Sunday, August 30, 2009

Diving With Sharks - "The Moment"

When you cage dive with big sharks there's a "moment" that all cage divers experience.

An all too brief slice of time where you and the animal stand face to face. For most this is what they have traveled miles of open ocean to experience, for others it is a life changing encounter with the worlds most misunderstood and maligned animals.

We call it "The Moment" and last week shark diver Debbie Smith discovered her moment at Isla Guadalupe, Mexico:

My quest to see The Great White started 29 years ago after I first saw Richard Dreyfuss get into that shark cage. I attempted to see them last year but was "skunked", then I found Patric Douglas and and went diving in August 2009.

My lordy I have finally seen them and they are just something else. At times I forgot to snap pics as I stood there in the cage just mesmerized by this sleek elegant powerful fish swimming around me...sometimes in pairs - WOOHOOOO!

It was an incredible trip. The first day the cages were in the water we saw a shark within 10 min. That (first encounter) of course, wasn't on my rotation in the cage but I did see it topside.Then it was my turn in the water.No sharks!! Topside once again and sharks in the water.

I started thinking at this point...oh man not again,but then lo and behold it was my turn in the water and I was standing in the cage watching this magnificent fish swim directly towards me veering off just before it touched my cage. The adrenaline surged through my entire body. The shark just seemed to float through the water not looking one bit like the "maneater" it is made out to be.Well minus the teeth of course (keep your limbs in the cage...hahahahaha)

It was INCREDIBLE!!!!. We saw 5 different sharks and up to 2 at a time. The second day of diving a new shark appeared.This shark bit the cage next to me and my cage got slammed with the tail which knocked me off my feet.Thank god I was not holding onto the bars at that time as it happened so fast I believe I may have ended up with broken fingers.They think this shark may have been new because they generally only bite the cage once, according to the crew, then they realize there is too much fiber and not enough fat! Oh and I never knew they had blue irises!

Well I spent the last 29 years trying to get to a point in my life I could do this. Finally I have. I wanna go back now. The water was clear with good visibility and not too cold around 68 degrees but my 7mm wetsuit kept me good and warm. I still cannot believe I have seen them.

Thanks to the FABULOUS crew: the deck dudes: Jeff, Mark and Aaron- Hey watch your bait! Captains Spencer and Cary for getting us there and back safely and not too bumpy, Martin for his shark savvy and banging very loudly on the cage when its time to come out.Don't ignore the banging and Mark and Mike for keeping this veg head happy, the conversations and the batteries!

Funny how we all start out as strangers, just people on a boat going to see a shark but we end up leaving as friends who have bonded and shared the experience of a lifetime.


Patric, see ya next year!

Debbie Smith

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