When you tell someone that you are going to be swimming with sharks, the most common comments you get back it “is that a good idea? you wouldn’t get me in the water with sharks!!!!”
This idea of sharks attacking people comes from a few sources, many of us grew up watching Jaws the film, and the media have a tendency to sensationalise to play on people’s fears.
So are sharks out to get us? Well, if you get in to the water with a great white and have a huge gash in your leg, you might just get bitten, but lets look at this question sensibly. There are 440 species of sharks in the world and only a few of them have attacked humans in the past, and normally is mistaken identity on the sharks behalf. So as a supporter of sharks, I ask you to look again at sharks.
I have always wanted to swim with sharks in their own environment. A few friends had previously been with Charles Hood in Penzance and suggest he was the guy to show me sharks. I booked a boat and filled it with friends with a similar outlook and love of sharks, Louise, Dan and Fred!
We are talking about Blue sharks in Penzance, which in general which can get to about 9 feet. To say that I was excited about this trip was an understatement!
We arrived in Cornwall and got lucky with the weather for the day of our trip. We met with Charles on the slipway and headed out to the wild seas of Cornwall.
Kitting up, there were a few rules about what we had to wear as sharks do like shiny things, so we stuck to all black kit to minimise any chance of a little nip. I’m not going to lie, as Charles loaded the bait bucket to attract the sharks the excitement and butterflies were 100% there.
We waited for about an hour, then the call “shark” was shouted and everything went a little chaotic as four excited snorkelers prepared to get in the water.
I entered the water with trepidation, excitement and wonder, and instantly met a Blue shark face to face!
It took a little while to sink in that I was actually swimming in the sea with a six foot blue shark and it was very inquisitive! Looking around the shark was interacting with the others too, it really seemed to be interested in what we were and what we were doing.
Soon other sharks joined the party and we had a range of sized blue sharks circling us and at times swimming up to the cameras and nudging them with their noses. We all kept surfacing and looking at each other, punching the air and a few high fives too. We knew we were sharing a special moment in our lives that would change something inside us. It was a strange feeling but a good one!
Looking at a shark that size underwater is a surreal experience, I’m not religious at all, but something happened to me inside that was euphoric! Sharks are so majestic and graceful in the own environment, its just amazing to see them effortlessly swimming through the water. Looking in to the eyes of an animal that size in the ocean is something I would encourage everyone to do.
After a few hours of swimming with the Sharks we were exhausted, but elated. The experience had left us all with a very different and re-enforced view we need to protect the future of our sharks. With so many sharks being slaughtered around the world and the media demonising sharks, it’s time we started changing the attitude towards them, or we might just lose them, and that would be a disaster. If you are reading this article, I urge you to take another look at sharks, think what would the seas be like without them, go and see them, swim with them, connect with them. I promise you will never forget your first swim with these amazing creatures!