Have you ever wanted to swim with a shark? It sounds kind of crazy, doesn’t it? Maybe at first, but what many people fail to understand is that the majority of sharks are non-aggressive ocean swimmers who just want to live and let live in peace. When it comes to the sharks of the world, only a few species are aggressive and even then, they are not out hunting for you.
The majority of sharks “attacks” are truly accidental. When an aggressive hunter comes across something that is foreign to them, they will often take a bite to try to discover what it is. Once they realize that it isn’t something that they eat, they swim off looking for something more palatable. We are not easily digestible, and therefore not on the menu. The problem is, when a large shark takes a bite out of you, it’s tough to recover. This is why sharks get such a bad rap. Contrary to what Hollywood might have you believe, sharks are not man hunters! They say that curiosity killed the cat; well, curiosity puts the shark into his own world of trouble.
Sharks Lovers Unite!
There are plenty of people in the world who love sharks; in fact, if you are reading this, you are probably one of them! You know that of the 400-plus sharks of the world, the majority are not aggressive. There are plenty of species who are great for observing and diving with. If you have ever been on a shark dive, you know how much fun it can be! If you have always wanted to go on a shark dive, you know what you’re missing out on. But if you’ve never really thought about it, or if you never knew what sharks were the best to dive with, this might give you an opportunity to discover what you need to know to start planning your shark adventure.
The Most Popular Sharks To Swim With And Observe
- The Whale Shark. People get spooked by the size of this shark; they usually average 10 – 12 feet (33 – 40 meters) in length and they can weight up to 15 tons! This might make them scary to look at, but keep in mind that these gentle giants are filter-feeders; though their mouth widths of 3 – 5 feet (1 – 1.5 meters) can be intimidating. But they are harmless and one of the favorites of warm-water divers everywhere.
- The Nurse Shark. These medium sized sharks can get up to 15 feet (4.5 meters) in length and weight up to 300 lbs. (150 kg). What makes them attractive to divers is their bottom feeding nature; they’ll hang out on the ocean floor and wait for a nibble, so they are easy to observe. They are minimally threatening, with very few attacks ever recorded.
- The Sand Shark. Also known as the Sand Tiger Shark, he might look menacing, but he’s really just a peaceful creature. He’s big (10.5 feet, 3.2 meters) and toothy, but he tends to mind his own business in the sea. In fact, there are no unprovoked attacks on record. The Sand Shark is popular for diving with and observing as he is rather inactive during daytime hours, which makes him easy to follow.
- The Caribbean Reef Shark. These sharks are on the smaller side and thus easy to observe without feeling threatened. They usually average 3 feet (10 meters) in length and maybe reach 154 lbs., or 70 kg. As their name suggests, they are popular in the Caribbean, mostly the Bahamas, where people observe them on the shoreline where they prefer to dwell. They are passive sharks when it comes to humans, posing very little threat to observers.
- The Hammerhead Shark. This is quite possible one of the most interesting sharks of the world to look at. The Hammerhead’s appearance (hammer-shaped head with eyes on the very edges) makes him a popular shark for observing. They are found in tropical waters all over the world, but they are at a risk for extinction due to the high price that their fins can bring. We humans are the #1 threat to the Hammerhead.
- The Grey Reef Shark. Another shark who is on the small side, 8 feet (2.5 meters) in length and 77 lbs. (35 kg) in weight, this is one pretty shark to look at. They are popular for divers due to the warm waters that they frequent and the lack of threat to humans. They do take interest in divers, though, and will swim close to satisfy their curiosity. But they often lose interest and swim off quickly.
- The Great White Shark. Put this guy on your bucket list for when you’re feeling up to the task and are ready to see something amazing. Though Great Whites are aggressive hunters, they do not seek out humans for food. When encounters do happen, it’s usually because they Great White believes that a person is a seal or another tasty oceanic morsel. Divers who observe Great Whites are often safe inside a diving cage and they say that getting close to one is pure amazement. People who have had the opportunity to directly observe a Great White say it was the experience of a lifetime.
Don’t let the sensationalism of Hollywood keep you from getting close to one of nature’s most awesome creations. Sharks of the world are amazing! And never forget the old saying: We’re more of a danger to them than they are to us.