-Nobody likes to hear about them when they’re swimming, let alone see one in the water with you. But, when you’re scuba diving, MOST of the time, it’s cool to see one or a few or even a bunch! Non-hungry, small and timid sharks don’t often eat scuba divers and that’s just science. My how scuba diving can change the way people think about the ocean’s treasurous creatures. And in a good way! Myself included.
Before my thinking was changed, my family and I went on vacation to Akumal, Mexico years back. None of us were scuba certified at the time, other than my show-off wife! So, ocean activity comprised mostly of snorkeling and swimming in really close to shore. And during one exciting time while we were splashing around in the very warm sea as I remember clearly, my daughter right next to me, let out a piercing and crisp shriek…, “SHARK!”; then proceeded to hop onto my back, with her legs and arms locked around my neck and torso for protection selfishly all her own. That word, screamed in that manner, about made me come out of my skin. Mind you that the movie JAWS screwed up my psyche along with any chance of me having a long distance ocean swimming career. I wasn’t going to be much help to my daughter or myself if I didn’t quickly get a grip with calm perspective and fast restorative action back to clear thought and surroundings analysis. Also, reminding myself here, that Akumal, Mexico is an absolute haven for sea turtles to do their egg-laying, hanging out and swimming around very close to the beach. I mean that these turtle creatures are all over the place. We saw many dozens of them, may over a hundred. Daily! -These last sentences being the important bits of information my brain was able to process which was able to bring me worry-relief during my body’s fight-or-flight computational environmental triage. Were we about to get eaten by a big ass scary shark or not?! The answer after about five seconds of wonder while my daughter was hanging for dear life around my neck was… nope. My learned offspring followed up her one word of information for me, “shark”, with a comment that it must have been a turtle that bumped her. No shark after all. After hearing that new info, I began to nervously laugh and happily torture my kid for having put me through shark fear. All’s well that ends well!
Fast forward to today. I actually want to see sharks while I’m in the water,,, scuba diving! -Still not while I’m swimming though. I can’t stand the thought of being a tasty fishing bobber just hanging out there waiting to get bump tasted by an inquisitive sea cleaner. Yuck! Bad thoughts. Having the scuba gear on and hopefully a camera rig with defensive big flash system in my hand out in front of me, brings me a minor sense of invincibility to shark attack. I much prefer the latter feeling. Sharks are extremely well designed and awesomely cool animals that nature got right. They’ve been around for millions of years and hopefully they’ll be around for millions more.
If you want to feel better about being in the water with sharks and want to enjoy Shark Week on the Discovery channel during the summer time much much more than you ever have, you need to run out and get yourself certified to scuba dive! I’ve never ever met a diver that thinks that diving is JUST OKAY. They all LOVE it. See what all the craze is about, settle your shark fears, enjoy Shark Week more. These are all valid reasons to go scuba diving. I can’t wait to do it again.
This is the dive signal for, “Shark”. For this signal and many others, make sure to check out the Salty Dogs Dive Signals located HERE…