HOW TO BEHAVE WITH SHARKS ?
In French Polynesia, we met:
- black tipped reef shark
- white tipped lagoon shark
- white tipped reef shark
- grey shark
- Lemon shark
shark feeding (video 4,3 Mo)
Even if both of the last ones are more impressive, at no time did we have the sensation of being in danger. We can admit that we were very impressed by the "wall" of several hundreds of grey shark in Tiputa pass in Rangiroa.
Accidents with divers are very rare. Furthermore in Polynesia, the sharks are in the habit of seeing divers and are accustomed to their presence..
Here is some advice based on the experiences of Mr Richard Martin who dived with about 40 types of sharks.
PREPARE FOR YOUR DIVE AND BE READY
Study sharks (site dedicated to the sharks) that you are likely to meet during your dive in order to understand their behaviour. Remember that the security of a diver decreases with the lack of visibility, the increase of depth, the presence of currents, load of the diver (cameras, etc …) and the number of sharks. Remember that the ocean and the sea are more dangerous than the sharks. Prepare and plan your dive with all the divers before diving.
Be "polished" guests and have "good manners " with your host the shark. It is the boss of the place and is a predator. Let any shark approach you and let him know you. Do not try to touch sharks, do not pursue them, do not get in their way, do not use your knives, do not act aggressively toward them. The shark is an animal which follows its instinct and will try to defend itself if it considers itself in danger of attack. In all probability, if you behave in an aggressive way, it will leave and will not look for a attack - but it is better not to provoke it.
DURING YOUR MEETING WITH A SHARK
Remain fixed near or on the bottow. Try to merge in the relief and the topography which surrounds you. Sudden or fast movement can frighten sharks, make them nervous and even can provoke a defensive attack. Do not lose sight of the sharks that surround you. Stay very watchful after the apparent departure of the sharks.
DO NOT PUT YOURSELVES IN A VERTICAL POSITION
Stay in horizontal position. The sharks seem to be more affected by the size than by the length - maybe because the majority of the creatures that sharks meet are bigger in the horizontal sense than the vertical sense.
AVOID THE GROUPINGS OF DIVERS
The sharks often seem to perceive a grouping of divers as a big great organism. Separate into small groups while remaining close to your dive buddy and remaining watchful of the movements of the sharks which surround you.
TO PROLONG YOUR MEETING WITH THE SHARKS
Benefit from the curious nature of the sharks. Breathe slowly and be relaxed.
DO NOT FEED THE SHARKS
The act of feeding sharks radically changes their behavior and can provoke a context of competition among the sharks. This can make them very aggressive and very dangerous for the divers.
IF YOU SHOULD SURFACE IN THE PRESENCE OF SHARKS
Move slowly and never lose sight of the sharks. Proceed directly to your point of exit. Avoid swimming long distances on surface. When you have reached your exit point (boat, dock, beach …), leave the water quickly and smoothly. Before diving, if you see sharks and decide to dive, enter in the water slowly without making" too much noise " (from the sitting position and no jump). Movement of the water which provokes turbulence and "noise" can incite the sharks.
OBSERVE ATTENTIVELY THE BEHAVIOR OF THE SHARKS
You should leave the water if the shark begins to act nervously (muddled, jerky and nervous movements, dorsal fins steered downward, abrupt change of the direction, muscular tension in increase, nervous movement of the tail …). If you do not want or you can not leave the water, increase the distance between the shark and you. This could make it less nervous, and allow you to leave camly.
BE ATTENTIVE TO THE BEHAVIOR OF FISHES AND FAUNA
If fishes become nervous, leave the water because a predator is hunting. Trust your divers' instincts. If you are not calm, please leave the water.
From " THE DIVE WITH THE SHARKS " written by Richard MARTIN
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