The nearest I’ve been to a shark before this little adventure was watching them through glass at the aquarium. And while I like swimming, I’ve never even snorkeled before, so diving of any sort wasn’t exactly high up on my list of things to try, never mind diving with sharks. I like to be able to put my head above the water, and the nearest I’ve been to any kind of close-up interaction with sea life was feeding stingrays in Orlando and that was many years ago. Yet, here I was, facing the prospect of getting into a tank of sharks with an oxygen tank on my back. I’m all for trying new things! So, here’s how my first experience with sharks went.
My Partner Turned 40
The truth is, it wasn’t really my choice to do this. It was my partner’s birthday and he wanted to do something momentous to mark the occasion. He wanted to dive with sharks. So we got online and we looked for somewhere close by where we could do this. We found an option that was only a couple of hours away from where we live, which seemed perfect.
How We Approached The Trip
We would be taking my partner’s two daughters with us, so we made sure they understood what we would be doing and that they were comfortable with it, and then we watched some videos from visitors who had already done the shark dive before us. We saw mostly young people on the videos, which was a bit off-putting for me. Then we filled in the medical form, and I immediately hit a problem. The form states that if you tick yes to any of the questions, you need a doctor to sign the form to say you are fit to undertake the experience. One of the tick boxes posed the statement: You are over 45. I had to tick it. Forty-five seems pretty young to me, but what do I know about diving? There was a doctor connected to the experience who I was told I could email, but when I did, he promptly replied saying that he no longer worked for the adventure company. So I emailed the team directly, and they told me it was fine and that I didn’t need a doctor’s signature. It was confusing, but I put my trust in the team.
Sometimes Things Don’t Go The Way You Hoped
We made our way to the adventure experience on a windy day. From the moment we walked into the activity center, we realized that this place wasn’t what we’d expected it to be. There was an adventure playground with a couple of climbing walls, the advertised IFly experience was closed, and then there was the shark tank. It was quite small, and we peered inside, wondering what this was going to be like. We were shown through to a waiting area where our instructor collected us. We went into another room where our instructor began going through the safety procedure. It was evident very quickly that he was pushed for time and he kept emphasizing the need to rattle through the safety points as fast as possible. I mentioned I was over 45 and he wafted the point away. I can’t say I was feeling confident. From there he showed us the showers and the lockers and gave us our wetsuits. We got ready and prepared to enter the pool.
What Surprised Me In A Good Way
I liked wearing a wetsuit. I imagined it to be uncomfortable but it wasn’t. I was also happy with the oxygen tank and the breathing apparatus, which I found easy to use. We got into the pool and practiced going underwater. I actually quite liked this, which was a surprise to me as I expected to feel anxious. The sharks themselves were quite docile and not at all intimidating, and I didn’t feel any anxiety about being near them at all.
What Surprised Me In A Bad Way
Unfortunately, our instructor continued to seem stressed and rushed, and he lost patience when my partner’s children didn’t pick things up the first time around. I had expected a bit more time to get the hang of things, considering we’d never done this before. I also expected a more enjoyable atmosphere, but instead it was very tense, and I got the feeling our instructor was under a lot of pressure to hurry so they could get the next group in. Our time in the tank with the sharks was the mere blink of an eye. One of the sharks was sleeping, so we basically walked around the tank and then came back out again.
How I’d Do It Differently
I’d do a bit more research about the facility and perhaps read a few more reviews from people who have done whatever activity I’m considering before. When we checked reviews after, we found lots of people with similar experiences to us, saying it was far too rushed and not the experience they had expected or paid for. I’d also bring up my concerns right there and then. The rushed atmosphere put me off doing this, as I felt I’d be holding everyone up even more, but if I could do it again, I’d be more bold and I’d speak up.
Tips For Someone On The Fence About A New Experience Or Adventure
Do your research. If early indications, like my experience with the doctor, give you pause for thought and make you feel something isn’t quite right, explore that a little more. Make sure you understand what you’ll be doing and what the facility is really like. Don’t just rely on a few photos from their website and a few lines of uplifting text. Look for others to verify this and read the experiences of those people who have already done this. Go into your experience fully prepared and knowledgeable, and with an open mind to learning something new. If it doesn’t work out well, push for a refund. We did this and got most of our money back. Most of all, don’t let one bad experience put you off the activity entirely. If I ever set out to dive with sharks again, I’ll have some experience to take with me, and I’ll make sure the facility we pick is a good one.
Love adventure travel? Read up on: