Diving is my passion. Our planet is almost seventy percent underwater, and one can hardly call herself a traveler without exploring below the surface. I arrived to South Africa’s Umkomaas to dive with tiger sharks and to prove to myself and others that diving with sharks is nothing to be afraid off. Sharks are the most magnificent and misunderstood creatures of the underwater world.
The sea had been frowning with waves for three days before, but luckily, the day of the dive turned out to be nice and sunny. Before I got into the water, the dive master instructed me not to have the strap of my camera tied around my wrist. In fact, she said not to wear it at all. Apparently, sharks enjoy robbing divers of their photographic equipment. They especially like strobes, because sharks can sense the powerful electromagnetic fields generated by the firing strobe. So I just have to be careful not to let go of my camera accidentally, and be ready to part with it if I don’t feel like parting with a few fingers.
Unfortunately, I didn’t get to spend as much time as I wanted in the water with the tiger shark. For such a feared fish, it is quite shy and does not enjoy splashing two-legged visitors blowing bubbles in its swimming space, so it took off as soon as the divers hit the water. The rest of the sharks seemed to be used to aquatic tourists and didn’t even mind the bubbles. They came close enough to touch, and sometimes I needed to gently shove them away by the nose. Somehow, these sharks were ignorant of the concept of personal space.