Bahamas Diving - Shark Diving Etiquette
By Omar Isaacs
Want to explore the 'Big Blue' and enjoy swimming with sharks on your dive? Bahamas and Caribbean beaches are the perfect places to achieve this goal, but you don't want to go just wading in! That could make for the perfect opening credits for Jaws 4! You need to first know some shark etiquette for visiting their briny home - or you may find yourself in an underwater faux pas and with a very angry shark host on your hands!
It is only good manners to know a little bit about one's host before you go to their party. On a dive - Bahamas sharks can be quite particular about who they mix with, so it is also useful to know who, and what, to avoid. Before you head off, make sure you research the area of your intended experience. Wherever you go diving, you need to understand the types of sharks that you are likely to encounter, and also a bit about their particular behaviours. Each shark has its own characteristics, so you need to know which sharks are anti- and which ones take a more lax view of human intruders.
Please remember that you are a guest beneath the waves and the shark is the host,on your dive in the Bahamas. Use those manners you learnt from your mother when visiting Aunty Violet - no chasing the host and attempting to extract teeth for souvenirs, or trying to capture the beast and take its body home for shark soup. That really is the height of bad manners and not in the spirit of peaceful coexistence at all!
Watch the Other Natives
Keep an eye on the other marine creatures swimming about their business in the waters below when you are on a dive. Bahamas visitors will soon learn The Bahamian and Caribbean seas are full of a wide variety of underwater life, all of which are 'of' the ocean and, therefore, in tune with the ocean and all who live in it. If they suddenly dive for cover, chances are that something is going to happen in the waters around you - respect the more knowledgeable natives and never assume you know better than they!
You need to learn about the feeding habits of sharks when you go diving in their habitat. There is plenty of marine life that congregates just below the surface - such as sea lions, seals and defenceless injured fish - these lovely treats happen to be the shark's favourite food and it wouldn't pay to get mistaken for one of these delicacies on your dive. Bahamas sharks can be quite insistent when they've settled upon a meal, and don't often take no for an answer; so when diving, aim for the seabed immediately and stay still - sharp movements will put the shark on its guard!
It is never a good idea to simply gatecrash a party on your own when you dive. Bahamas residents will be happy to tell you it is far better etiquette to go with a friend of the host, or someone who knows the rules. If you are new to shark diving, then go on a guided tour, with an expert to help you negotiate the proper way to behave in a shark's home. This is a safer option for all concerned and means you won't upset your shark host to the point where he finds it necessary to try and evict you - or worse!
Of course, although there is an element of truth in all we say, it is mostly tongue in cheek. If you dive with a professional company, listen to your instructors and be respectful of the ocean and all its creatures, your dive with sharks will be completely safe and become one of the most cherished and memorable experiences of your life.
Omar Isaacs is the Marketing Executive for The Bahamas Tourist Board, a tourist organisation that can help you discover the best holidays in The Bahamas. If you're looking for amazing sites for a < a href="http://www.bahamas.co.uk/things-to-do/diving/diving-in-the-bahamas"> dive, Bahamas holidays are the perfect choice. To select and book your ideal dive, Bahamas holidays are just a click away.
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Views expressed in the article are those of the author and are not necessarily the opinions of CaribbeanChoice, its staff or members.