Shark Dive

Alfa flag I’m trying to upload a segment of a video we got on our Aqua Cat trip a few years ago to YouTube, and I’m not sure why it’s taking so long.  It’s the first thing I’ve ever uploaded to YouTube, so maybe it’s normal for a 3:30 video to take an hour for it to be uploaded, but that’s what it seems to be taking.  Maybe it’s too high a quality, and I don’t know yet how to set the parameters to make for a quick upload.  But what ever it is, it’s taking forever.

The shark dive in its self is fascinating.  It was one of those things that I’d always wanted to do once, but if I never do it again, it’ll be OK. 

UPDATE:  I finally got the video uplaaded to Google Video.  

 

Watching it again … I’d be back down there in a heartbeat.  And of course, I STILL can’t find a single shark picture.

In all my years of diving, it was a long time before I ever saw a shark.  I traveled to Australia in 1980 with 3 friends, and we chartered a live-aboard to dive the Great Barrier Reef.  We spent the week diving and spear fishing, and never saw a shark.  I’m sure they were there, but I just didn’t see one.  I’m also glad we didn’t have to live off MY spearfishing skills.  I got a couple of shots, but didn’t get any fish.  Paul and Charlie did much better, and we did eat some fresh fish.

A year later, I dove a week in the Cayman Islands, 2 – 3 dives a day, and I don’t recall seeing a single shark.  The diving there was spectacular.  There was good reef right off the sea wall on the hotel property.  Several days the first dives of the day were right off the wall.  There was a dive shop on site at Sunset House, and you’d finish breakfast, go to the shop, grab a tank, and hit the water.  The hotel had the small boxes of cereal available for breakfast, and many of the divers would grab cereal and stuff the packets in their safety vests (BC’s were not in wide use).  When divers hit the water, the Sergeant Majors would flock around them waiting for the cereal to be opened.  I’ve never been surrounded by so many little fish.

It wasn’t until the first trip to Abaco that I first really saw a shark in a situation where I wasn’t really the top of the food chain.  Andie and I were the only ones diving with Brendal that day, and we were exploring one of the many reefs just off Green Turtle Cay.  There, cruising just at the edge of the 50 foot visibility, were a pair of Blacktip reef sharks.  They weren’t being threatening, not interested in biting anybody, just there, cruising along the reef, looking for something to eat.  I’m glad it wasn’t us. 

That same trip, I was head-butted by a nurse shark.  Brendal had picked up a couple of lobster, pulled off the tails for his dinner, and taken the rest of the carcasses down to feed his “pet” grouper.  The nurse, sensing an easy snack, was acting a bit aggressive, so Brendal gave it a bit of the lobster.  Well, that bite finished, it came looking for more.  I was very still as it came towards me, and was just about to dong it on the nose (which is what you’re supposed to do), when Brendal hit the shark with both fists extended … rather like a dolphin would hit it right on it’s lateral lines.  That’s supposed to be pretty painful.  The shark bolted, and hit me square in the mask.  Then, and I can still see it vividly, Brendal literally rode the shark down to the bottom, and drubbed it in the sand for a few seconds.  The shark decided the few morsels of lobster weren’t worth the effort, and left us alone after that.

I have seen some fascinating marine life diving.  The big green moray we saw a couple of years ago down off Pompano was fascinating.  Jenni was with us on that dive.  Of course, charmed life that she lives, Jen saw 2 sharks and a big sea turtle on her very first open water dive at John Pennecamp State Park. 

Part of why I dive is for just that.  It’s one thing to see those kinds of animals in an aquarium, and quite another to be out there with them, with no inches of Plexiglas between you and what ever it is.  There’s a thrill of dropping slowly to the bottom of the ocean, and breathing, and seeing what only a select few get to see.  I could go on for pages describing shallow reef dives and deep wall dives, and my experience is limited.  On Aqua Cat, we were diving with people who’ve penetrated deep wrecks and been hundreds of feet into the Floridan Aquifer.  My cousin tells a story about diving on a wreck in Lake Michigan in a couple hundred feet of water that has row after row after row of Model “T” Ford cars looking like they’d just come off the assembly line the day before.  dive-flag

But in many ways, it’s the sensation of flying.  On a drift dive in warm water and a 1 to 2 knot current, you can just glide above the reefs like an eagle soaring over mountain ranges.  I know some people say they feel claustrophobic when the put on a mask, but I’ve never felt more free, or more graceful, than I do in the water.  Diving in coral swim-throughs in Cayman, the water so clear it couldn’t be seen, and just about body temperature, it was like a dream.  You couldn’t see it, you couldn’t feel it, but it let me fly.  I don’t know of any better way to describe the sensation.  But if you’ve ever had a dream that you’re flying … without the benefit of an airplane … you have an idea.

Well, I don’t think this video is ever gonna load.  I’ll let it cook a while longer, and if it ever tells me it’s complete, I’ll post an update.  But I will say that, looking at this video from Aqua Cat, I can’t wait to get back in the water this summer.

–scene–

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Filed under Abaco, Australia, Bahamas, Diving, SCUBA, Sharks, Thoughts, Travel

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