If you’ve searched to scuba dive on the Red Sea Elphinstone Reef dive site, you may have seen other searches that divers make too. These include “Elphinstone reef shark attack” and “Longomanus shark attack“.
If you have, then this article will help you to understand these oceanic whitetips, and how to stay safe around these fearless sharks when scuba diving Elphinstone Reef, or one of the other Red Sea dive sites where you’re likely to see oceanic whitetip sharks.
An oceanic whitetip shark (Carcharhinus longimanus) attacked a female diver and bit her arm at Elphinstone Reef where there have been a number of close encounters with longimanus sharks. The oceanic whitetips are very curious and look for openings or weaknesses and will bite if given a chance.
The lady who was bitten by the oceanic whitetip shark was taken to hospital. She received 10-12 stiches in her arm and was okay in the end, but clearly shaken by the experience. She had been diving with Red Sea Diving Safari based in Marsa Shagra, rather than from a Red Sea Liveaboard.
Oceanic whitetip shark encounters at Elphinstone Reef dive site
In this first video the oceanic whitetips are testing the divers. If these divers were not watching, and if they were not careful, either one of these two oceanic whitetip sharks may have done a test bite. I say a test bite, as humans are not their “normal prey“, but oceanic whitetips are opportunistic feeders.
These oceanic whitetip sharks are not necessarily being aggressive with the divers, curious yes, which is what oceanic whitetip sharks are like.
Oceanic whitetip sharks are much bolder than most shark species when around scuba divers and have no fear like normal sharks, other than perhaps tiger sharks.
In this first video the pectoral fins of aren’t down, which if they were is a sign of aggression.
But please be aware, the title of this first video is totally wrong, this is not a fight with a shark, but it does show how bold and fearless these oceanic whitetip sharks can be.
If one of these sharks wanted to attack, they would and fast. So please take a look at the video of an oceanic whitetip shark attacking a snorkeler below. You’ll see how fast they can move when they want to.
Shark attacks my SMB – Oceanic Whitetip at Elphinstone Red Sea
This is another example of an oceanic whitetip shark, which in this case is behaving in an erratic way around these divers. Notice how bold it is and how it comes in close to the divers. But in the end this shark attacks the divers surface marker buoy (SMB) instead.
When you see the damage the shark does to the diver’s SMB at the end of the video, imagine the damage it could do to an arm or a leg. So respect is required at all times when you dive with oceanic whitetips sharks, or any shark for that matter.
The next video is of another very curious oceanic whitetip shark at Elphinstone Reef, but not one of an attack again.
There’s no doubt that in this video the oceanic white tip (Carcharhinus longimanus) is looking for an opening or a weakness, which is what most sharks do. But the behaviour is not necessarily that of an aggressive shark.
If this oceanic whitetip was being aggressive it’s wing-like pectoral fins would be noticeably down, the back would be arched, the movements of the shark would be much faster and more erratic (see below).
However, having said that there’s no doubt that if the divers were not keeping their eyes on this oceanic whitetip shark, it would probably take a bite. The oceanic whitetip shark is definitely in eating mode and one of these divers is on the menu for eating (see below of a similar situation of an actual attack on a diver at The Brothers Islands).
“Oceanic whitetip shark eating mode” is shown in a similar situation on The Brothers Islands dive site.
In this article: “Brothers Shark Attack: Oceanic Whitetip Shark Attacks Diver” I show a video of when an oceanic whitetip shark does attack a scuba diver. In this same article I also explain how the shark attack could have been prevented too. I therefore recommend that before you go on your dive trip to the Red Sea and Elphinstone Reef dive site, you take note of the safety rules I give you and the easy to learn acronym to remember these four shark diving safety rules.
The behaviour of the shark at The Brothers was very much similar to the ones in the above videos. The only difference being, the shark at The Brothers found a weakness.
If you are planning a trip to dive the Brothers Islands, Elphinstone Reef dive site or even Daedalus Reef dive site, you might just want to watch the video from The Brothers. This is so you understand how important the rules are for you to follow when diving close to oceanic whitetip sharks.
Oceanic whitetip bikes snorkeler in Hawaii (i.e not Elphinstone Reef)
Although this video was not filmed on the Elphinstone Reef in the Red Sea, it does show an attack by an oceanic whitetip shark. In this oceanic whitetip shark attack it demonstrates how fast these sharks can swim if they want to, and how fast an attack can happen, when they want to attack. Notice how it was behind again, which is the same as what happened at The Brothers.
Seeing that you’re interested in scuba diving with sharks, or at least interested in staying safe around sharks, you may also like to read this article about great white sharks in the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico. You may be surprised by what you read, I certainly was!
This article is also interesting about a great white shark pinged near to the Maldives.
But then if you want to be really surprised, take a read of this article about a great white shark spotted by a snorkeler off the southern Great Barrier Reef. The article includes a video of the white shark concerned.
One final video I think you should watch is from the BBC’s Planet Earth filming of three oceanic whitetip sharks.
I would hope that you’ve not been discouraged from scuba diving the Red Sea after reading this article and from watch the videos I’ve included. Assuming this is the case, and I sincerely hope it is, I suggest you book a Red Sea liveaboard diving safari to dive Elphinstone Reef dive site, instead of a land-based resort.
For this, you can either use this article: The Best Red Sea Liveaboard Dive Boats, or use the handy window below to search for your chosen Red Sea liveaboard. The benefit of using the article, is that I’ve included a handy table that lists all the Red Sea liveaboards. This table includes a column to confirm which Red Sea liveaboards visit Elphinstone Reef dive site, along with some other very useful information too about each liveaboard dive boat.
Additionally, if you would like to find out when is the best time to see oceanic whitetip sharks at Elphinstone Reef dive site, please take a read of this article too: “Elphinstone Reef Dive Site: How To Get To The Best Diving Egypt“. In this article I include a very handy table which shows a summary from 130 reviews of divers who visited Elphinstone Reef and when most sightings of oceanic whitetip sharks occurred, as well as sightings of other sharks and manta rays.
But another Red Sea dive you may like to consider is Daedalus Reef, where oceanic whitetips sharks are seen on a regular basis. Please take a look at this article “Red Sea Daedalus Reef Dive Site: Shark Diving“. This article includes a handy table which is a summary from 148 scuba divers and when they saw most oceanic whitetip sharks, plus other sharks and manta rays.
I hope you enjoyed this page about Elphinstone reef shark attack
If you have more questions either about snorkelling or scuba diving (or specifically about Elphinstone reef shark attack), please comment below with your questions.
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Have fun and be safe!