From your suggestions and shining referrals I've decided to get a QCC700, I'll be ordering it soon and I'll need to pick the colors.
I admit that I'm Sharkaphobic to a fair extent (I have problems with lakes and sometimes pools if I'm alone). And this is where the colors come in.
I've read a bit about Shark attacks on Kayaks and have run into only three in depth stories.
1. One was a Kayak (dagger meridian) with a white hull and blue deck attacked by a Mako shark (It left a tooth
2. A 2.7 meter kayak that was an apparent "medium blue" the man was wearing a full black wetsuit - suspect is a great white.
3. Though I can't seem to find the original I read that a man and wife were kayaking and they were in perfectly identical Kayaks except that the woman’s had a black strip/tape or something running along the bottom, the man's kayak without it (white hull) was attacked sixteen times. Hers - 0 - . I imagine it could be that the man was putting more "energy" in the water that caused it, but sharks are good at noting contrasts. *Edit* -Sea Kayaker Issue 86
I know sharks aren’t something you should really worry about - I know - trust me. But that doesn’t assuage my fear in any way. It won’t stop me from doing it, but I can’t imagine the damage to my psyche should it ever happen.
Have you anything to relate/report shark wise? Personal experiences or stories you know of? I was thinking of going with a storm grey hull, a black “race” stripe and a sage green deck.
I'll leave you with this quote that I find explains a good portion of my reasoning:
**"While I was gone to Europe, Gabe mentioned that the way he tries to manage his crippling fear of common events is to craft a detailed plan he can execute in case of emergency. Flying in this plane highlights the difference between our crisis strategies, because there is no plan that could encompass the breadth of airborne disaster unless your plan is to die.
My own technique is based on what I call The Simulations. Modern life is so fraught with peril that it is best to simply accept that you will (for example) die at a stranger's hand instead of returning your videos. I have iterated every possible outcome, implement, and location in frighteningly detailed scenarios that cover a host of weather conditions. The idea is that it won't surprise me all that much when I encounter that ravenous, escaped jaguar.
You might ask yourself, or me for that matter, why I would require precise calculations for the lacerations of mid-air plane wreckage, particularly when the chances of expiring in this fashion are so low. The chance of something happening has never been any comfort to me whatsoever, because that is an esoteric footnote when your airplane becomes, for a brief moment, a new star thirty-thousand feet over Portland, Oregon. The "chances" are of no help at all. I mean, think about the guy who has that rare form of butt cancer. He's not thinking, "Well, it's just so rare." Ask him if he thinks he has a lucky ass."** *edit* - Penny Arcade http://www.penny-arcade.com/news.php3?date=2003-07-21
Sorry for the long post. And thank you VERY MUCH for any help.
From your suggestions and shining referrals I've decided to get a QCC700, I'll be ordering it soon and I'll need to pick the colors.
You might reconsider the Storm as it is a much more stable boat . The trashing about in the water when trying to re-enter is like ringing the dinner bell. I see sharks on a regular basis and it’s nerve shattering so I carry a bang stick on my forward deck and tow a shark repellant behind the boat…
I saw four on my coffee run this morning and consider them as spirit guides and very good luck…
Don’t worry about the color, get what you like the best…
Here are a couple of well documented cases of Great White Shark attacks on kayaks in NORCAL AKA "The Red Triangle"
The International Shark Attack File has all the stats in one place:
Here is their advise on the subject of sharks and colors:
The chances of an encounter, and the precautions you might take, depend on what species you might encounter.
I consider myself to be "Aware" of shark danger, but not paranoid about it. I know from personal exprience that the whole "Don't worry about it, the chances are ten million to one" thing is a lot of BS. Maybe dangerous BS, depending on where you are...
I have had three IN the water encounters with large dangerous sharks. A Tiger off South Carolina (All I saw was a fin, but I assume it was the same one caught later that evening) And two encounters with Bull Sharks in the Florida Panhandle.
The Tiger Shark paid me no attenion. One Bull Shark turned tail and fled at the sight of me, but one trailed me to shore.
