I finally got my shark dive video uploaded to Google Video. It just gets cooler every time I watch it, and it really makes me look forward to going diving again this summer. Rather than send you chasing across the blog, I’ll post it again here.
Thanks to the folks at Aqua Cat for giving me permission to post this vid.
I still sometimes can’t believe the number of sharks in the water coming after the chumsicle. It’s a really big file, over 200 megs, but it’s worth it for the quality. I realized going back and reading that first post, I didn’t really talk about the actual shark dive. It was something of a surreal experience.
The dive begins with all the divers in the water kneeling quietly on the sand. One of the boats’ dive masters brings in the chumsicle on about a 50 foot tether. The chumsicle its self is a variety of fish parts that are frozen in a 5 gallon bucket with an attachment for the line. A float on the other end to keep the bait suspended in the water and it’s ready to go. Our dive master had a shark-style dorsal fin attached to his tank, which I don’t recall seeing until I saw the video.
You can see from the still, the sharks follow the bait ball in. There are a lot of large grouper in the mix, as well as hundreds of smaller fish. Everybody knows there’s an easy meal in the offing.
Once the sharks start to hit the chumsicle, the divers can come up off the sand and interact with the sharks. You’ll see in the video how close we are to these top-level predators … but there’s lots easier food in the water. We were told in the pre-dive briefing that it can get a little dicey when the chumsicle is gone, but we didn’t experience any problems. The sharks pretty much dispersed after a big grouper got the last bite of fish parts.
The sharks themselves are some of the most efficient swimmers you’ll ever see. Silent, graceful, and menacing. But we had an outstanding experience swimming with the sharks. I’d recommend it for any reasonably experienced diver that isn’t freaked out by being in close proximity to a top-level predator.
Some states in the US have banned shark diving, saying the animals become too dependent of humans for food, and become too complacent interacting with us. That could lead to complacency on the part of the divers, and that could be a problem. I can see that argument, but the sharks hunt. It’s what they do. They face a much greater threat from the extensive shark fishing going on in Asian countries, IMHO. There, sharks are caught, finned, and tossed back in the ocean to die … all for shark fin soup and manufacture of aphrodisiacs. I’d much rather they had the chance to hit a bait ball.
I didn’t ride tonight because it got late, it was Friday night, it’s spring break, the weather is nice, and there are a LOT of people making their way to our little beach. I’ll get up in the morning and crank out 18-20 miles before most of the spring breakers have shaken off enough of their hangovers to face the sunlight. It’ll be much safer then. Then, it’ll be off to the boatyard to finish up the live well project.
Andie’ll be being pushed in the MS walk tomorrow morning … by my sister. Her sprained knee is worse than I anticipated. She kind of brushed it off on the phone the past couple of days, so I don’t think I was quite ready for her to be quite so infirm as she is. But she took care of me when my knee was a problem, so it’s the least I can do to return the favor. But since she’ll be getting up early for the event in the morning, I’ll be getting up early as well, so I guess I’d better call it a night.
It’s a night.