The Best SHARK DIVES in the World
There are certain things in life that produce an automatic, deep in your gut, visceral reaction and being borne down on by a ¾ ton toothed apex predator the size of a Yugo is one of them. On the way to write this blog, I was attacked by a coconut. It fell out of a tall palm tree with a violent thunk right next to me. It hit the ground so hard, it cracked the thick shell and coconut juice sprayed out all over the place – but somehow, I just didn’t feel the same menace that I did earlier this morning.
Sharks, Sharks and More Sharks
I just got back from one of the most amazing, intense Shark Dives I’ve ever done. After having run Shark Dives in Tahiti for almost two years and shark diving around the world, this was truly something special here in Fiji. WHOA! Eight species of sharks – blacktip reef sharks, white tip reef sharks, oceanic black tips, gray reef sharks, silver tips, pacific nurse sharks (that were HUGE), pacific lemon sharks and MASSIVE and I mean MASSIVE bull sharks. I’ve seen bull sharks before but never anything like this. There were at least a dozen and they were 10-12’ long and had the girth of a small compact car. And they were curious – VERY curious.
Mantagirl and I have been Shark Diving for about 15 years now and I’ll be the first to say that its one of our favorite things. Sharks are magnificent, WILD animals that have been honed through over 300 million years of evolution. They survived the last great extinction on earth that killed off the dinosaurs with over 75% of the rest of life on the planet and they have thrived since – until recently …. More on that later. Their diversity is extraordinary! They live in every sea on the planet, from the tropics to the arctic and Antarctic and in shallow waters to bone crushing depths that never see a ray of light and live in perpetual darkness. Their constituent member species span across numerous families. Yes, amazingly diverse.
I’ve always been fascinated by sharks and judging by the things I read and people I talk too, you probably are too. They are graceful and elegant, strong and cunning and in some cases, dangerous. And that’s probably the big deal, because in a world where we’ve methodically eliminated risks to humanity, sharks still sit out there on the edge of our dreams. It’s really quite simple; when we get back into the water, we’re no longer at the top of the food chain. It may also be one great predator admiring another. Who knows?
Readers Digest 300 Million Year History of Sharks
Whatever the answer, we’re taught from a young age that sharks are things to be feared. The reality is this: there are almost 400 species of sharks in the world and only about 40 species have ever been recorded biting a human and only about three are actually considered man eaters. The man eaters, especially the great white shark get a lot of press of course. Unfortunately nothing sells ad space like a shark attack. This has created a public image of all sharks being mindless killing machines. In reality, recent groundbreaking research on great white sharks show them to be anything but – they are in fact very calculating. And while they are apex predators, we aren’t on their menu. The side affect of all of this public perception is that we have allowed sharks to be wiped out from our Ocean in epic proportions. What the last global extinction event that killed off the dinosaurs couldn’t do, we’ve accomplished in the last 50 years. And that’s why Shark Diving is so important.
Why Does Shark Diving Kick Ass
Shark Diving is a rush, it’s a massive blast of adrenaline, it kicks ass. But in addition to that, it’s a critically important educational tool if we are going to save our sharks. By getting in the water and seeing for ourselves that we aren’t going to be immediately eaten by the first thing with a dorsal fin that swims by, we knowingly or unknowingly just became ambassadors for our finned friends. We see them for what they are – very wild, powerful, graceful, necessary and generally unthreatening. And if we want to be diving with them 10 and 20 years from now, we’ve got to make this change.
More on Shark Diving to come …..