Danger or misunderstanding
by Gádor Muntaner
Anyone who is in love with the underwater world is fascinated by its great biodiversity, its explosion of colors and its mysteries. As scuba divers, we always have the desire to know more about the great and unknown Ocean. And it is common that, at some point, an animal that generates controversial feelings within us catches our attention: the shark.
Shark Diving. Danger or misunderstanding?
We were all impressed by Spielberg’s Jaws movies a few decades ago. And today, we live in the age of visual technology, of multi-dimensional images, of movies that look like reality. It is common for sharks to be the subject of science fiction, fear and horror stories, as it’s a large marine predator. However, the reality is very far from that concept.
Diving with sharks. The Species
Sharks are cartilaginous fish (they have a cartilage skeleton instead of bones) that are more than 400 million years old, which means that they have outlived many other life forms on Earth. There are around 400 different shark species in the world.
All pictures has been taken at the Maldives and the Red Sea
Is it dangerous to dive with them?
Sharks are apex predators. However, this is only true in the marine environment. Everything that does not naturally belong to the ocean doesn’t belong to shark’s menu either. That is why human is not part of the diet of any shark species. The few and unlikely accidents that do happen are due to confusion or exploratory bites made by sharks. Despite this, many more people die from other animals such as cows, horses, jellyfish, mosquitoes … and even from taking selfies! You are more likely to be struck by lightning than to be bitten by a shark!
The coexistence between humans and them is possible and, of course, diving with sharks too! Nobody forgets their first shark dive. It is one of the most exciting and fascinating dives in the life of a diver. It is in that first contact, when we realize that we have been mistaken until then: sharks are as fascinating as they are misunderstood. What we feel when diving with them is not fear or terror, but rather admiration and a lot of peace, along with a small and pleasant dose of adrenaline, for witnessing such a masterpiece of nature.
Shark diving destinations
There are various destinations in the world to dive with sharks. Undoubtedly, two of the best places to enjoy these special encounters are the Maldives and the Red Sea. Both destinations are very complete, since they offer much more diversity of marine life in addition to sharks.
In the Maldives, it is almost impossible to finish a dive without having seen a shark! White-tipped, black-tipped, gray, leopard, whale sharks… these are just some of the species that we can find diving around the islands. And if what we want is a trip focused on sharks, the South route will give us lots of them!
Last February, on one of the trips on the Blue Force One, we had a week full of shark surprises: a night with 11 whale sharks, several dives in channels full of reef sharks, and an exceptional day in Alimatha, where the nurse sharks formed a huge group, with hundreds of them flying over our heads!
The Red Sea is also home to a great diversity of sharks, being the southern routes like BDE or EBS the ones that offer more possibilities to dive with them. The big star, in this case, is the well-known oceanic whitetip shark, also called Longimanus. The South of the Egyptian Red Sea and Sudan are, without a doubt, the best place in the world to dive with this peculiar species. It is a very active and curious shark, that will bring unforgettable encounters in the most crystalline and blue water we can imagine!
Recommendations for diving with sharks
To be comfortable when diving with sharks, it is recommended to have good control of our underwater skills, in order to dedicate ourselves to enjoying the encounter. As with any predator, we have to show respect and delicacy in the interaction. Also, it is important to respect the diving partner system and the union of the entire group, in order to avoid accidents. Keeping eye contact with the most active sharks is also a good recommendation to avoid unexpected approaches of species such as the longimanus shark. In general, any certified diver can enjoy shark diving. Destinations like the Maldives and the Red Sea offer us options for all levels and requirements.
If you have been lucky to dive with these wonderful animals, for sure you will have fallen in love with them for life, and you will want to see them again and again.
Have you already lived the experience? Come dive with us among sharks!