Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Famed Shark Arrives at Tiger Beach Dive Site With Bullet Wound

Tiger shark Hook from Tiger Beach in the Bahamas arrived at dive site with large bullet hole wound
Tiger shark Hook with bullet wound. Photo by Maritza Martinez
The famed tiger shark named Hook recently appeared at Tiger Beach
in the Bahamas with a large bullet wound.

When you hear shark divers talking about dive trips to Tiger Beach in the Bahamas, you often hear the names of either Emma or Hook. Both of the names are associated with two of the most recognized tiger sharks that frequent the dive site. And when you talk about specific divers who are known for their interactions with these sharks, the name at the top of the list is Eli Martinez from Shark Diver Magazine.

Emma and Hook coming in to say hi to Eli. Photo by Joseph Wong
Photos of Eli interacting with large tiger sharks have been featured in numerous world-wide publications and most recently, he was spotlighted in a 2014 Shark Week program involving shark tonic immobility.

To say Eli has a certain kinship with the sharks at Tiger Beach would be an understatement.  Eli considers these sharks as part of his family so you can imagine the distress he felt when he discovered that one of the Tiger Beach sharks had been intentionally injured.

Zoomed in view of injury
Sadly, we learned yesterday that during Shark Diver Magazine's last dive trip to Tiger Beach earlier this month, they discovered that Hook, who is also pregnant, had sustained a bullet wound near her head area with both an entry and exit wound.  The injury was explained as such on their Facebook page:
We ran into Hook at Tiger Beach on this past trip. I have not seen her since December of last year. She returned with a huge bullet wound on her. Someone tried to kill her. It looks like a bang stick was used, my guess is a spear fisherman? Or possibly she came up to a boat to steal a fish off their line and they tried to shoot her? The bullet went in on one side and out on the other. She looks like she is going to be ok. But the scar was horrific. She is pregnant right now and will be pupping in the next few months. Made me sad to see my old friend like this. 
Eli Dances with Hook. Photo by Juan Oliphant.
Eli told us that Hook is his "oldest tiger shark friend out there" and that he has known her since 2007.

Hopefully Hook continues to recover from her injury which at this time appears to be the case. Debra Canabal stated on the SDM Facebook page that she was at the dive site yesterday and had seen Hook. She states that the wound is healing nicely and that "the hole is basically closed and she's eating well."

Thank you to Eli for sharing this troubling story and for allowing us to use the photos.
• Website: http://www.sharkdivermag.com/
• Facebook: Shark Diver Magazine

UPDATE: 10/28/2014:
Great news, Eli is back diving at Tiger Beach and he just posted an updated photo and provided a status of her condition:
We returned from another amazing trip at Tiger Beach. The last time we were out there we sadly reported that our old buddy Hook had a pretty nasty looking gun shot wound above her gills. I could literally see inside her body through the bullet hole. Hook is pregnant and we were very concerned for her health. She was very skiddish when she was around us, which is not like her. Thankfully sharks heal pretty fast and in less than two weeks she is healing up extremely well. Here is what her scar looks like right now. Happy to see my old friend doing so well. Image by Maritza Martinez.
Great white shark shot.  Hook at Tiger Beach in the Bahamas