Published: October 11th 2010October 10th 2010
AMAZING Experience Diving with Sharks at Underwater World today!
Yes, that's right, SHARKS! From one who watches Shark Week on the Discovery Channel intensely, and has always thought how cool this would be - my dream has come true!
Jodi and I decided to go for it after looking up Underwater World in Mooloolaba as something to do on a rainy day. Then we noticed the "Dive with Sharks" experience they advertised. We did the whole "would you?", "Yeah I would, would YOU?", "Are we REALLY going to do this?" and then decided we just couldn't wait and booked it!! So we headed to Underwater World Sunday morning, to see the rest of the exhibits before our afternoon scheduled dive.
I don't know how much we really saw, since we were both a bit preoccupied that in a few short hours we were going to be swimming with sharks! I think I was more concerned with my first time scuba diving, but also excited as I've wanted to do this my whole life!!
We saw the exhibits, spent some time in the Sharks Alive exhibit, which is the Oceanarium full of Sharks, Rays, and oodles of other
Note the giant eyes!
fish that we were going to be diving in!! Saw a really cute seal show, which was a good distraction prior to the big event! We went for a coffee and a bickie, then the time had come to meet at ScubaWorld for our training! We changed into our togs, and headed over to Scuba World. Here, they explained the sharks we were going to be seeing, some of the other see creatures, the rules of diving (keep your hands in to your body so the sharks don't think your fingers are food or have food in them- as these sharks are handfed they may have got the wrong idea!), signals for if things are ok, you need to go up to the surface, and if you're "ok to go for a walk on the floor of the oceanarium". Are we ready for this?! Only one way to find out!
We headed to get outfitted with all of our scuba gear, wetsuits, boots, our oxygen tanks and packs (almost like a backpack) and then headed to the practice tank. Here we got our weights put into our packs, our googles prepared with misting spray, and our Dive leader helped
Divers Ash & Jodi
Note the Shark to the right!
position them properly on our faces.
Now, time to regulate our breathing and learn to breathe underwater. I was really surprised at the feeling of how easy it was to breathe with the mouthpiece, it was like you had to remind yourself to breathe (I think I was naturally trying to hold my breath because my face was underwater), but as soon as you think "ok, here we go, breathe" the O2 just comes right to you!
Under we went, one at a time, to regulate and adjust our ears. Once we were down at the bottom (still couldn't believe HOW WEIRD it felt to be breathing under water - just seems so unnatural! We did a lap of the practice tank. We practiced clearing our face masks, walking, and continue to breathe regularly under the water!
Once we all passed that, it was time for the real dive! YIKES! Over we went to the Oceanarium, and somehow I ended up at the front of the line (there were 5 people total). So, in I went after the instructor to be the first one in the tank! Once in, it was REALLY hard to believe that I,
the landlubber that I am, was scuba diving in a shark tank! While everyone got in and got their bearings, we had a chance to just look around. All of the fish were just staring with us, and because they are so used to divers, they just stayed where they were! The water wasn't totally clear, as it's pumped in right from the ocean,and it was SUCH a rainy and blustery day that the ocean water had a lot of sediment in it. It was really cold too (but hey, whatever it takes to make the sharks comfortable!)
Then came the sharks!!!! Curious to see us, they came right over!!! The swam right towards us, and came so close! the Bull Shark (one of the top three deadliest sharks!) swam right over our heads! I was absolutely frozen in sheer excitement (and still disbelief that I was really swimming with sharks!) They moved so slow, it was like slow motion as he just cruised over our heads. Another one came right in front of my face... like RIGHT in front!!! I am still convinced that it's side fin grazed my forehead!! We are talking EYE level with sharks!!! They
just swam right around us, and by eye like it was nothing (they are so used to humans in their tank). The best thing about them coming so close is that you really got a good look at them, and their skin, and their TEETH!!! I found myself going "oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my gosh" most of the time, the whole experience was exhilirating and SO surreal!! I think the look on my face in the scuba photos says a lot, my eyes are HUGE!
Some of them had other small fish that sort of tag along with them, in schools, so as the sharks came along, the other fish followed. We were able to go for a walk in the tank, and this gave us a great chance to see the Wobbegongs and Nurse sharks that tend to hang out on the bottom of the tank. The whole time, the other sharks just zipping around us and coming SO close!!! I still can't believe I had the opportunity to do this, definitely one of the coolest things I've ever done in life!!!!
The half hour dive felt like minutes, and eventually time was up
and we had to get out. The excitement in the group was great, and everyone really seemed to enjoy it! Jodi and I were absolutely wired after the dive, what an adrenaline rush! Still can't believe we just swam with sharks!!!!!!
We changed out of our wet gear, and headed up to the dive shop to check out the pics. We purchased the CD of pics! Not that we'll ever forget this experience, but no one else will believe us about just how close they came and how amazing it was!
We spent some more time wandering around Underwater World, we went back to the shark tunnel to see our new friends from a different perspective again!
What an amazing day, the rest of the afternoon consisted of Jodi and I looking at each other going "I can't believe we just swam with sharks!!".
After we left, we went to the beach at Mooloolaba to see how big the waves were... huge! We went for a walk along the beach to Alex Heads to check out the surfers, and then it really started to rain! Needless to say, we were SOAKED! but still on such a
buzz from our shark experience that I don't think either of us really cared!
We were pretty wound up the rest of the day, and we both made sure to phone everyone to tell them! I mean, if diving with sharks isn't worth a call to Canada, I don't know what is!!!
There are more photos below