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February 2017    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 43, No. 2   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Big Sharks Spotted Off Florida’s Atlantic Coast

from the February, 2017 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

Florida had a bonanza with sharks this January. Diver Corey Embree had a New Year's treat looking for sharks in the waters off Palm Beach County, but after 20 years of doing that, he never thought he would meet a great white shark. Another diver, Ben Rother, later came face to face with a whale shark off the coast of Jupiter.

"It was amazing. It was kind of surreal. It was unexpected," Embree said. "We wanted to see lemon sharks; we didn't see any -- just a massive white shark."

"It came right up to me, opened its mouth and gave me a big kiss," Rother said of the whale shark."It greeted me and every person in the water in the same way," he told the Sun Sentinel.

According to Neil Hammerschlag, a marine biologist from the University of Miami, the Gulf Stream serves as a highway for open ocean creatures, and it may have come close to shore in recent days.

Embree and the five divers he was with recorded video of the 14-foot shark, about 3 miles off Juno beach. It was at least 4 feet wide and probably weighed on the order of 1,500 pounds. It circled the group for a few minutes before swimming away.

Luis Roman, owner of Calypso Dive Charters -- the boat company that chartered the trip -- said he dives in the area to spot lemon and nurse sharks as well as sea turtles this time of year.

Ben Rother, a student from the University of Pennsylvania, drove to Florida for a winter break and to go diving. He dove with Emerald Charters, expecting to see lemon sharks and bull sharks, and had dropped only to 40 feet (12m) when the whale shark approached him.

"I've never seen something so massive and so majestic before," he said. "It was this 30-foot creature that just wanted to hang out with you. It felt like a miracle." (Source: Sun Sentinel)

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