It’s the 2nd day of a three day liveaboard. We’re on Shark Fin Reef in the Similan Islands. The time is about 12:15 and I’m floating around at the back of a group of students assisting a PADI Open Water diver course. It’s a beautiful day! The sun is shining, 29 degrees in the water, 30+ meters visibility and only a mild current. Conditions could really not be any better. Inge, the instructor, is in the front leading the dive and behind her, her students. We’re about 18 meters deep and my fellow Divemaster trainee Shannon is right next to me holding up the rear.
So far the dive has been beautiful but, just in case, I keep turning around, looking for anything that might be hiding in the blue behind us. Suddenly I see something moving below us, something big. It’s a shark emerging out of the blue. As I admire the shark gliding along gracefully across the sandy bottom I feel my heart rate increase. I can’t believe what I’m seeing. The shark has STRIPES! Behind us, 10 meters below, is a freaking TIGER SHARK! I’m breathing heavily at this point trying to get Shannon’s’ attention but the tiger shark is already disappearing into the blue again.
I’m a bit dumbfounded but I’m still sure of what I saw. It was a shark, about 3 meters in size and it had stripes. Where is that camera when you need it? Who would ever believe such nonsense, tiger sharks in the Similan Islands? Give me a break! But as it turns out later, I’m not the only one… As of now multiple sources has reported what they perceived to be a tiger shark of about the same size. Some of them guest divers, but also some of the most experienced divemasters and instructors in the Similan Islands. All of the reports are also from the same site, so maybe, just maybe, I’m not that crazy after all?
As well as tiger sharks the site houses diverse marine life with clown triggerfish, half-moon triggerfish, schools of batfish, palette surgeonfish, blue-faced angelfish, bannerfish, chances to see humphead parrotfish, napoleon wrasse and numerous nudibranchs. With the crazy good visibility of the Similan Islands, it’s always a good idea to keep an eye out into the blue for passing mantas and whalesharks.
Shark Fin Reef is a great site and I’m already looking forward to my next chance of seeing that Tiger Shark. See you on the next trip to the Similan Islands!