“Ohh, be careful!”
That has been the standard response from those to whom I have mentioned that I am about to embark on a week long live-aboard in the Red Sea entitled ‘Project Shark”
Now, it has to be noted that the despite the trip title, there is of course no guarantee that I will even see a single shark.
The aim of ‘Project Shark’ is to highlight the global issues facing sharks, with a Red Sea focus and learn about the various species of shark in the Red Sea and their biggest predator.
You see, whilst sharks are well advertised as the apex predators of the worlds seas and oceans, it is us, the human who has by far the best credentials for being the apex predator across the whole planet, in or out of the water.
As I will no doubt learn over the coming days, the once certainty of observing this predator of the deep in the Red Sea has declined due to human impact.
Now, although I am still much of a rookie diver with around just sixty dives under my weight belt, I did encounter my first shark in July 2014 in the Red Sea.
I am sure like most divers, you always wonder how you will feel when you first encounter this “demon of the deep” and I can recall very clearly my feelings when it happened to me, first disbelief, maybe a trick of the light, no that is definitely shark looking…is it?…yes it is, then WOW!…Yeees it is, WOW I mean just how cool is that!…there was no fear and I even had the calmness and presence of mind the reach carefully into my pocket for my camera and take what is possibly a prize winning underwater shot of a …erm
…I will consult with the experts this week, but I think this was a Black Tip Reef Shark, what do you mean where is it?
To be fair that is exactly what my dive buddies said between their laughter when I showed them, it looked much closer from the mask let me tell you!
It is no doubt going to be an amazing week of diving, whether there are sharks to be seen or not, part of the thrill of diving is that you simply do not know what you are going to see.
So as I submerge into the hunting grounds of the shark I will have in mind, that it is well documented that you are only likely to have a fatal encounter with a shark or any other inhabitant of the sub aquatic world unless it is extremely unfortunate circumstances or more likely, your have been dicking around and caused one of these creatures to act in aggression, not unlike the response you may get from a fellow human in similar circumstances, although humans seem to take a little less provoking to strike out in my experience.
Take Only Pictures, Leave Only Bubbles!
So as good friend of mine once said “If it has fur or feathers, more or less legs than you or bigger teeth, then leave it the fuck alone!” a slightly more forceful mantra, but the message is all but the same, fine words to live by.
So, a final dive kit check is underway before I take to the skies for the journey to Egypt to meet my fellow divers and learn about the biology and behaviour of sharks within the Red Sea with nightly lectures from a representative of the “Red Sea Sharks” trust, expert dive guide and marine biologist, Elke Bojanowski Ph.D.
Now…did I forget anything?