boy looking for any sign of the shark. I did this every few seconds or so, and when my head was above the water I was screaming towards the beach for help. I kept placing my head under the water right up to the point I was saved by Sam.

I was then given another scare; when the silver fish that had been with me the whole time, all swam at me really fast all of a sudden and prepared myself for the impending impact that never came from the shark.

It was 5:30 when I was finally heard by a group of people on the beach directly next to the wreck and then by Mark. Mark heard me and then pointed his camera out towards where I was, noticed I wasn’t swimming around and told Nicky there was something wrong. It was at this point I started to get hopeful to being saved, but after another 5 minutes of watching the manager and security guard walk up and down the path between the two beaches slowly. I could see Nicky with Julie and could see she was really distressed and walking into the sea as if she was going to swim out to me to try and save me. I realised straight away that I didn’t want her in the sea, and started shouting as hard and as loud as I could that there was a shark in the water. I believe Nicky did her own shouting, not at me, but at the manager to do something as she thought I was drowning.

I then started shouting with many profanities at the manager to get a canoe. It must have worked, as Sam a beach seller came out to my aid with a two man canoe. He arrived a few meters away from me at 545 and informed me that he couldn’t swim. He was afraid that I would knock the boat over and him into the water. It’s sad, but I told him I was in the sea cadets once and know how to get into canoes. I told him the safest thing for me to do, was for me to grab the canoe from behind and pull myself on slowly. He did however get me to declare that I would just hang onto the back of the canoe in the water. That didn’t last long as once he started paddling; I pulled myself on as fast as I could thinking the shark would strike as I was leaving the deeper water.

To win some self respect back and the crowd of some 15 people watching, I took the paddle off Sam to show everyone that I was ok, but more importantly Nicky. All I can say here, that I’ve always been lucky and this is another case of it. Touch wood it continues. This has got to be the biggest scare I have ever given Nicky and myself.

Once I was out the water I suffered from shock for the next half hour to 45 minutes, shaking uncontrollably. To the extent the manager was offering to take me to the local clinic, but I said Nicky was a nurse and would be looking after me. It was only the best part of a bottle of rum that settled my nerves down that night. My nerves must have been really bad, as I rung my mum that night and I never ring her while I’m on holiday.

I even escaped a slap from Nicky, which I would have deserved for scaring her. On a happy note, food and drink has never tasted so good and some people say, “Life’s a daring adventure or nothing at all”!!!

Before I go I’d like to say thank you for our lovely picture, and it was really great meeting the both of you and hope you are both well.

Kind regards,


New York City, New...
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9. Re: Sharks on the west coast of Barbados


Derbyshire, United...
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10. Re: Sharks on the west coast of Barbados

Crikey Tony79, that sounds like a frightening experience!