California to Puerto Rico

Shark Attack in Puerto Rico

By: | Tags: | Comments: 14

When we moved to Puerto Rico, I was super stoked to hear that there are “no sharks” here. After hearing that, I did a little bit of research and there are actually sharks in Puerto Rico, but there had never been a shark attack on record and you do not see them in the water when you are surfing. (My theory is that the reef formations in Puerto Rico keep the sharks farther out to sea.) WELL, a tourist recently got attacked by a shark while swimming in the bioluminescent bay at Vieques!

The Washington Post reports:

“A shark estimated at 6 feet (1.8 meters) long bit a U.S. tourist earlier this week while she swam in a popular bioluminescent bay at night, doctors said Thursday.

The woman, identified as 27-year-old Lydia Strunk, faces several months of physical therapy and will remain hospitalized until the weekend, Dr. Ernesto Torres said.

The wound is about 10 inches (25 centimeters) long and runs from below her knee to the ankle, said Dr. Pablo Rodriguez, trauma director at the Rio Piedras Medical Center.

‘It was like (the shark) tried to tear away,’ he said. ‘She has an imprint of all the shark’s teeth.’

Strunk is expected to make a full recovery but will likely have some nerve damage and limited movement in her right foot, he said. Doctors repaired four tendons that are used for flexing the foot, and it will take up to five months for Strunk’s damaged nerves to grow back, he said.

Her mother said Strunk was doing much better, seeming to improve by the hour. She declined to go into details about the incident.

Stefan, my mom and I recently did the bioluminescent bay tour (the one in Parquera)…Yikes! It was creepy enough swimming around in that murky bay at night. Now that I know there may very well be sharks there, I won’t be doing that again!


14 thoughts on “Shark Attack in Puerto Rico

  1. katrinakruse

    We used to chum for 6-gill sharks at night in a 100 feet of water in Puget Sound WA. Talk about a rush! Here – it is a lucky day when you see a nurse shark and we have not seen any other type. Not at Desecheo or off the deep Rincon Wall or anywhere. Huge Tarpon (really creepy good, mega huge manatees (comical) but no sharks. I’d worry more about all the sharp pilings at Maria’s and sharp reef and not have a shark enter my mind! ps surfing will kill you

  2. Summer

    We saw a nurse shark when we went snorkeling at Desecheo. And rumor has it that a reef shark was spotted at Marias a year or two ago. I’m more obsessive about the ones that want to eat me (or gnaw off a leg…). Great whites, makos, bull sharks and tigers are what my nightmares are about ;). I really have no interest in being anywhere near anything that is bigger then me in the water. I don’t even like dolphins too close (years ago, a dolphin playing in the surf landed on a surfer and broke his back in CA) Stefan and I almost got run over by HUGE tarpon while spearfishing at Domes. I’ll take the sharp reef and urchins over giant sea creatures any day ;)!

  3. Chad J

    It wasnt an attack per say.. she was bitten and released.. I know.. it WAS a shark and it DID bite, put her in the hospital for a few days though. I like your blog here,very nice.

    I live as of now in Vieques, BUT in a few months I will be moving your way.. Hope to chat more soon..

  4. Mary Hyatt

    We were disappointed that we couldn’t go into the water in the bay because of this shark attack. I spent some time looking at Rincon area; really liked it. Would love to go back for the winter.

  5. Reinaldo

    In the past a shark attack made surfer Bethanny Hamilton the new darling of profesional surfing sport .Most peoeple didnt know who she was before this incident with the shark.It seems she owns fame and fortune to this shark.I give her credit of her achievement .In other case the word of surfing lost a great potencial in Andy Irons .His death because painkillers drugs make you think sometimes life is not fair

  6. Michelle

    Hi! Umm I think the fact that there is no military activity anymore on Vieques and its waters, may have something to do with it. And the fact that Vieques is in the Atlantic Ocean. The other side of the island and the south end is in the caribbean sea

    • Robin

      Part of the reason you don’t see military people in Vieques, is that the military left Roosvelt Roads in the late 1900’s. Because the people from Vieque, Ceiba, and Farjado wanted them gone, due to a lot of the exercises they would do. It was very political. Some people wanted them to stay due to the jobs they provided for the the Puerto Rican people. Others wanted them gone. So unfortunately a lot of families lost that American income and benefits. The military just packed up left. It was the second largest American Naval base. It had everything, hotels, housing, barracks, hospitals, stables, resteraunts, golf course, etc. See I know this because I lived there for to many years. But I would go back in a heart beat if it was like it use to be. I did see someone catch a hammer head. But I did a lot of diving and never saw any sharks but that one that was caught on the base. Although they claim there are sharks in San Juan around the fort. They I do believe.

  7. Pablo

    No sharks in PR? Maybe not like the “Men in Gray Suit” back here on the West Coast. Many years ago, while surf-fishing in the daytime with a friend at the “Laguna Fosforecente” in Bieque, I saw a shark feeding frenzy going on right on the middle of the lagoon. It was one scary, and awesome sight! They were eating this death and all blotted cow that had floated into the middle of the lagoon from the mangrove after this big rain storm. And years later, while skin-diving at the same place, I saw some of them near the bottom of the lagoon. Scared the poop out of me when they took off stirring up all that bottom sand . Cought by surprize, I hit my face with my own hand and almost lost my mask and snorkel, and frantically shot straight up for the surface like a sub missile! I believe they were Nurse sharks “peje gato”, but that was enough to make me swallow of few gulps of warm sea water. Growing up there, several times I’d heard stories Marines at Camp Garcia getting bitten by sharks at Blue Beach and others there. The “Peje Malo” has always been around and part of the PR culture. There’s this old popular well known Plena song in PR that goes like this ,,,Tintorera del mar, tintorera del mar, tintoreradel mar, que te comiste un Americano,,, . Swimming at night in a Carribean beach …Beware of the old not always friendly “Peje Malo”.

  8. angie

    well we live here in Puerto Rico and was a Los Tubos yesterday May 11th and right at the shore line 3 feet in front of my son was a baby bull shark…lucky my son was at the edge of the water and not in the water….Bull sharks are coastal lovers and aggressive…no bueno

  9. Jossie

    Well there are sharks of course but I guess they are farther away from the coast… If by any chance you are in Culebra or Vieques I guess you will have a highter probability of seen a shark. Oh and by the way, ist very wrong to swim in any of the bioluminiscent bays… The human contact can kill or hurt the microorganism in the waters…

  10. J rad

    I see lots of sharks around the beaches of PR. I freediver a few days a week and have bumped into some huge heart stopper! 9ft bull lots of nurse and lemon. Caught 6 sand sharks..? Not sure what type but caught 6 in 2 weeks top water fishing. Also huge 14 foot tiger was just swimming around by shacks close in. Don’t not listen to people that say they are not there it’s the ocean they are all over.

Comments are closed.