August 30, 2011

Waltzing with sharks

It happened during a trip to the very south of Egyptian Red Sea. I was invited to the Andromeda liveaboard and our organizer said we would reach even the Abu Fendera area. Somewhere near the St. John's we saw the first turtle, then came the first shark- a typical reef shark which didn't come closer than 20 meters and swam away very soon. As we suspected, they were afraid of us. The Abu Fendera was a little bit disappointing but the weather was even worse. Huge waves- it's OK in the Red Sea. But raining? We were shocked. No, it's not true as we only glanced to the dive platform and the clouds and tried to hold firmly the bed because our boat danced like a fool on the angry sea.

It was more frightening than dangerous so we luckily arrived back to the St John's. After some awesome dives we anchored near a small reef where we saw dolphins, a manta ray, a lot of fish. While we were finishing our dive we spotted some familiar silhouettes under the boat. Sharks! A group of oceanic whitetip sharks circled around us. These sharks are really reckless, we made some nice shots. We decided to stay in the shallow, very close to the dive boat during the second dive and hoped to see the sharks again. Well, we did. An hour long floating in the big blue amongst a half dozen (less? more?) sharks. They came close. I mean really close- they touched the photographers' strobes! They swam near, above, below us, disappeared somewhere and in a few seconds the same or another shark headed to us again. It wasn't an experience for the weak hearted divers. We were insane enough to stay with them. It was an extraordinary, amazing dive. But certainly we knew it's a little bit dangerous. So when I felt something grabbed my leg firmly I turned back faster than an acrobat. Luckily I saw only a laughing dive buddy, he was the only predator this time. As usual, he made the best photos but all of us were able to the some really spectacular shots. For me this dive brought an award in video snapshot category in the Beneath The Sea competition.

The article continued here.

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