Hakai Magazine


One Great Shot: A Grand Assemblage

But of what? (Hint: 🦈)

Authored by

by Michael Patrick O’Neill

Article body copy

aerial photo of blacktip shark congregation

Every winter, thousands of blacktip sharks migrate to the balmy waters off Palm Beach County, Florida.

These finned snowbirds, which can grow to one-and-a-half meters long, travel from as far away as New York to feast on bony fishes. Absurdly agile, the blacktip is known to make spectacular leaps while hunting for weak and sickly prey. By forming enormous schools in the shallows, they safeguard themselves from their nemesis, the great hammerhead.

A few winters ago, I chartered a Cessna to photograph the aggregation from above. It was a surreal experience to see the abundance of sharks in this age of environmental degradation, and I hope this precious animal is properly protected so that future generations can enjoy them just as I do.