So to be perfectly honest I used to be a bit of a wimp about sharks. It probably stemmed from a love of horror/gruesome films from an early age and ‘Jaws’ imprinting itself on my visual memory at the age of 7. I also have a *bit* of an overactive imagination, everytime I was in the ocean I would be convinced that I was in the vicinity of a super scary, malovelent shark that was going to eat me up for supper. My brother fake shouting “JELLYFISH”, was also enough to send me running out of the water.
Oh hey Dive Master!
Now I am bizarrely a dive master and I’m kind of in love with sharks, I’d always respected them but in a feared way. Now I just straight up want to be best friends with one. I first encountered sharks in South Africa where I got close up with a great white but still I had never thought I would get in to the water with one sans a cage. I then snorkelled with black tip reef sharks in Thailand which was still making me nervous but at the same time I appreciated the beauty of them even more. I then started to dive and encountered sharks fully submerged in Costa Rica, then back I came to do my dive master. As soon as I had first dived with one I felt so much more comfortable and realised quickly they really are more scared of you. I have frightened off enough sharks with a wave of my hand to know this is true. I’ve also snorkelled with them in deep water, something most people would be nervous of. It kind of became my specialty to always find sharks for customers on every snorkel trip and they started to see that there wasn’t really anything to be afraid of.
Don’t get me wrong, I know there are accidents but they are few and far between. We have to remember that we are basically stepping (or swimming) into their home and territory and we therefore do so at our own risk. If I got bitten by a shark I would understandably be upset, but I would never blame the shark.
Beautiful Bat Islands
If you didn’t know, in Costa Rica, we have this amazing dive site called ‘Bat Islands’, I had never actually had the chance to go whilst I was doing my DM but I came back recently and signed up to head out there. Oh, probably should mention, we go to dive with big ole’ bull sharks. I’m not going to lie, despite my experience with sharks, I was still nervous about diving with bull sharks. It’s hard to negate all of the bad press that has been drummed in to you by every media outlet and the fact remained that bull sharks have a reputation of being aggressive and well, not very nice!
Not me (or a Bull shark), but just too good a photo!
Off we headed into the water anyway and typically I actually missed the first 2 bull sharks! Finally, (on the third shark for everyone else), I saw my first bull shark. They are kind of built like a tank and just BIG, but instead of being scared I actually felt a bit emotional! They were just so beautiful and graceful under the water that it was hard not to appreciate what a beautiful animal they are and forget my fears. That didn’t stop me from checking behind me every now and then when we were chilling watching a bull shark in front of us, they have a nasty habit on sneaking up behind you! That would definitely make anyone jump!
Come back! I want to be friends!
So I beg that all of you, if you have a fear of the water, or your scared of sharks, COME DIVING!! I can honestly say you won’t regret it, just think how much of our world is covered in water and what you could be missing out on! There is no better way of getting over your fears then facing them straight on and hopefully getting to high five a shark 😉
Also you can see this at Bat Islands too, #justsayin