If you wanted to encounter a large dangerous shark, I know exactly where to take you.
Florida is the shark attack capitol of the world. Most attacks are concentrated in a rather small area. Volusia County gets the most, and most of the attacks there happen at just one beach. New Syrna Beach. I personally saw a guy with a mangled leg being put in an ambulance there. I never got in the water there again. The locals insist on surfing there, but there is some move to ban surfing in that spot.
The major culprit for serious shark attacks in Florida is the Bull Shark. They can tolerate fresh water and are often near where fresh water runs into bays, the place you might least expect them to be.
Sharks also hang out in the deep water channel just outside the breaking waves.
California gets a bad rep because Great White Sharks are so awesome, and attacks are so devasting, but GWS are rare. They are an endangered species.
A little research shows that GWS attacks in Cali are a seasonal thing. About half the attacks happen in August, September, and October, while attacks in February, March, and June are almost unheard of:
The main point is that you should learn something about sharks, and their behavior in your area and maybe take some basic precautions.
Most of the year I just don't worry about it, but in high shark season I track shark sightings, and will sometimes avoid areas where there have been multiple sighting over a short period, like last year when there was a GWS sightings three times in two weeks at my favorite boogie boarding spot.
Surf reports often include shark sightings, and on the west coast there are tracked by the Shark Attack Research Committee:
A little knowledge goes a long way toward increasing "awareness" while decreasing "paranoiria."
The first two stories under the ‘articles’ link are about sharks vs. kayaks.
I think that having an ‘irrational’ fear is pretty common. I mostly have been able to override my own fear of critters in the sea, but it take some effort on overcast days with muddy water, for some reason.
I’d guess that one or two tape stripes, of strongly contrasting color, on the hull would make the kayak clearly something ’ not occurring naturally in nature '. For myself, one or two cross stripes of black 100 MPH tape on a white hull would probably make me feel better.
Contrast Is Said To Attract Sharks
But then some believe black and white patterns repel sharks. Dennis Sike puts black and white Sea Snake decals on his kayaks to repel sharks. There is even "Shark Camo" decals in black and white patterns for surfboards.
Through this I found the 3rd story was in Sea Kayaker issue 86, which was on the net for one reason or another. Someone pointed out that a poisonous sea snake populates that area, and a black strip of tape along the hull could have set off the sharks warning signs.
I read "wear drab colors, black wetsuits and avoid yellow" and then "don’t swim with dark color clothing/wetsuits and avoid contrasts" I think everyone agrees that flashy jewelry is a no-no.
Thanks for the help so far, nice to know I'm not alone.
PA Rocks! Send in the Merch
Someone tested black and white striped wetsuits for divers in a sea snake like pattern. They attracted the shark's attention.
There is a new shark repellant under development that looks promising.
If you are this concerned, you might consider using a shark pod, (developed in South Africa I believe). http://www.sharkshield.co.za/field_testing.html
Of course they don't always work.
By the way, a professional underwater photographer I know assures me that the best shark repellant is a camera loaded with film. ;-)
Really Sick Ideas
I have thought it might be fun to show “JAWS” on a portable DVD player in camp the night before an ocean trip.
Or how about recording the music from JAWS onto an MP3 player and playing it for your friends while on the ocean?
We have a resident hammerhead
here in Vero Beach off the Riomar rocks. Our best guess is about 14 feet in length. When the tarpon migrate through the cove, the bull sharks are actively attacking near the surf zone. So, common sense, you stay out of the area during those times. Fortunately, our local life guards spot the sharks, bait, etc, and post warning flags. Sometimes, the USCG helicopter, from Ft. Pierce, spots heavy shark concentrations along the beaches and the appropriate warnings are posted. I am not aware of any shark attaacks on yaks in our area. Oh, yeah, my yak is blue with a gray hull.We have active yak anglers on both the east and west coasts of Florida and in the ICW. We also have anglers who actively fish for the sharks from their yaks. Yes, the mako frequents our area, also. I’m more concerned about careless PWC and power boaters, than a shark attack. Heck, driving to the launch area is statistically more dangerous. I survived Korea and 'Nam-I’m not going to worry about the poor underfed, overfished sharkies,
Speaking of Snook (caught)
did you catch that article or here about the snook caught at the jupiter inlet last weekend.
