Tuesday, 30 January 2007

PostHeaderIcon Shark Bait

I was asked the other day if I've ever dived with sharks, "Of course I have, loads of times" was my response and I then went on to tell the story of my unexpected encounter with Bull sharks (apparently the third most dangerous in the world after Great Whites and Tigers) whilst diving in Cancun, Mexico some years ago.

After a week or so of diving in which sharks were common on most dives, mainly Nurse sharks which are the pussycats of the shark family, we did a dive on a horseshoe shaped reef with sandy bottom at about 12 meters. I was one of the first in the water and the dive guide told a couple of us to go down and just wait in the sandy bit in the middle of the reef.

We seemed to be waiting an age for the others to get into the water and after a few minutes we could see large shadows just on the edge of our visibility of about 30 meters. These shadows were circling around the edge of the horseshoe reef getting ever closer. After a couple of laps we could clearly see that it was a pair of sharks, one about 10-12 feet and the other about 8-10 feet in size with large heavy bodies.

This was quite exciting as these were bigger than any other shark we'd seen and they looked more like what you expect a shark to look like. Having seen sharks all week we really didn't feel intimidated or worried at all and just thought cool, glad we got in the water quickly.

As the sharks got closer and closer they would swerve in for a closer look at us before moving back out to continue their lap around the edge of the reef. After they approached in that way for a second time and my eyes followed them around and past me my eyes settled on the dive guide and the other divers who had made it into the water and were cowering behind a rock with the guide gesturing wildly for us to get down and hide. Of course being in he middle of the sandy basin there wasn't many places to hide. Even though the guides face was obscured by his mask and reg there was a certain look of fear about him that made me think 'oh shit!'

Well anyway, after this second fly by the sharks took off and we didn't see them again, the rest of the dive was pretty uneventful. After we surfaced and got back into the boat the guide was so excited about seeing the sharks, apparently you never see Bull sharks that close to the shore and it was the first time he'd seen any in the region. He was at a loss as to why they should have been there.

I didn't say anything but I do have a theory as to why they where there. It was at that stage in the holiday where my bowels always give up and I suffer acute diarrhea. Being the second dive of the day we arrived at the dive site early and had to hang around for an hour to off-gas a bit. Shortly after arriving at the site I felt sudden pains in my belly and knew it only meant one thing. I got into the water and swam 40-50 metres from the boat, dropped my shorts and proceeded to empty my bowels. Well once it started it wouldn't stop and I spent a good half hour with almost constant diarrhea. Now we all know that sharks have an amazing sense of smell able to pick out a bleeding fish from a long way away. I'm sure the stench coming out of my arse for half an hour must have been swept quite some distance with the prevailing currents. I suppose I'm lucky that once they turned up they decided dinner didn't look quite as appealing as it smelt!

Gary

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