|Sorry, no pic, but it was in water. :)|
I was inside starting on dinner when I heard Vlad urgently call my name with that tone that can only mean, "Come quick. There's something really cool out here." So I ran up the companionway stairs and looked over the side, catching a long look at the seven-foot-long nurse shark swimming slowly under our boat. She was a grey black, unmistakeable shadow, cruising through the anchorage with an effortless nonchalance. We considered jumping in the water for a closer look, but she disappeared into the darker, blue water before we could make a final decision.
To be honest, I'm afraid of sharks, which is neither unusual nor particularly unwise, but I curb that particular phobia with statistics (you have a better chance of being struck by lightning than attacked by a shark, etc.). And a nurse shark is a pretty chill beast. People pet them, for crying out loud. They rarely, if ever, attack humans and even then only under intense provocation.
The next day we were snorkeling in the reef right beside our anchorage in the Cayos Holandes, and we saw another one. Evidently, this area of the San Blas is chock full of nurse sharks and reef sharks, neither of which are very dangerous to humans. We spoke to a cruiser who does a heap of spear fishing on the outer reef, and he said that most of the sharks are nonagressive. Occasionally, a territorial reef shark gets a bad attitude, but he said that they are generally small - between three and five feet - and that he just moves to a different area, making all well in shark world. The only bad boy shark that he has personally seen around here was a 10-foot-long bull shark on the outer reef, and then he got out of the water immediately.
So my shark-o-phobia has subsided quite a bit since I've seen a couple of them just swimming around doing their shark thing and will hopefully recede even further as we see even more of them in the reef. Always excepting the bull shark, of course. One of my former editors wrote a funny/scary piece on bull sharks here.