Want to swim with sharks on your all-inclusive vacation in the Bahamas? Although the sight of a dorsal fin approaching you in the ocean would usually creep across your skin, if you see sharks in their environment under the waves, you realize how extremely graceful these creatures are and how much they suit their environment. Dozens of diving operators in the Bahamas offer special shark dives for the fearless (but in fact there have still been no shark attacks in thousands of dives). Unusual diving operators in the Grand Bahamas lower you fifty meters to the sandy bottom accompanied by armed guards. Divers line up kneeling, arms outstretched (because stray hands resemble fish, they should be kept close to the body). A feeder comes out, armored with chain mail, and trembles like some zombie; and sharks respond immediately. Caribbean reef sharks six to nine feet long begin circling the feeder waiting for food, sometimes impatiently pushing it into their chests. The feeder catches and hugs them – the scene is actually quite tender.
Shark diving on Walker’s Cay, near the all-inclusive beachfront resort on the Abaco Islands, provides you with a Sharkology education along with diving. Sharks ride on three fins placed symmetrically at 120 ° around the body. Shark teeth are on the conveyor belt: new teeth erupt as old ones break. Maternal shark sacs contain hundreds of eggs, many of which do not develop, including those that eat undeveloped eggs while still in the womb. Moreover, sharks are intelligent, showing communication skills with other sharks and long-term memory (like memory after six months that a colored button needs to be worn in the nose to get food).
At Walker’s Cay, divers first descend, and then a frozen piece in a bucket is strapped to the bottom. Cruises hundreds of Blacktip sharks, nurses and Caribbean reefs. Divers are warned to stay out of the competition zone (at a distance of 15 meters from the food), but the fearless can swim freely among the sharks, even touching them (sharks do not seem to mind – although the warning about waving fish-like hands). In the cheap all-inclusive dive I witnessed, the feeder was giving the sharks fish and playing with them when one of the sharks knocked down his mask. He quickly lowered the feeding tube and filled the mask with air, and the southern stingray took the opportunity to use its enormous suction power to crash onto the feeding tube.
Suddenly, the madness of the fins was heard around the feeder, which nevertheless managed to restore peace. Then one of the larger sharks left the main pack and came straight at me. He moved with lazy insinuations in his body, hovering like a spaceship, incredibly graceful, as I tried to cover up the alarm. In slow motion, an eight-foot shark passed a few inches from my head, sharp snout, devilish smile, pectoral fins – and then, to my immense relief, slowly shifting its tail. That’s how I learned that skin can crawl under water.