Why I’m Glad I went Diving at Night with Sharks in the Great Barrier Reef!
I am not a stranger to shark diving. My experience with a Great White Shark in Guadalupe Island in 2010 is indicative of that! I’ve been diving with Whale Sharks, Hammerheads, Galapagos Sharks, White Tips, Black Tips, Silkies, nurse sharks and leopard sharks. Somehow though, the idea of diving at night with sharks never occurred to me as a very good idea!
While I was on a trip recently in Komodo National Park, one of my dive mates told me that he had been on the Spirit of Freedom, the boat I was going to be on in the Great Barrier Reef in the next week. He told me about a night dive he was on with sharks, and told me that one of the divers had been bitten. Getting a bite from a shark did not appeal to me even though I love sharks!
Fast forward to the Spirit of Freedom. I really enjoyed the boat, and the crew was fantastic, so when they mentioned the night dive with sharks, I was somewhat prepared. I was not enthusiastic, even when they explained that any bite would have been small!
Although a little nervous, I listened to the dive brief. At this site, the sharks and the trevallys, which are also large fish, use the divers as a means to hunt their prey. When diving at night, divers have lights, or “torches”. These lights are necessary to see during a night dive, and the sharks and trevallys take advantage of these lights to hunt, often hanging with the divers. That seemed to me to be a bit problematic, you know, hungry sharks hunting while humans were present? But you all know me, I said what the hell, and jumped in.
The dive was actually quite fascinating. Seeing the sharks swimming around in the lights was not scary, but exciting! They are so streamlined, the perfect predator. The Trevallys were huge, and actually bumped into divers while they were hunting. To my knowledge, the sharks did not bump into anyone. They paid no attention to the divers, but hung out on the edge of the lighted area, darting in to grab a meal here and there.
Why am I glad I went night diving with sharks? Because it is always a good thing to face your fears (within reason, of course. If you are afraid of guns, I don’t think you should shoot yourself!). These shark species are less intimidating than, say, Bull Sharks or Tiger Sharks. I have a very healthy respect for Bulls and Tigers. I had the chance to dive with Bull Sharks in Cabo Pulmo, an amazing dive area in the Baja of Mexico, and instead of fear, I felt sheer excitement! The night dive with the sharks on Saxon Reef was exciting, and a lot of fun. I would do it again, any time!