Diving with sharks – fish & chips anyone?

Written by Customer Experience Champion Kate Samways

What a way to start our adventure as RedBallooners!

Last week, three RedBalloon “newbies” and two “oldies” embarked on a pretty unique (alright, I’ll admit it… terrifying!) experience – Shark Diving! We waved goodbye to the rest of the office, doing our best to hide any hint of nerves. As we left, our boss asked that we return without any limbs missing as she didn’t want to lose three new staff members.

We were very well prepared before heading into the tank. We had our first run through with an instructor, and then it was off to the training room where we watched a video to reinforce what he had already told us. The instructor pressed play on the DVD and the first scene featured music from the movie “Jaws”. It was meant to be funny, but I wasn’t laughing quite yet! Luckily they changed the music and I soon calmed down.

We then headed down to the change area and got suited up. I was very impressed I had four layers of wet suit on, so even if the shark had tried to bite me, they wouldn’t have reached my limbs straight away (turns out I didn’t need to worry, but it was still reassuring!). After we had all our gear on, we jumped into the tank to practice everything we had learnt. After a nice long session underwater in the practice tank, my nerves disappeared and I felt more comfortable with the scuba equipment.

It was then into the real tank where we ran straight into a sting ray “resting” on the sand – we were ushered around him as we didn’t want to make him angry by accidentally stepping on him. The instructors then directed us towards the southern end of the tank where we soon came face to face with the sharks. We climbed over the walkway one by one and stood on the glass – the perfect place to not get in anyone’s way (sharks, turtles and fish), as well as a great spot for photos – both from inside the tank and outside where we had an audience.

While I wasn’t as scared as I expected, I will admit that when the first shark swam past me (literally about 30cm away from my face), I screamed so loudly inside my head. Thank goodness I didn’t literally scream or my mouth piece would have fallen out! It didn’t take long before we got used to the sharks swimming by and started posing for photos. Having never been scuba diving before, I would highly recommend it as a perfect introduction. For my first time, I felt safer in a tank then I think I would in the deep blue sea. The sharks were intimidating at first but soon became the background in our photos. For the past week I have been showing off and telling everyone I have been diving with sharks – a once in a lifetime opportunity!

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