Going shark diving in Roatan is by referral only. You can only make reservation through the dive shop you do your “daily” dives with, and who, it is implied, will screen appropriate bait, ehh I mean diving skills! :-) . On the day of the shark dive, our dive shop shuttle took us to a little dingy hotel in Coxen Hole, behind which Waihuka Adventure Diving, who runs the shark dive is located. 9 divers from various resorts were gathered for the briefing of our dive, including couple of kids, where a well-choreographed event was reviewed, with much emphasis on adherence to the rules and DM instructions. Staying at 75 feet for 30 min on a ledge on the “wall” with strong currents and lots of big Caribbean reef sharks is not for the anxious, novice diver, though one doesn’t have to be that experienced, either, just current with some diving experience and basic buoyancy control, comfortable following pretty strict instructions and comfortable in the knowledge that sharks just don’t like divers in general and bubbles in particular, and thus are safe to be around as long as you don’t do something stupid.
After a 10 min boat ride to the Wall, we anchored and did a back-flip entry, immediately swimming to the line attached to the mooring, as the current surely was pretty strong. Following the rope down to the ledge at 75 feet the DM placed the divers in 2 rows, the taller standing up against a reef wall and the smaller kneeling in front. The DM then started to clang, and an increasing number of 5-9 foot reef sharks appeared and circled the chum-bucket placed about 12 feet from the divers with lid still sealed. The number of circling sharks increased to 15-20 (with a huge black grouper providing comic relief by getting so close to the divers and allow them to pet it (allowed, though no petting of the sharks even though they are close enough so you could). When the max number of sharks appeared (all females), the DM indicated that it was now OK for the divers to swim with/among them. And swim with them we did, with sharks on all sides, within a foot, gorgeous creatures to be so close to, very cool!!. After about 5 min of swimming we were directed back to our position up against the reef wall at which point the DM took the lid off the chum bucket starting a classic shark feeding frenzy that no matter how you twist and turn it, is nothing but astounding!. After some amazing scenes around the chum bucket, the sharks started to disappear. The divers were allowed a few minutes to scour for shark teeth with the DM/DM assistants being very helpful so that basically all of us go a shark tooth souvenir. With that, it was time to ascend. And due time it was, as our computer told us that we only had ~5min left before going in to DC mode (at that time 30 min at 75 feet). Exciting without problems with the help of several DM helpers on the boat after proper safety stop, and everyone was counting fingers and reveling about the dive meeting expectations on the way in. A professional videographer shot what turned out to be a great 18m video which was shown within minutes of getting off the boat and subsequently sold for $40. Even though my dive buddy shot a great Go-Video of the whole shebang, I decided to buy it as it was high quality and did catch in a professional way the very unique experience of literally diving with the huge sharks.
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