At 8:00 am we meet at the dive centre. We divide all 22 participants into two teams. One team takes the boat with Dr. Erich Ritter, whereas the other team starts the free-diving course with Chris in the pool.
During the 40 minute drive we are given our first instructions: Please don’t touch the sharks! If the food basket is hanging in the water please don’t approach nearer than one meter. That’s all! We can’t wait.
Eight of us are divers, three are snorkelers. We divers meet beneath the boat at the seabed 12 metres deep. The sharks have already greeted us at the water surface and they go down with us. And stay with us, as dogs do. When we are all together they stay close to us. When we swim away from each other the sharks spread out too. There are 16 Caribbean reef sharks, 1.20 to 2.50 metres in length. The females, which can be recognised by their missing claspers, are the biggest and strongest built there. The sharks circle us curiously but don’t show excessive interest. Finally the food basket with fish heads is lowered towards us and fixed just above the ground. The sharks become more active, swim to the food basket and try to reach the food. Their full attention is on the food basket, not on us. Some other fish are interested in the food too and a huge cluster of sharks, snappers, groupers and mackerels is forming.
After one hour the air supply is exhausted and we ascend slowly. Our pack of hounds, pardon, pack of sharks, follows too, of course, and swims with us at the water surface, so that the snorkelers also have the chance to experience some shark behaviour. We are completely awed and surprised by the sharks’ peaceful behaviour towards us.
We continue to drive into shallow water and the sharks follow the boat. There we snorkel with the sharks behind the boat. But I’ll tell you about this tomorrow, as well as about Erich Ritter’s lecture. Otherwise it would be too much at once. Watch this space…