Shark Encounters in Cozumel
People travel from all over the world to visit the beautiful tropical island of Cozumel, Mexico which sits off the southeast coast of Mexico in the shimmering Caribbean Sea and offers year-round warm air and water temperatures. The beautiful tropical climate attracts tourists from around the world and the Meso-American Barrier Reef system that lies just off the coast of Cozumel has made it a mecca for snorkeling and scuba diving enthusiasts globally.
Local residents of Cozumel offer scuba and snorkeling lessons, equipment rentals and guided fishing, diving, snorkeling and land excursions to the most desirable locations along the reef and popular historic sites. They can also share a wealth of knowledge about the rich local Mayan history and variety of live coral formations, invertebrates, fish species, turtles and other marine life that thrive in the warm and clear Caribbean waters of the Meso-American reef.
Shark encounters in Cozumel from June through September every year tourists from around the world travel to Cozumel to experience marine life up close and personal, especially a variety of sharks that are commonly seen along the reef that include Whale Shark, Tiger Shark, Nurse Shark and Chain Catshark.
The Whale Shark is one of the largest creatures in the ocean averaging about 40 feet in length and has a humped back and huge flat head. It’s also one of the friendliest and most curious sharks since it loves to inspect people up close when it ventures from open ocean into the reef system that allows for human inspection. These gentle giants feed solely on small fish and plankton so don’t be afraid when one swims up and introduces itself during your diving adventure.
The Tiger Shark averages between 18 and 23 feet in length and has vertical stripes (like a Tiger Shark should) and its teeth are incredibly sharp, curved and serrated. This species will eat just about anything including tin cans, garbage found in the ocean, dead animals, birds and other fish. These are not friendly beasts and have been known to attack people so divers who encounter a Tiger Shark should remain as calm as possible and swim out of its range.
Nurse Sharks are nocturnal creatures commonly seen idly resting during the day in sometimes large groups piled on top of each other beneath crevices, ledges and overhangs on the sandy ocean floor of Cozumel. This species has rounded dorsal and pectoral fins, grows as large as 14 feet in length and its diet consists of other fish, stingrays and sea snakes, but primarily tunicates, crustaceans and mollusks. Nurse Sharks are solitary at night when they rifle through ocean floor sediment in search of food and although they are not particularly dangerous to humans, they have been known to bite people particularly those who make the mistake of harassing the slow-moving shark by grabbing its motionless tail.
The Chain Catshark gets its name from the unusual black lines that cover its body that look like chains. Also called the Chain Dogfish, this reticulated and bio-fluorescent shark species is common in the waters off the coast of Cozumel and its diet consists mainly of ocean-bottom-dwelling creatures along with occasional pebbles. Chain Catsharks are not particularly aggressive or dangerous but extreme caution should still be exercised when encountering them or any other shark, especially a female Chain Catshark with a Mermaid’s Purse, which is nature’s special encasement for laying her eggs.
The Meso-American Barrier Reef is the second largest coral reef system in the world, second only to the Great Barrier Reef of Australia, and it attracts tourists, fishermen, snorkelers and scuba divers from all over the world who enjoy the large variety of water sport activities, not to mention viewing all kinds of marine life in their natural habitat.
Cozumel is a dream fishing, scuba diving and snorkeling destination that people from all over the globe visit regularly to enjoy the beautiful tropical island with its rich Mayan history, variety of lodging and dining accommodations and plethora of year round entertainment activities.