10 things I learned after swimming with sharks without a cage

Sharks 1

Sharks are misunderstood, as I learned after swimming with them off the coast of Moorea.
Media portrays them as vicious, but sharks aren’t interested in humans.
They have a sharp sense of smell and hearing to prey on the fish in their natural food chain.
Sharks are quickly disappearing, which is problematic for the oceans.

Let me make one thing perfectly clear before I get started — I have been afraid of getting attacked by a shark since I moved to Hawaii half a decade ago. What I knew about these ocean predators was what I’ve seen on television shows and movies, which could be summed up in a single word — terrifying. In an effort to abolish the fear I had, I did a popular cage dive here in Hawaii a few years ago. It had a surprising impact on me. I found that after doing it, I wanted to learn and experience more.

Life happened and I got busy, but at the start of 2018 I made a vow to cross off a big bucket list item — to free dive with sharks naturally — no cage, no chum, just me and them. So, when I traveled to Tahiti a few weeks ago and had the opportunity to do just that three miles off the coast of Moorea with a marine biologist, I jumped at the opportunity and into the water.

Here’s what I learned from the harrowing experience and what you should know before you give it a try.

Most of what I knew about sharks is false.

I boarded the Moorea Ocean Adventures boat with marine biologist Matthieu Petit and my first question was “So, are these guys going to eat me for lunch?” He laughed a little bit, but not because it’s funny but because he’s completely exhausted with trying to dispel the media portrayal of sharks.

“I wish people knew real facts, not the picture of the monster eating humans for breakfast spread by movies and some media or the hysteria following each (very rare) accident that involves sharks.” The International Shark Attack File reported that in 2017 there were only 5 fatal shark attacks worldwide.

Sharks are disappearing at an alarming speed.

There is one shark killed every three seconds in the world. “It’s one of the biggest issues in the ocean right now,” explained Petit. “Sharks are maybe the most important key species living in the oceans and making them disappear could have unknown, but very strong consequences, on a global level.” This infographic is beyond eye-opening.

Sharks are not vicious.

I wanted to know why sharks get this bad-guy rap in movies and television shows if they’re truly mis-characterized.

“Vicious is a word describing some human behaviors more than animal behaviors, but they are opportunistic,” explained Petit. “This is why they have such an important role in the ecosystem. By targeting the weak, sick or injured …read more

Source:: Business Insider


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