As everyone knows at Scubaversity, sharks are my favourite fish in the sea! However, it wasn’t always so. I’d grown up with the Jaws movie and was terrified that I’d land up in its jaws when I was blissfully swimming in the waves. But then I learned to scuba dive and decided I need to challenge my belief system. Maybe some of you will identify with this story:
The night before my first shark dive in Aliwal, I paced the corridors of my hotel and wondered what on earth I was doing. I would then rush to my room and sit on my bed and write my last will and testament – sure that I was going to be eaten the next day! And then I would pace again! Anyway, unfortunately morning came too quickly and I dragged myself, with false smile on my face, down to the beach for the dive briefing.
‘Please’, my Instructor noted, ‘don’t chase the sharks – this is their home’. What???!!! Chase the sharks, noooooo – I was determined to swim as fast as possible in the opposite direction! With my heart in the throat and sweaty palms (not from the tight wetsuit mind you), I jumped onto the rubber-duck and off we sped through the waves and onto the Shoal.
As is normal at Aliwal, the current was running, but my Instructor was a sturdy man, and he led us, albeit with me puffing in the back, to Raggies Cave, which sits around 18m on Aliwal Shoal. And there were the sharks! I was blown away by their beauty and grace. They looked majestic as they slowly moved with the currents. And I was so enthralled I forgot my instructor’s warning…..and swam towards the sharks for a more intimate greeting!
Since that special day in 2003, I have come to admire the apex predator of the Sea. I have written a PADI Distinctive Specialty, ratified by PADI, for the Sharks of Southern Africa, and, I rally for sharks all the time!
If you identify with this story – please do yourself a favour and come with us to Aliwal from the 15th June 2017. You will never regret your decision! Next time, I will be discussing the puzzling disappearance of the Seven Gill Cow sharks in Cape Town. See you soon!
Witten by Annie Brown.