I went diving with sharks as part of my birthday “festival”. It was such an incredible experience!
Leading up to the event, lots of people asked me – Are you scared? How do you feel?
The truth was, I wasn’t scared at all. I knew lots of people who have dived in the aquarium before, I know that the sharks are well fed, I know that the aquarium has an excellent safety track record with no incidents, and I know that the aquarium has many divers going into the tank each day and all the sea creatures are used to seeing divers.
So I was feeling very confident, chilled and quite relaxed about the whole thing. In fact I was wondering when I would actually feel THRILLED or SCARED.
As we geared up, I started to feel excited. I was finally doing something that I have wanted to do in such a long time! This was the moment!
We got into the tank, and we swam around. It was very cool! When I used to go diving, very rarely would I see so many large creatures in one place and one time. There were turtles, sting rays, huge cod fish, and of course 20 or so sharks. The biggest shark was 3.5m.
All the sea creatures swam near the surface, and you didn’t want to bump into any of them. So the biggest rule for the tank dive was: stay at the bottom. We were loaded with extra weights to keep ourselves down, and we practically scrambled and crawled along the bottom.
We followed an underwater path along the aquarium tunnel and during the course, we were required to swim OVER the tunnel one by one. Which meant we had to be near the surface for a few seconds, by ourselves. But of course, the dive master would tell us the exact moment to do it.
At this point, I was ever so-slightly nervous. It was like crossing a road. Look left. Look right. Look out for oncoming sharks! I was the first person over. I had so much extra weight added to my dive gear, that it was a real struggle to swim over the curve of the tunnel, but I made it.
I sat on a rock by myself, catching my breath, waiting for the rest of the group. Then I saw this HUGE shark coming towards me. It was just swimming closer and closer in my direction.
At first I was thinking… OK. I’ll just duck a bit lower.
But it just kept coming closer! I shrunk back and back and back, until I was almost curled up like a freaked out turtle. Eeek! It was SO CLOSE TO ME. I swear I could have reached out and touched its head. I was absolutely petrified for a grand total of 3 seconds.
Phew. After that, it was all a walk in the park. I found a shark’s tooth, which was mine to keep! Then we had a hot shower and a cup of tea.
It was an amazing experience!