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 I’ve never gotten out of the water faster than in this terrifying moment , right in front of me a woman was being  attacked by a shark.

During a daily tour, while visiting Sal, an island of the Cape Verde Islands, a woman was being attacked by a shark, right in front of me. I’ve never gotten out of the water faster, Storytime! This happened during a tour, about which I will talk in another article. 

Where is it located?

Cape Verde is an African island nation on the coast of West Africa. The island Sal, is located at the North East of the country. In the past the island was called, translated, “flat island” due to the geographical features.

Over time, a lot of salt was getting produced on a large scale and by being a colony of Portugal. They named it Sal, which is basically salt in Portuguese. 

Sal is not a big island, by car it is possible to make it from one end to the other end in 40 minutes. Less than 40.000 people are living there. 

What tour was I being part of?

It was a tour over the whole island. From seeing the old salt industrial region and learning about the history of the island, to being in water in hope of seeing sharks. It was a tour which was going for the whole day and many places were being visited. In the salt crater of the industrial region it was also possible to experience things like in the Dead Sea, in Israel and Jordan

The size of the group wasn’t big, which was enjoyable. The interesting part of the story was the type of shark, which was hoped to be seen. 

What exactly happened?

During the tour there was one part, seeing and being in water with wild lemon sharks.

According to google: “Lemon sharks are a non-aggressive species, not prone to biting unless provoked or threatened.” 

Also there have not been many reported cases of lemon sharks attacking humans. I was to be honest not seeing if the woman may be provoking the shark. What I was seeing was a bit of panic happening and the woman with bleeding feet. 

The people mainly stayed in the water, but not me, I was faster out of that water, then everything else. Because of many movies about sharks, I was just afraid. Still when being out of the water, it was time to take my drone and fly it above the sharks. I was hoping for good pictures. 

The guides were telling the group that this was a really rare event, so nobody needed to be afraid. They were a bit surprised, but got along with the situation quite well. 

Lemon sharks captured by my drone

Extra story

After being done with flying the drone above the sharks, it was time to land it, which is usually no problem. During this time, there were a large number of dogs also interested in what was coming down from the earth. I didn’t want to hurt a dog or the drone, so I needed to catch it. 

Catching the drone was never an issue for me, just in this case. I was so stressed from the shark and the dogs, that I randomly grabbed into the propellers and had a bleeding hand after it. Due to that it was not possible to swim in the little salt sea anymore, which was sad.


The title sounds more dramatic, then it really was. The woman was not seriously hurt and the fear from the people was due to the guides minimalistic. 

When interacting with any kind of other species, it is always important to treat them with respect. If you don’t do it, things like this can happen. Of course it is also possible that with showing respect, things can happen, like monkey attacks. This happened to me at the border between Zambia and in Zimbabwe, to which an article will be written soon as well. 

Click on the text for more Africa stories:  Witness to a shark attack – Cape Verde ! Cape Verde Stories:  Witness to a shark attack – Cape Verde !

Written by

Nico Koch

I am Nico Koch from Hamburg in Germany and happy that you are interested in seeing the world through my eyes and want to join me on my journey.