After learning that I was going to be living in Honolulu, Hawaii for three months, everyone was fully expecting my Instagram game to be fire. I began researching the adventures, hikes, and ~beachy~ activities that I did not want to miss. After some Instagram stalking, I found pictures of people swimming in the ocean with sharks. Just in the ocean. Casually. With sharks. No cage.
At first, I thought, “Lol nope. Zero chance.” But then I thought about it some more. And then I googled it. Apparently, sharks are not interested in eating humans. Humans are friends, not food. In the immediate moment after reading a very persuasive article about the safety of sharks, I booked a tour with Hawaii Adventure Diving.
I immediately and continuously questioned my impulse purchase. Because the tour was prepaid and I am a college student on a budget, there was no turning back. On the morning of the tour, I woke up early, tried not to think, and took the bus to the North Shore of Oahu.
As I nervously awaited for the ship to depart, I began chatting with the other three people that had purchased a tour to swim with sharks. They were all members of the military who wanted to do something “insane” before they were deployed. They questioned me, “What’s your reason?”
As we took a 20 minute boat ride of of Haleiwa’s harbor, the long haired dive master named Drew gave us the low down. He explained that sharks have no interest in biting humans. He explained that sharks only bite humans when they aren’t sure what they are and are taking an “exploratory bite”. Drew then instructed to look at the sharks in the eye so they don’t need to take exploratory bites. Drew said all of this with a straight face.
When the boat was stopped and Drew had scoped out the ocean, I hopped in wearing a swimsuit and snorkel gear. I stuck my face in the water and immediately saw three Galapagos sharks. I stared in amazement at the sharks and all of the sea life around me. Drew swam closer to the sharks and it became clear to me that they could care less about all the humans around them.
All the fear in my body subsided, I worked to get a good selfie shot with a shark using a GoPro and couldn’t believe that I was actually in the open water with sharks. Drew did a great job of ensuring everyone got to see the sharks, barracudas, and other animals that were around. He also communicated with the captain of our boat to turn the engine off and on to attract more sharks. As much as I enjoyed the experience, I was also the first person back on the boat and was glad the experience was over.
If you want to have a sick photo that all of your friends and family will call you crazy for, swimming with sharks is definitely for you. The tour taught me that sharks are incredibly misunderstood and gave me the chance to explore their world.
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