Photographed but not weighed, preofessionals estimate it to be 55-60 pounds. A world record by far but released.
LIght hull might be best…
Great Whites on the pacific coast generally hunt by staying deep, over a dark substrate where they are less visible, then rushing to the surface in an ambush attack. Since they are looking upward from darker depths to the light at the surface, a lighter colored hull will make you a little less visible. This is the same camouflage pattern that the whites use, dark gray on top, with a white belly.
I took this pic of a Silky 65' down in 4000'of water off the Bahamas. There were about 10 Silkys and six Bull sharks around us. The only way we could keep them in camera range was to keep shooting fish and feeding them..
This was before all the shark dives got popular. These are not reef sharks.
The obvious color choice is…
“CYAN”!!! QCC can and will do custom colors.
From the depths looking up - all kayaks look like dark shapes.
Only GWS feed in that vertical missile attack though. The are also known for their “test bite” and are finicky eaters (but for fragile humans a test bite can be lethal). GWS are rare. Not something to worry about unless you paddle near sea/sea lion haul outs near the birthing season (especially Elephant Seal birthing season), which I believe coincide with the months on the attacks given by Barracuda above.
In warmer waters, Tigers could do damage, but are generally shy. They don’t test bite. Instead they like to come straight in an bite clean through anything and swallow it (sea turtles are a favorite, and Tiger’s teeth are specialized for cleanly biting through even hard turtle shells). If somethings not edible they can turn their stomachs inside out later. Tigers have been known to swim by, cleanly bite off a limb (or head) and keep going. This is know from checking stomach contents on ones that have been caught and from eyewitness reports. Again though, not likely to ever be a problem paddling - unless one mistakes you and your kayak for a long skinny turtle!
The only ones I really think about at all are Bull Sharks. They are not shy. They can be aggressive and curious. They do not shy away from larger prey. They like shallow and murky water - and as already noted, can handle fresh water. Inlets are likely places for them (and they may be conditioned to associate boats/fishermen with food - likely why that one trailed 'cuda to the beach). This places them in and around most of my favorite paddling areas. Even though I’ve never seen them (only seen a Spinner Shark so far) I know they are around. But then, so are the crocodiles at Key Largo, right Grayhawk!
Forget about color and learn to roll your kayak if you don’t already. At least that way you’re only in the water a few seconds and your legs stay in the kayak!
PS - Greenland Sharks creep me out. Docile and slow my butt! Those things are big and eat big stuff. One more reason to be glad I don’t paddle cold waters.
I will be known as the man
with a split second roll, no worries about that.
I might go Sage Green Deck, Black "stripe", and Lagoon Green Hull... you know... kelp?
I was also going to say that from underneath, looking up toward the sun, they all look the same. I think a kayak might look like a seal from underneath…kind of like a surfboard.
I solved my fear…
by living in Wisconsin. Lake Michigan, Lake Superior, great paddling. Now I watch for bears.
Sharks are fun !
also alligators, snakes, bears, moose, wolves, bison, humpback whales, Orcas, sealions and all the other creatures of the wilds.
Learn about them and enjoy paddling around and with them.
What scares the hell out of me are drunken power boaters. Their behavior is completely unpredictable!
Agree completely Jack. Enjoy them if you are fortunate enough to see them. From 1986 to 1991 I conducted a night diving tagging project on immature green turtles off the first reef in Broward County. One to three foot greens were captured on the bottom, brought to the surface and tagged with University of Florida flipper tags. During our Scuba dive captures, we never saw a shark although they are certainly present in the area. Glad we didnt. Anyway all you paddlers in Florida who are spotting immature greens on reefs or estuaries drop me a line as I am still compiling data on this stuff. No sharks please. I do paddle mostly Everglades now and alligator season is full blast. Always a thrill to observe.