Photos show majesty of breaching sharks

breaching sharks

Thresher shark images are courtesy of Frankie Grant/Cabo Trek

I spend hours a day scouring social media sites and see all kinds of shark images, but during the past several days two images stood out for the same reason: The sharks were free jumpers.

It's no secret that certain sharks will occasionally breach, but to capture this event with a camera is somewhat rare, unless the shark has been hooked and is trying to get free.

The image that caught my eye was that of a thresher shark leaping high above the surface beyond Cabo San Lucas at Baja California's tip.

breaching shark

Mako image sequence is courtesy of ©Bernardo Alps

The image, captured by Frankie Grant, was posted to Facebook on January 4 by Cabo Trek. The vessel had been on a whale-watching voyage, near humpback whales, when the shark began to jump off the stern. It breached five times, allowing Grant to capture the images with this story.

The Facebook post has since been shared more than 1,500 times.

In a response to seeing this photo, Bernardo Alps, a Southern California photographer, posted an image showing a free-jumping mako shark. Alps photographed the sequence last Saturday from aboard the Voyager outside of King Harbor in Redondo Beach.

Alps said the shark jumped twice, with the second coming about 15 seconds after the first. After seeing the first jump, the photographer anticipated the second.

thresher shark

Mako sharks, a pelagic species not commonly observed, are not known to jump unless they’re hooked, so this seems to be a much more unusual event. Alps said the shark was over the Redondo submarine canyon when it breached.

Anyway, I'm just sharing these shots because they stand out among so many fairly routine underwater shark images, and because they reveal another dynamic of shark behavior, and add to the mystique of these amazing predators.

–Follow Pete Thomas on Facebook

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