St. John Virgin Islands: The Remora at Brown Bay

Remora Image -

Remora Image

On Friday Habiba and I hiked the Brown Bay Trail for the update to St. John Off the Beaten Track (soon come).

Arriving at the beach reminded me of the only time in my life that I was attacked (maybe molested is  better word) by a fish.

No, it wasn’t a shark or a barracuda. It was a remora, a shark sucker, the fish with the specially adapted suction cup head that attaches to sharks in order to feast on the leftovers.

Several years ago when my son, Sean, was visiting from New York City, we hiked the Brown Bay Trail, bringing with us our snorkel gear to explore the bay.

We were about fifty yards offshore when I noticed sean thrashing about and calling to me.

“A fish is chasing me!” he yelled.


Now he’s kicking a way with his fins like crazy and then I see it coming for me. It’s a remora and he’s coming right at me. I can tell he wants to suck himself on me. Damn!

He’s relentless. I kick at him with my fins pushing him away. He comes back I kick again and he finally leaves. But he goes straight at Sean and now Sean’s kicking him away and the remora won’t stop. He tries and he tries and only stops when he gets a good enough kick with the fins only to try his luck with me again. This keeps up for about five minutes with the sucker (good word for this guy) going from Sean to me and back again.

We finally make it to the really shallow water and the fish gives us enough of a break to get out of his territory and back on the beach.

Apparently remoras rarely attach themselves to people, but it’s not unheard of.

“There is even one recorded instance of a remora latching onto a human being, a National Geographic writer who was researching a story about the Great Barrier Reef near Australia. (The diver was unharmed, and figured that it was a sign he should be coming out of the water!)”
(Quoted from:

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One thought on “St. John Virgin Islands: The Remora at Brown Bay”

  1. I actually saw one of these off a reef in hawksnest bay, near Gibney Beach. They look like sharks and are quite fiesty.

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