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The Gap Year Blog

Once Upon A Whitetip - Into The Wild Blog - Frontier

18 Jan 2018 09:55 AM

Every dive here at Beqa we do surveys, each dive site has its own unique, captivating marine life and coral species to be mesmerised by. This week, as with every other we went to wreck, only this week, wreck gave me a gift greater than any other visit there in my almost three months here.

Upon descent, we all noticed something different, it didn’t quite feel the same as previous visits, this time there was a murky look and an eerie feel to the water. That’s when Ty spotted a white tip and immediately signalled to me that there was a shark.

At the same size as me, a magnificent 1.7 metre female, there she was in all of her glory, swimming peacefully, and at times, opening her mouth to feed, an incredibly rare occurrence to witness. After a few minutes we all knew we had to swim away to lay our transect lines and start our surveys, you could tell that we all hoped to come across her again before beginning our ascent.

With the reel laid at my favourite rod, and the okay signal to my buddy, off I went to start my invertebrate survey. With my heart still pounding in my chest with the excitement and fear of seeing a shark as big as I am, I pass my favourite rock with the usual suspects lurking to say hello. Although today the Anthias and other species seem a little more reserved and on edge. With part one of my survey complete, I cautiously kick to part two and begin surverying. A giant clam later and there she was, a mere meter away from me lay on the ocean floor. That beautiful white tip quite literally a kick or two away, with my heart racing I turn on my camera to snap a pic or two for the memory box and of course to note down details for our shark data.

As our eyes meet, she starts to swim towards me and my proximity level of comfort is starting to be tested, I fin backwards as she turns to swim directly over my transect line and take cover under branching coral before swimming off into the deep blue. In that moment when our eyes met, I felt so alone and small but more so I felt and still feel so privileged to be able to share moments like these with such an incredible species which people have so many misconceptions about. As a scuba diver I’m lucky enough to be able to share an hour or so in such an incredible environment that very few can understand until they experience it for themselves. I can’t wait to head back to wreck and descend again in the hopes that I get to see that white tip or any other shark that wish to call it home again because dives like those are what make marine conservation and diving worthwhile.

By Ruth Woolley - Frontier Volunteer | Fiji Marine Conservation and Diving

Frontier runs terrestrial & marine conservation, community, teaching and adventure projects in over 50 countries - join us and explore the world!