Local nurse’s near-fatal shark attack subject of book out next week

November 11, 2015   ·   0 Comments

Screen Shot 2015-11-11 at 7.11.01 PMBy Tabitha Wells

Nearly five years ago, the life of a local nurse was changed forever as she battled to survive against a shark attack during a vacation trip to Cancun, Mexico.

What was supposed to be a joyous time celebrating a friend’s 50th birthday turned into a nightmare for Orangeville’s Nicole Moore, a nightmare that became the subject of a book coming out next week.

“Halfway through the trip, I went in the water to rinse off following a game of beach volleyball, and there were these guys on jet-skis yelling at me,” said Ms. Moore. “I had no idea what they were yelling at me, but they were adamant, so I turned and began to walk back to shore.”

Immediately after she turned around, she felt a bump on her leg and the shark bit her. The shark’s teeth went straight through as if they were a knife going through butter, tearing through two hamstrings, and two quads.

“It felt like an eternity, although it was probably only a few seconds, before the shark came back and went for my arm,” she explained. “The shark took my entire arm in its mouth, and we were eye-to-eye. Instinct kicked in – I don’t know where it came from or why – but I pulled back and punched it in the nose, and the shark let go.”

She doesn’t recall feeling pain or feeling anything at all; she was in full fight or flight mode, and absolutely terrified.

“I’m a mother of two, and a wife, and all I could keep thinking was is this, how my children are going to lose their mother?” she said. “But in that moment, I knew I had to survive and keep moving forward, and I began to claw my way to shore.”

The men on the jet skis were able to get close enough to grab Ms. Moore and pull her to shore where she lay bleeding until help could arrive. Her instincts as a nurse kicked in, and even as she was fighting for her own life, she began directing people. Despite being safe from the shark, her biggest battle was about to begin during five days at the Cancun hospi- tal before they were able to return her to Toronto.

“I was barely alive when I arrived,” she said. “I was told if I had been brought to Toronto 24 to 48 hours later, I would have been dead. That was where discussion surrounding whether I had questionable care in Cancun began to arise. Though I had fought for my life on the beach, when I got to Toronto, I was still fighting for my life.”

The following days, Ms. Moore endured through multiple operations and incredible amounts of pain, leading to the eventual amputation of her left arm.

“People always tell me that the important part of my story is that I never got down,”
said Ms. Moore. “But I was just really glad to be alive. I was alive, and everything else at that point was secondary. That view was how I made it through.”

Since her attack, Ms. Moore’s life changed directions as people began asking her to share her story in public speaking events. And while it may surprise most, her experience has developed a passion in her for the protection of sharks and marine life.

“I’m now a motivational speaker, and I use my voice for advocacy for shark and marine conservation,” she said. “I think it’s really important for me, that I don’t want my story to perpetuate a fear of sharks. Those sharks were being chased by the people on jet-skis, and they were angry. The men had been trying to corral them into deep water.”

She added that she wants people to understand that she doesn’t have anything against sharks, and she doesn’t want to incite fear.

Ms. Moore’s positivity surrounding the attack, along with her story, eventually attracted the attention of author Peter Jennings, who wanted to share her story with the world. The book, Shark Assault, is set to be released next Wednesday, Nov. 18.

“Shark Assault is a story of hope and inspiration, not about the brutality of sharks,” she explained. “The message is one of hope and of belief, and I hope that after people read it they are inspired to believe in themselves.”

Next Wednesday, BookLore’s Nancy Frater will be hosting a book launch for Ms. Moore and Mr. Jennings a the Barley Vine Rail at 6:00 p.m., where attendees will have an opportunity to pick up a copy of Shark Assault and have it autographed.

The story highlights everything from the attack to where it has led her today, and her pursuit of inspiring others to overcome seemingly impossible challenges.

Ms. Moore added that people are always commenting to her that she must be some sort of super-human being, and that they couldn’t do what she has done.

“I’m just a normal human being who when through a horrific ideal,” she said. “Anyone can come out of that if they believe in them- selves. I’m no more or less special than anyone else. If people get anything out of this book, I want it to be that they can face anything.”

And as for the question that is often on most people’s lips when they meet her, Ms. Moore confirmed that not only has she returned to swimming since that fateful day in Cancun, but she also goes to the exact same spot each year with her kids.

For more information on where to purchase the book or about next week’s book launch, contact BookLore at 519-942-3830 or by email,

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