When I told Greg at Aqua Adventures that I wanted to learn to dive because of sharks, he popped in a film he’d made on one of his annual great white excursions to Guadalupe Island.
Great whites with names like Lucy and Cal Rip Fin (whose dorsal had been nearly shredded—probably from a boat propeller) darted, swerved and snatched bait. One shark leapt over the cage and actually landed on top of it. A thrilling and rare accident, I assured myself, as was the story of the great white that caught his snout in the opening between the cage bars and thrashed around so much that the front panel of the cage collapsed.
Greg and I talked for two hours mostly about sharks and shark conservation. He told me Cal Rip Fin, once a reliable figure at Guadalupe, hadn’t been seen since 2011. He also told me some crazy shark breaching stories, and all the many beautiful and dangerous places he’d gone diving. People that lead such adventurous lives always floor me. I feel privileged to hear their stories.
Sharks are opening up my life too. Although I love the ocean, I’m afraid to swim in it. I never would have gone through with shark diving if it hadn’t have been for this project. Divers can be great friends to sharks:
Project AWARE is a conservation group made up of scuba divers that focuses on ocean pollution and shark conservation.
Divers can help free sharks entangled in nets, participate in research expeditions, and even count sharks by collecting valuable data on their numbers for scientists and conservationists.
I’m just glad we’re practicing in a pool first.