The early bird catches… the fish?
Repeating visitors of Manta Ray Bay Resort might be familiar with the Grey Reef Shark nursery at the “Elbow“ in Mi’l Channel. After almost 25 years of diving Yap, we never had the opportunity to witness a shark giving birth. However, the pregnant females off the Western side seem to either stay close to our dive spot Yap Corner, or even venture into Mi’l Channel to deliver.
Normally, aggregations of neonatal specimens, or the “baby shark tornado“ as we like to call it, shows up by February. Apparently, this year our shark ladies were a bit early – the first baby sharks already frequent the sheltered “Elbow“, and we also saw a few of these two-feet-long fellows off the steep walls off the West coast, which is rather unusual as this area is also home to large silvertips sharks with the occasional oceanic shark coming in. Brave boys!
You might ask yourself “How the heck can I distinguish a baby shark from an adult on the pictures without having a benchmark in the background?!“ Apart from their obvious cuteness… in a similar fashion to puppies, sharks do also show “small child patterns“ – just check out the size of their fins and eyes with respect to their slender bodies.