I saw my first shark! Well, actually I saw around 7 of them. On my dive at Tortuga yesterday we went down to visit the wreck site where the sharks like to hang out and there was a small gang of white tip reef sharks relaxing on the sand. We hung back and
observed until they swam away. We also saw a bigger white tip hanging out alone later into the dive. Since I came to Playas del Coco almost two weeks ago, I have heard divers and staff talking about the sharks that they were seeing on the local dive sites, and I have to say I was getting pretty jealous. The fish and eels that I had been seeing were very cool, but I feel like seeing such powerful animals like sharks takes diving to a whole new level.
Seeing the sharks also put my newfound buoyancy control skills to the test. It is one thing to maintain neutral buoyancy while swimming along on a dive, but when the excitement that comes with seeing your first shark enters the picture it is much easier to get distracted and lose form. I am happy to say that I was able to hover fairly steadily while observing the sharks! Passing small tests of skills like this in the midst of recreational dives are really improving my confidence as a diver.
After our shark viewing adventure, we boarded the boat and headed to the Cacique dive site. I saw some cool fish that I had not seen before, including the poisonous scorpion fish. Our guide’s well-trained eye caught it just as we were passing over the rock it was camouflaged to and we stopped to have a look. It took us a minute to relocate the fish once we got in a good position since it was so well camouflaged.
All in all it was a nice day of diving. I was able to practice my newly learned skills in excellent conditions: about 15 meters visibility and 30° C water. Our group was small, only three people, which made traveling through the water very simple. They weather in Coco has also been extremely hot for this Seattle girl, so being in the water for the day was nice and refreshing.