First day on the dive boat is about getting to know the people, the boat and the procedures. Going to bed early and sleep tight when the boat rolls out to most remote islands during the night. Short breakfast on the first day of a week at sea. Then it is the dive time. Boat anchored above the dive site. Safety equipment ready. Oxygen in case…vinegar in case…radio turned on in case…safety bar hanging steady on 5 meters. Then they shout, “pools open”, the signal to all of us that everything is ready.
My mask is on, gas turned on and about to jump into the water when I see fins in the surface everywhere. There was a large group of sharks gathered under the boat. The dive master on the dive deck smiles a comforting smile. “Just jump, they move” – and they did.
It turned out to be this way all week. Out of about 25 dives I think two was without sharks present. It is strange how fast it is normalized. Usually 5-10 sharks around us on every dive. We did not bather them and they did not bather us. Maybe pushed it a little when I chase them for a ¾ facial shot close up. There are sharks in almost every picture. Either deliberately or unintentionally in the background.
It is absolutely wonderful. I love sharks and have been diving with sharks a lot. Swimming along side with one. See that we are looking at each other, almost so we can touch, is a fantastic experience.
I know there is another part of this picture and with some species the story is a little different, but out here on the Exumas it is usually a peaceful coexistence. And they are truly beautiful animals.
Read about diving with rays: http://reflections.no/stingray-city/