Main Menu
Join Undercurrent on Facebook

The Private, Exclusive Guide for Serious Divers Since 1975 | |
For Divers since 1975
The Private, Exclusive Guide for Serious Divers Since 1975
Join Undercurrent on Facebook
"Best of the Web: scuba tips no other
source dares to publish" -- Forbes
October 2012    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 27, No. 10   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
What's this?

Beware of the Hand-Biting Barracudas

from the October, 2012 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

Thomas Goreau, president of the Global Coral Reef Alliance, wrote a guest post for our blog last year, entitled "Barracuda Attack," about his encounter with an infamous barracuda near Cozumel that took off his little finger and the side of his hand (read it at www.undercurrent.org/blog/2011/01/04/barracuda-attack ). His tale got plenty of reads, and other Undercurrent subscribers posted their own barracuda stories. The most recent was written by Adriana Ingrid Diez (Buenos Aires, Argentina), who came face to face last month with another barracuda hanging out in a popular dive site that also likes to go for the hands. Here's her story:

"I was with my husband, Daniel, in Half Moon Caye, Belize on September 3. It was an incredible bright and sunny day; the water was warm and calm like a pool. I was carrying my camera in my right hand, and a 10-inchlong metal stick, one that divers use not to touch the coral, in my left hand. We were at 42 feet, between two marvelous reefs, when something hit me on my left side, and something happened to my left hand. At the same time, I hit Daniel, who was on my left. He was surprised, as he could only see a barracuda, and he didn't realize I had been bitten until he saw the blood coming from my hand. The barracuda had appeared from nowhere, and everything happened in seconds. I grabbed my left hand and I saw wounds in my ring and pinky fingers, plus others on the hand. But I counted my fingers -- all of them were there, thankfully.

"It was in front of us, then it was behind us, menacing, coming and going, following us. We started to go up to the surface, very calmly, and we didn't see the barracuda again. It was big, almost four feet long.

"Once we reached the surface, we were 200 yards from the boat, but the crew heard our whistles immediately and sent a small boat. The divemaster cleaned my wounds carefully, then wrapped them with Band-Aids. The crew started asking if there was a lionfish around us, saying that could have been the reason for the attack, because locals are feeding barracudas with the lionfish that they find. They also use small spearguns or metal sticks, like the one I was carrying, to feed and kill barracudas and nurse sharks. 'Were you wearing a ring?' everyone asked. 'Bracelets?' No, nothing, just the metal stick. Was the fish attracted to it?

"Then we called DAN to report the incident. They responded very quickly, sending a fast boat to take us to Belize City. On the ride, the driver mentioned that he had heard of eight barracuda attacks in Belize just that season alone. One of them was to a lady who had been bitten in the face, close to her snorkel. The driver also mentioned that people were feeding barracudas with sticks and harpoons.

"Once in Belize City, I was taken to Belize Medical Associates, where a Dr. Roberts told me that I needed stitches, antibiotics and a tetanus injection, and that the tendon of my left ring finger was almost totally cut, so he needed to sew it up. Lots of shots -- I thought I was going to faint. It was impossible to go on diving, at least on this trip.

"Two days later, I was back in Argentina. I had the stitches removed on September 19, and I'll need physical therapy in the next month to recover full movement of my hand. But I fortunately have all my fingers."

I want to get all the stories! Tell me how I can become an Undercurrent Online Member and get online access to all the articles of Undercurrent as well as thousands of first hand reports on dive operations world-wide



NEW! Find in  

| Home | Online Members Area | My Account |
| Travel Index | Dive Gear Index | Health/Safety Index | Environment & Misc. Index | Seasonal Planner | Forums | Blogs | Free Articles | Book Picks | News |
| Dive Resort & Liveaboard Reviews | Featured Reports | Recent Issues | Back Issues | Login | Join | Special Offers | RSS | FAQ | About Us | Contact Us | Links |


Copyright © 1996-2016 Undercurrent (www.undercurrent.org)
3020 Bridgeway, Ste 102, Sausalito, Ca 94965
All rights reserved.

cd