If you’ve watch any number of mafia/crime movies (perhaps the Godfather….) you’ll know what the term “swimming with the fishes” means. Just say it with an Italian accent casually, and you’ll instantly make anyone on edge.
But, what does any of this have to do with extreme sports and activities, you ask? Oh, that’s simple. We’re talking about shark diving, and yep – it’s exactly what it sounds like.
If you think normal, everyday diving is just too boring for you, you can bet that telling people that you do shark diving will throw their badass sensors off the charts. Cliff diving? Meh. Free diving? So what. Scuba diving? Pretty coral. Yeah, I went shark diving this weekend. What did you do?
Come on, for real – who actively wants to dive with sharks?
As it turns out, there are quite a few thrill junkies out there who do.
What is Shark Diving?
There are two kinds of shark diving: Cage Diving, and Open Water Diving.
You know when you go to the zoo and see exotic animals in cages? In Cage Diving, the tables are turned, as the divers are the ones in the cage.
So, how does cage diving work? A metal cage that can hold about four divers at a time is attached to a boat. Divers get in, and the cage is lowered into the water, going deeper and deeper.
But how do we know that we’ll get a chance to actually see sharks? The boating company handles that, by trailing chum (a delicious mix of fish parts, oils and blood) around the area that they plan to lower the cage. Sharks have a great sense of smell, and in a few minutes or so will be visible. It’s perfect for being up close and personal with wild sharks safely, and they will be only a few feet away from you – giving you one of a kind look into their lives and habitat!
A normal Cage Dive lasts for around 20-30 minutes, a perfect amount of time to see those beautiful creatures in their normal spaces and take in their attributes. And if you love photography, this is a perfect way dive into (pardon the pun) the underwater world of underwater photography.
Adventure enthusiasts, tourists, researchers and filmmakers alike are the types of people that do cage diving the most. All you need is basic equipment for snorkeling or scuba diving, like a wetsuit, snorkel, and weight belt to keep you underwater while in the cage. The company that is hosting shark diving most likely will supply you with everything you need, and in some cases the boat may have an air system that pumps air through a long hose directly to you
If you are super into the extremes of life and think this has been a bit of a let-down, don’t worry, we’ve got exactly what you are looking for: Open Water Diving – without cages. Just you, sharks and the open water surrounding you…sound like fun? We thought so.
No Cage, No Problem: Open Water Diving With Sharks is for the Fearless
While most people would find cage diving as extreme as it gets, that’s really just playing it safe. Open Water Diving is where it really turns it up a notch, as there are no cages, no safely lines to the boat, nada – just you, Jaws and his buddies.
There are very few places on planet earth that allow you to swim free with sharks without cages. We get it, the Insurance must be insane.
For thrill seekers, you’ll find this type of adventure blows everything else out of the water – but you can’t just dive off a boat with some shark treats and host to come face-to-face with a great white. One, you’ll need to be certified, and second, you need to put the jokes aside and realize that you are a guest in the shark’s home, and you’ll need to act like one.
- You must be Advanced Open Water certified, Which is one of the higher levels of scuba diving degrees. It shows that you have what it takes to dive in the open water – both physically and mentally.
- You’ll need your own scuba diving equipment, like a wetsuit, air regulator and air tank.
- Besides your scuba diving skills, you’ll need to make sure you understand how to behave properly. As we said above, you are a guest, and must respect the sharks within their home. Don’t be the first to approach; let them swim towards you. You’ll want to be as close to the bottom and standing upright, as they will not perceive you as a threat that way.
- You’ll want to dive in a group, but keep space in between yourselves. Sharks tend to get nervous when seeing a close group of divers. As long as you remain visible to your fellow divers, make sure you are each far enough away as to not upset your water dwelling friends.
- Last, but not least: Have fun!! You are experiencing something that very few people in the world ever do. You are literally swimming with sharks, and besides seeming like a complete badass, you are seeing the vast beauty of the ocean that most others only see in photos or videos.
But….What About Shark Attacks?
When it comes to shark diving, no one is concerned about becoming disoriented and drowning when you’re mere feet (or inches) away from sharks.
Thought it’s a common fear, shark attacks are uncommon. Only about 60 happen peer year across the world, and although you’re most likely thinking it’s because they want a human snack, that’s not true. Sharks do not normally go after humans as a food source, and only attack when frightened, curious or provoked. Research tells us there are six factors that make sharks attack humans:
- Confusion of senses
- Humans not respecting them
- Food in the water
- Animal personality
As you can see, sharks almost never just attack for no reason or to eat humans. One of the most important aspects of shark diving is realizing they are wild animals with minds of their own, respect towards them is of the upmost importance.
Still not convinced that a shark may come out from nowhere and chomp on you? We’ve broken down the statistics of confirmed unprovoked shark attacks from 1958-2014:
Total attacked from 1958-2014: 2,899
Total fatalities: 548
With that information, we can see that only 5-15 attacks a fatal annually. Considering we humans kill somewhere around 79 million sharks each year, we can safely assume we are a more dangerous predator, both on land and in the sea.
Looking For Something Completely Bizarre and Exciting To Do?
Looking for something completely bizarre and exciting to do? Shark diving is something that only the brave do, and if you’re here…we know you’re pretty brave. Plus, many shark diving locations help support different shark sanctuaries and causes, so not only are you getting an experience that less than 1% o the populated get to see, but you are also helping saving sharks.
There has been a steady decline in around the world, mainly due to the rising demand in Asia for shark fin soup. Called “Shark finning” sailors cut the fins off of a live shark and then throw it’s body back into the sea, where it drowns or is eaten alive by other fish – and happens to millions of sharks every year. All for a bowl of soup.
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