James River Water Levels

Westham Gauge
Gauge Height: 4.04'
Flow: 2220 cfps

Trail Conditions: Richmond


Todays Tides: Richmond Locks

High Tide: 9:24pm
Low Tide: 4:48am

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Video: Spearfisherman fends off shark attack

Jason Dimitri is a veteran spearfisherman and has been diving near the Cayman Islands for much of his life, but a recent excursion left him face-to-face with a shark for the first time. Dimitri was spearfishing for invasive lionfish in the western Caribbean Sea last week when he encountered the shark, which quickly made it known that it did not want to share the same water as the fisherman. According to the video’s description on his YouTube channel, Dimitri caught the encounter on a GoPro 3 as he began swimming to the surface.

“The shark was acting in his natural environment,” Dimitri wrote. “I have no ill will toward him and will get back in the water and continue to protect the reef for future generations.”

The fisherman said that the attack occurred at a depth of 70 feet as he was scouting the reef for lionfish. In the video, Dimitri reaches into a crevice to spear a fish when he is blindsided by the shark. You can hear the fisherman’s surprise he he quickly retreats and uses his spear to protect himself. Undaunted, the shark continues to harry the diver as he makes his way up to the surface.

Dimitri added that Caribbean reef sharks are normally shy creatures that rarely bother divers. The reef shark is among the most common of sharks in the Caribbean and can grow up to a maximum length of 10 feet. While not normally aggressive, the sharks can be bold in the presence of food. Dimitri’s haul of lionfish may have lured the shark in, although the fish quickly focuses on the diver instead of an easy meal.

Dimitri said that the incident will not prevent him from diving in the future, or carrying out lionfish culls. The lionfish is an invasive species that is damaging habitat in the Caribbean and along the Eastern Coast of the United States.

“I love this place and will continue diving here for the rest of my life,” Dimitri said. “In no way did this encounter discourage me from getting back into the water.”