In the kingdom of the blue sharks
Blue, everything is blue. Light blue where the sun beams penetrate the surface a few meters above me to dark, almost black blue when I look down. Out of sight but down there, at about 1000 meters, is the sea floor. The next coast 12 nautical miles away. Here I am, in the middle of a giant ocean, breathing a bit nervous through my regulator which makes me sound like Darth Vader. The air I’m exhaling ascends forming little bubbles which look like silver marbles. Starring into the infinity in front of my I can’t see nothing. Or maybe yes? Did I just see a shadow of something about 25 meters in front of me or was it just my imagination playing tricks on me?
Early in the morning we prepare carefully our diving equipment before loading it on the boat that is waiting for us. We leave the habour of Horta in Fajal bounding south west towards the open ocean. On board nine divers and a big box full of sardines and tuna. Baits to lure blue sharks. Nobody is talking a lot, everybody is lost in their own thoughts. We are going to dive where most of us would just want to get out of the water.
Here I am, floating in the middle of this big blue and the shadows I guessed in front of me are taking shape. And then I can see it clearly. A shark is coming directly towards me and only a few meters in front of me it turns to avoid a collision. His black eye looking at me I can see its elegant, slim silhouette. The white on the inferior part of its body turning into a blueish grey towards the upper part and ending in a black spot on the tips of its dorsal fin. Sun beams entering the water like rays of a laser gun, illuminating the shark, rebounding from its skin turning the scene into a light show in blue. In only a few minutes more sharks arrive. Shy at the beginning they are circling around the group of divers, but soon they are getting more confident. Every round they do come closer and a few of them end up bumping softly into the lens of my camera. When they do I keep my breath and time stands still for a second. But in any moment their behavior seems aggressive. It looks like they are just as interested in us as we are in them. They are no thread, I don’t feel afraid, the myth of the men eating beast is just that: A myth.
The ambient in the boat on our way back to the habour is very different to the one on our way out. Everyone’s telling to the others exited what they have witnessed as if the others had not been there. To make this perfect experience even more exiting we do spot a sperm whale. Just ten meters in front of us it dives into the deep ocean which one more time showed us some of its wonders today.
If you would like to read some more exiting stories related to the sea and marine life check out my post from the birth of 80 sea turtles I witnessed in Fuerteventura.