Sharks have become one of the most feared creatures in the animal realm, thanks to films like Jaws. This perception, however, is primarily based on myth. In reality, deer, dogs, and domestic pigs kill more humans each year than sharks. And, get this: the annual risk of death from a lightning strike in the United States is 30 times higher than the risk of death from a shark attack! So, would you dare swim with sharks?
Swimming With Sharks
Swimming with sharks was once considered perilous and something only a fool would attempt. However, as swimmers have had more shark encounters over the last few decades and realized that such encounters are a privilege, such sentiments have shifted.
Swimming with sharks presents the opportunity to admire these majestic beasts of the ocean up close and encourage conservation. There is also the fact that it is a dream that can be achieved regardless of your skill level, and is also inexpensive, too.
Observing a shark underwater in its natural home shows a superior and perfect animal for its environment. Each species’ body and form have been molded in the sea over eons to be flawless and best suited to hunting and dominating in all habitats. Reef sharks have stout bodies and small pectoral fins, making them ideal for tracking coral reefs, whereas blue sharks have long fuselage-like bodies and wing-like pectorals, making them suitable for traveling long distances in pelagic waters. Whale sharks, makos, and horn sharks have all adapted to prosper in their respective environments. Each species is distinct and a work of evolution. This article will explore the benefits of swimming with sharks, the best places to do it, and other interesting facts.
Why Would Anyone Swim with Sharks?
One of the most incredible ways to learn about sharks is to go swimming with them, and it’s an adrenaline-pumping, once-in-a-lifetime experience that could save sharks. The reasons why you should swim with sharks are listed below.
1. Sharks are Stunning
Sharks are amazing, lovely creatures and it’s the best reason to swim with them. Getting up close and personal with these creatures can help you learn more about them and appreciate their magnificence. Swimming with sharks is the finest way to properly understand their beauty, whether you go on a group dive, a cage dive, or a shallow snorkeling adventure.
2. It is Safe to Swim with Sharks
Swimming with sharks may appear frightening, as sharks are the sea’s apex predators. However, several docile shark species, such as whale, basking, and nurse sharks, are suitable for newbies. Even when diving with more aggressive sharks like bull sharks and great white sharks, you will be entirely secure if you go with an experienced, knowledgeable dive team. People swim with sharks every day without incident, so you have nothing to be afraid of if you swim with them.
3. Being a Pro Swimmer isn’t a Requirement
There are shark swims available for swimmers of all skill levels. You can swim with sharks in various ways, from shallow water snorkeling to deep water scuba diving to cage diving, regardless of your swimming ability. If you want to swim with sharks but aren’t a good swimmer, look into the many types of dives available and speak with the tour leader. They can advise you on the best dip for your skill level. So don’t let your swimming ability limit you; anyone can swim with sharks!
4. It’s Cheap to Swim with Sharks
Many people think that swimming with sharks is costly. There are, however, some inexpensive tours. In fact, some excursions, such as snorkeling with local sharks, might be included in a hotel activity package for free. Shark dives increase in price with the diver’s skill level, the depth of the water, and whether it is a cage dive or a free water dive. Therefore, swimming with sharks is cheap, and the cost is only determined by how far you want to carry your trip.
5. Encourages Shark Conservation
The final and most important reason for swimming with sharks is to encourage conservation efforts. Shark tourism is far more lucrative economically than commercial shark fishing, shark population culling, and byproduct catches. Shark conservation legislation will be enacted in areas with thriving, profitable shark tourism to protect the economy. Local shark populations are protected and preserved by conservation legislation such as protected zones and illegal fishing. People who swim with sharks gain a better understanding of sharks and are more likely to support conservation efforts regardless of where they reside. So, if you want to save sharks, swimming with them is the best way to do it.
What Should You Not Do While Swimming with Sharks?
First and foremost, you need to learn about the animals and their surroundings as much as possible. Going into the water without at least a basic understanding of how sharks may behave is, to say the least, irresponsible.
Look, but do not touch. Grasping a shark by the tail or any other part of its body is the easiest way to get bitten. You might not think it needs to be said, but a startling number of shark bites result from divers attempting to handle seemingly calm sharks.
When swimming with sharks, keep your cool. Stay calm and avoid unexpected movements. This piques their interest and may lead them to believe you are food. Maintain a steady breathing pattern and enjoy the experience. You’re a visitor in the shark’s home; swim gently as if you’re surrounded by small fish and coral.
While the advice is aimed to be helpful, it should only be used as a general guideline. It’s crucial to realize that each shark encounter is unique. So pay attention to your leader’s instructions and obey them as if your life depended on them because it probably would.
Where are the Best Places to Swim with Sharks?
The Wolf and Darwin Islands in the Galapagos, Bahia de Los Angeles, Socorro Island and Isla Mujeres in Mexico, Oslob in the Philippines, and the Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia are just a few of the best shark tourism destinations.
But there’s another hidden gem to swim with sharks. The Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park is a Philippine protected area amid the Sulu Sea renowned for some of the world’s best diving. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the best spots in the country for swimming with whale sharks, but it’s tough to get to and only accessible by live-aboard boat.
The photo featured at the top of this post is © evantravels/Shutterstock.com
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