In December of last year, I was fortunate enough to participate in the
Dive with the Sharks event at the Florida Aquarium in Tampa. I have
numerous hours of dive experience and have seen a few sharks on dives,
even gotten close to some small sharks, but I have never been within
reach of 6 foot long Sand Tiger, Zebra and 4 foot long White Tips
sharks. Until now. The Dive with the Sharks exhibit is available to
certified divers and gives you a chance to spend 30 minutes getting as
close as you are comfortable with to their sharks.
My dive buddy was a good friend and newly certified diver. We were
delighted by how close the sharks got to us. She even had the
Goliath Grouper rest on top of her head and bellow. This was a small
Goliath Grouper weighing just 230 pounds!
The Sand Tigers were very
inquisitive and got so close to me that I actually had to lean back to
keep from being hit by a pectoral fin on his pass. The Zebra sharks
seemed content staying about 6 feet away, but were so beautiful. One of
the other factors that make this experience so amazing is the
visibility. The water is crystal clear and allow you to see so much
detail. In the wild it is so hard to get the combination of the
presence of the sharks and good visibility.
All in all I have to
say that this is an experience that any diver that is interested in
sharks should schedule immediately! Let me know when you are going
because I will go back any chance I can get!