Sharks are among the most majestic creatures on the planet, and their capacity for mystery, strength, and anxiety-inducing terror are unmatched on the high seas. Every once in a while though, even sharks get in trouble, as Brett Johnson, a Cayman Islands scuba diving instructor, recently learned.
He came across a small, 3-foot nurse shark while on a dive with his students, and the shark had a 12-inch kitchen knife sticking out of its forehead.
Suffice to say this was a pretty fucked up thing to see, enough that one of the students caught it on video. "Obviously something wasn’t right and I moved in for a closer look," Johnson later told Cayman 27, the local news station. The video (below) shows him cautiously approaching the nurse shark, swimming along the floor of the Caribbean Sea among a hanging reef.
"At that point, the shark turned around and settled right below me as if asking for help," Johnson said.
Johnson gently removed the knife without touching the shark's body, and the shark swam away, injured, but knife-free.
"Sharks are an important part of the ecosystem," Johnson later said. "People come to Cayman to see our beautiful reefs... no one expects or wants to see a shark with a knife sticking out of its head."
Nurse sharks are generally believed to be "harmless to humans" unless provoked, according to National Geographic. They're bottom feeders that typically enjoy eating fish, shrimp, and squid, as well as shellfish and coral. Generally they'll only bite or snap at divers if they get stepped on or annoyed, which honestly means they have more in common with you than most surface dwellers you'll meet in your life.
This shark at least found a happy ending. The resort posted this update to its Facebook page last week: "Fortunately, the shark seems to be doing all right and we even spotted him again swimming around the same reef."