It’s rather irrational to be afraid of something you’ve never encountered head on, isn’t it?
Not that I’ve ever really been afraid of sharks, I mean I spend close to half of my time floating around in their home, so at some point you just gotta tell yourself, “Yup, there are things much bigger and much stronger than me lurking around in down there.” However, not to say I’ve never gotten that eerie feeling after a particularly rainy day or during a certain long paddle out to a far offshore surf spot, because like most surfers, you can bet I have.
A few months ago I got the opportunity to go cage-free shark diving on the North Shore of Oahu and although I was undoubtedly nervous, I was more excited than anything. The tour was with @oneoceandiving (go check them out!), a world famous group of divers and marine biologists that devote their life to shark research and protection. So, they don’t use any sort of chumming or baiting for their diving tours!
We headed out on the boat and as soon as we got to open ocean, we were being trailed by four or five large Galapagos sharks. We got all geared up and slowly started making our way down the ladder and into the bottomless-deep ocean. Immediately after entering the water, I looked down to see more than 100 reef sharks of all sizes beneath, behind, and all around me.
Of course my first instinct was to panic (even though that was rule #1 on the list of things NOT to do when surrounded by a very large number of sharks), but I very quickly noticed that the sharks really did not mind us being there, they were more interested in the boat than us. The sharks became more and more comfortable and started getting closer and closer, coming feet from us and bumping into Go Pro. One shark came a little uneasily close to me, looking me dead in the eye as it swam by. Honestly, it was one of the most amazing experiences of my entire life and after this I have a really deep respect for these beautiful, curious, and gentle creatures.
Now, I’m not saying I wouldn’t turn around and make my way right back to the beach if there were a Tiger shark hanging out in the lineup, but I can say that as ladies who spend a large portion of our lives in and dedicated to the water and the ocean (in our Honubelle bikinis of course!), I myself think it is really important to do what we can to protect the creatures that are native to it, sharks included!
So, if you find yourself on Oahu, make your way to Haleiwa and go shark diving! I promise you won’t regret it!
- Tasha J.