"" Writer's Wanderings: Shark Encounter

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Shark Encounter

You always remember your first one.

"There's a shark dive available. Want to feed the sharks?" Bob asked as he perused the website of UNEXSO trying to decide which dive package we wanted for our trip to the Bahamas.

"Feed the sharks? I don't even want to see a shark." I'm not afraid of too many things, but visions of Jaws sent shivers up my spine.

"They put you in a chainmail suit and teach you how to use the shark feeding equipment. And...they'll tape the whole thing."

He was really pushing it, but only because he knew I'd refuse.

"Or, we could just go and be observers...watch someone else have all the fun." He grinned and I shot him one of my wifely looks.

"O.K., O.K. I'll be sure to tell them we don't want to be diving near the sharks." He turned back to his computer to reserve our four day stay in Port Lucaya that included four dives.

Two months earlier, we had finished our certification as open water divers. After being introduced to a beautiful underwater world in the Carribean, we were eager to explore it now at our leisure. UNEXSO (Underwater Explorers Society) offered a variety of dive sites and the special shark dive.

Diving with the sharks was for those of stout heart and steady nerves who liked to live on the edge. A group of divers kneel in the sand and watch as one diver feeds the 10-20 reef sharks that gather around.

Not long before our decision to go to the Bahamas, my son had assisted a professor from the University of Miami at Bimini, in a week long seminar course on sharks. He told us of being in the water, snorkeling with sharks around him, and suddenly realizing the professor was feeding the sharks to attract them for study. Just the stuff a mother wants to hear. He kept assuring me it was all right. They were only reef sharks.

To my understanding, they still had teeth. I was not comforted. I still wanted no part of diving with sharks.

I was in for a surprise...

Shark Encounter 2
Shark Encounter 3
Shark Encounter 4

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