The Blue Sharks of Rhode Island

It was about an hour after we had started chumming. I was so excited to get out there that I had already been in the water twice even though no sharks had showed up yet. Sometimes you are rewarded for such efforts and other times you just get cold. Today, whatever force you want to call it rewarded me.


It was a brief encounter with a large Marlin. She swam in, took a quick look and casually swam away.  She was too far away for any shots, but close enough to get a good look at her. So, after an hour of waiting I already had a great day (my first marlin encounter!). Back on the boat, waiting, I reached into by dive bag to retrieve my 50 spf sunscreen. I dropped it right away as someone yelled “MAKO!”


With all thoughts of skin care far from my mind I rushed over to the side of the boat. A clean and beautiful 5 foot Mako shark was calmly inspecting our hang baits. This is what I traveled to Rhode Island for.

We Got More Then We Had Dreamed Of

I knew the area was producing a lot of Blue sharks, but mako’s are the rare treasures we all hoped would show up. Then a second mako came in and both stayed for a few minutes making close passes by the boat. The dive operators who are out there almost every day of the season, year after year, said they had never seen that before.

By the time I got in the water the mako’s had taken off, no doubt bored or scared by us clumsy humans. They were replaced by four blue sharks, one of which was very large (close to 10 feet).

Getting Up Close And Personal

These were the first blue sharks I had gotten in the water with.I was instantly impressed with the incredibly vibrant blue of their backs and, moreover, their curious nature”  The blues would swim right up to us trying to figure out what the heck we were.

Their long noses would come right up to our cameras’ dome ports. Close proximity to these sharks made everyone on board happy as it is extremely important for underwater photography. Even with the great shark models, I found it challenging to get good shots. I am not a pro like some on board, but I should have not made some of the mistakes I made.

Making The Perfect Shot

Bubbles collected on the outside of my dome port should have been wiped off much sooner as they ruined many shots. The visibility was fairly poor with particulate in the water so I tried for mostly natural light shots. When I did turn my strobes on, they should have been turned down from full power to avoid burning out the white parts of the sharks. This mistake, again, cost me shots. I guess that’s how we learn.


Over the 3 days we spent out there we had

  • 4 Makos
  • 45 blue Sharks
  • 1 marlin
  • 1 hammerhead (made a distant pass)
  • Many shearwaters, yellowfin tuna

I was lucky enough to be in the water when a baby mako showed up to the boat. She never came in close, but I was more than thrilled to simply share the water with her. The blue’s were almost a constant and gave everyone on board a lot of time in the water. Of course, you can never have too much!

I got a sunburn, yes, but I was well rewarded for being out there. Not getting the mako shots just give me an excuse to go back. And go back I will. Special thanks to our hosts Joe Romeiro and Brian Raymond.

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