Shark Bait

The Sharks
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Many of the sharks return on a regular basis for the feedings: Lady is gentle enough to be stroked, Sweetlips has a nick in her lower jaw, and Rogue was initially a little aggressive with the guides. Face to face with these spectacular beasts it was difficult to address them on a first-name basis.

"They are much less aggressive now than they were at first," says Rose. "But, sometimes, they still get a little feisty." Before he began wearing a chain-mail glove, one of the sharks nipped his finger and, recently, another chewed through one of his equipment hoses.

The sharks definitely looked hungry, mean, powerful, fast, and menacing. But looks can be deceiving. UNEXSO has had very few problems with the sharks, their divers, or customers like me. Statistics show that this (and diving in general) is a safe endeavor.

"I've dove all over the world and this is certainly one of the most exciting dives I've ever made," said Winnie Johnson, a visiting diver from Denver. "Even though there were sharks all around us, we felt very secure."

I wasn't sure sharks knew the safety statistics, so I kept a low profile until it was time to go back to the boat. I took one last look at the well-fed sharks and kicked toward the surface, knowing I'd live to see another day (and other dives).

Often, one of the best parts about diving is talking about the experience on the boat afterward. It was certainly true on this dive. As we excitedly recounted our Shark Junction visit, the sharks grew in size and stature by the minute. As with most fish stories, the further you get from the event, the further you stray from the truth. But take it from experience, when you've just been shark bait, you're allowed some exaggeration.

Published: 30 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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