I was kindly invited to Shark Dive Xtreme at SEA LIFE Sunshine Coast to ‘test the water’ prior to opening to the public from 10th December 2020. And I couldn’t recommend it more!
The dive was led by the superb instructor Tayla, as it is a cage-less dive, she clearly put our safety first!
The small group was mixed in terms of diving experience – the majority having no prior experience. They do ask if you are 14 years+ and can carry a large weight though.
After a practice in the test pool (without sharks) and learning to use the dive equipment, I was eager to go!
Any nerves quickly dissipated once the shark dive was underway, it was incredibly calming underwater, being submerged with these majestic marine creatures.
We got to stay by the entrance/ exit and get used to our surroundings for the first five or so minutes. With Tayla and the team continually checking in with us, we were able to fully enjoy this stunning underworld world, all the animals busy in their everyday underwater lives whilst we were still and relaxed.
I couldn’t believe the size of a Black Fantail Ray that was playing in the corner! They said that the sealife was bigger in real life, compared to viewing them under the aquarium’s Ocean Tunnel, and it was very true!
After a little walk around, a Grouper (appropriately named Galiath at nearly 300kg) swam 30cm in front of me! Apparently he is one of the most friendly fish there and often likes to say hello up close.
A tranquil Tawny Nurse Shark was having a rest and we knelt down to have a photo taken next to him. He didn’t move once, we even had to step over him to get to the other side!
The most jaw-dropping part of it had to be when one of three, enormous Grey Nurse Sharks, hovered in the water just above eye level (staring right at me!). The angle at which he did so really showed off those impressively sharp teeth! Being so close wasn’t frightening, more it gave a better insight into their world, and made me feel like I’d just misunderstood him all these years.
Once up at the surface, everyone was all smiles. What a unique and extraordinary experience it was! How incredible is it that we have this on our doorstep?
I had dived AND survived (they gave me a certificate afterwards stating so!).
From whom does a shark ask for gifts from this Christmas? Santa Jaws! So why not ask Santa Claus for jaw-some tickets today! I’d go again for sure, to visit my new shark friends.