The boat ride to Shark Junction is filled with heart-thumping anticipation. As I entered the water, a quick glance to the bottom revealed several sharks already circling in anticipation, as if they had confirmed reservations at their favorite restaurant.
Underwater, I assembled with the other divers in about 45 feet of water. We squatted with our backs to a previously submerged oil drum, so the sharks couldn't "sneak" up behind us.
As the group watched, one of our guides began feeding reef fish in the area. Several other professional divers scanned the area for rogue fish who might drop by uninvited. Before long, five sharks were circling around us, darting in occasionally to snatch a herring from the feeder's hand.
"We sometimes have as many as fifteen sharks in the area at a time," says Ben Rose, resident naturalist and frequent shark feeder. "While we know that sharks are notoriously unpredictable, they may be much smarter than many divers think." I just hoped they were smart enough to differentiate my head from chopped herring.
The dive lasted about 30 minutes and I had the theme song from Jaws playing in my head the entire time. As the sharks swarmed around our group, I did my best to keep my hands from shaking and my body from quaking. I spent most of the time trying to remain completely still, and wishing I was wearing a steel-plated wetsuit.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication