The mere mention of a shark is enough to instill fear in most of us, but for many, shark diving is an awe-inspiring experience. Sharks are some of the most fascinating creatures in the ocean, not without a reason. Known for having survived nearly half a billion years and four mass extinctions, they are even older than dinosaurs. That’s the reason they are frequently called living fossils.
They play a key role in keeping the ocean healthy, helping to keep the balance of marine life.
If there were no sharks in the ocean, the marine ecosystem would be thrown off balance. Sharks are apex predators that play a critical role in maintaining the balance of marine life. They keep populations of prey species in check, which helps to prevent overpopulation and depletion of resources. Without sharks, these prey species would run rampant, disrupting the delicate balance of the ecosystem. This could have a devastating impact on marine life and coral reefs.
Will sharks attack scuba divers?
There is a common misconception that sharks actively hunt and attack scuba divers. In reality, most shark interactions are accidental. Sharks may approach a diver if they are confused or curious, but they generally do not attack unless provoked. Staying close to the group, avoiding bright colors, and not swimming in murky water are a few precautions that divers can take to reduce the risk of an attack. With a bit of common sense and caution, diving with sharks can be a safe and exciting experience.
How often do divers get attacked by sharks?
The fear of being attacked by a shark is a common one, but how often does this actually happen? According to the Florida Museum of Natural History, there were 73 unprovoked shark attacks on divers in 2021. Out of those attacks, only about 9 were fatal. While this is something to be wary of, it’s important to remember that the risk of being attacked by a shark is still very low.
Most shark bite accidents were in the U.S.
Shark bites are a rare occurrence, but they do happen. In fact, more people are killed by hippo attacks in Africa each year than by shark attacks in the whole world. However, the majority of shark bites occur in the United States. In 2021, the 47 confirmed cases stand for 64% of the worldwide total events.
There were 15 shark bites combined in Australia and South Africa, which resulted in 4 deaths.
What do you do if you see a shark while scuba diving?
When you sight a shark, remain calm and enjoy seeing one of nature’s most impressive predators. Most sharks are curious and will leave on their own.
You have to remember that fishes don’t blow bubbles underwater, so it is only natural for marine life to come and check the show.
However, if you notice that the shark is getting too interested in you, leave the water quickly but smoothly. Always keep the shark in sight and stay close to your buddy. If a shark is becoming aggressive, back up against any structure in order to reduce the angles it can approach. Get back to back with your buddy and leave the water. Remember, there is strength in numbers.
The Florida Museum Advice to Divers is a good place to get more information about how to survive a shark attack.
Are sharks attracted to human blood? What about period blood?
Sharks are often portrayed as bloodthirsty predators that are only attracted to the scent of human blood. Thanks to Jaws, the 1975 Oscar-winning movie by Steven Spielberg.
It is true that many sharks have extraordinary senses of smell and can detect the slightest scent of blood from miles away. However, that doesn’t mean that they will attack and make a snack out of you.
It is also important to keep in mind that humans are not on the shark’s menu and that they are not interested in human fluids. The same goes for menstrual blood. In fact, over 90% of shark attacks all over the world were on males.
Best places to dive with sharks
The Smithsonian reports that there are over 500 species of shark around the world. This is an impressive number, given that sharks have been around for about 400 million years.
The best place to see a shark depends on the species of shark you want to encounter. For example, if you want to see a great white shark, the best place to look would be in the waters off of South Africa.
But there are destinations that are word-known for amazing shark dives. PADI posted a listing of the 13 best Dive Sites in the World for Shark Diving.
Here are some of them.
1. Bajo Alcyone – Cocos Island, Costa Rica
Featured Shark: Scalloped Hammerhead
When to Go: June to November for the best marine life. December to May for the best water conditions.
2. Monad Shoal – Malapascua, Philippines
Featured Shark: Thresher Shark
When to Go: November to June
3. Gordon Rocks – Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
Featured Sharks: Scalloped, Great and Smooth Hammerheads
When to Go: June to November
4. Tiger Beach – Grand Bahama Island, Bahamas
Featured Shark: Tiger Shark
When to Go: October to January
5. Isla Guadalupe, Mexico
Featured Shark: Great White Shark
When to Go: July to November
6. Shark Dive – Beqa Lagoon, Fiji
Featured Shark: Bull Shark
When to Go: July to September
7. Gladden Spit Whale Shark Dive – Placencia, Belize
Featured Shark: Whale Shark
When to Go: March to June
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