We often receive e-mails and calls from customers who need advice about making a repair. They have had experiences with their kayaks/canoes sustaining various injuries from scrapes and impacts while carloading to on-water crashes or stories about New England winter chaos.
The e-mail we received the other day takes the cake.
An Isle Au Haut, that made its home in the Sunshine state in the fall of 2014 was chewed on by a Mako Shark off the coast of Cumberland Island off the coast of Georgia.
We thought it was too interesting to keep to ourselves, so we got Andy's permission to share his tale.
Sure [you can share the tale] - Unfortunately I don’t have any pictures of the ‘event’. It occurred at about 3 a.m. on a ‘new moon’ night.
This was my 9th time around Cumberland in the ‘Isle Au Haut’. I have done in many other times in other ‘yaks, but at this point, this one is the yak of choice – very comfortable (for the 11 to 12 hour paddle), fairly fast (I’m not a fast paddler, but ‘comparatively’, this one is the faster), seaworthy, and LIGHT (the hardest part of these paddles, for me, is to and from the vehicle and water).
I was about a ¼ mile north of the jetty (about 4 miles from the start), heading north up Cumberland Island (the jetty extends about 2 miles out to sea). The sea conditions were ‘flat’. (this did give me concern, as I knew this would ‘light me up’ to creatures below – the splashing of the paddle). I thought that I’d heard the splashing of bait fish behind me, shortly after that, a little bit louder splash, then quickly after that felt the bite on the kayak. I turned around, and saw the ‘sparkly’ trail (biolum.) of the shark leaving. Twice in the next hour, I heard, and then turned around to see that I was being followed again by a shark (saw the fin). Each time I stopped and the shark went away.
The rest of the trip (another 18 miles of ocean, then 25 intracoastal) - had no more ‘visits’.
I was surprised that the ‘bite’ didn’t shake the kayak more, I didn’t even need a slap brace. Probably because of where it hit, and it was a ‘smallish’ shark (guessing by the size of the bite mark).
After paddling about an hour after the bite, I checked the rear bulkhead (I’m able to reach behind me to access the rear hatch – thanks for NOT doing what most of the others do - putting in large oval rear hatches) and discovered a very small leak (I would not have to paddle in to shore – I just put my sponge back there, and checked it every other hour or so).
This was the 1st time I’ve been bit in a kayak (several years ago – I did have one bite my paddle blade), and I’ve paddle quite a few miles, so the miles/shark bite ratio is still VERY low.
A few shots of the ‘bite’ mark (doesn’t show very well):
BTW – love the kayak
Glad you're loving the Isle Au Haut and experiencing adventure too, but most of all we're glad you're safe, Andy.