SWIMMING WITH SHARKS AND RAYS
Yes we did it! We entered the open waters of the Pacific Ocean in the place where more than fifteen sharks and rays were swimming around us. It was one of the most amazing experience so far! Simply unbelievable!
In the north-west part of Moorea, a small island situated close to Tahiti, there is a place where rays and sharks come to shallow waters so close to the beach that you can almost see them from the shore. To look straight into their eyes all you need is your snorkeling mask and a bit of luck.
Advised by our hosts, we rented a kayak, two sets of snorkeling stuff and we paddled to the place where there were already a few people gathering around something in the water. When we came closer it turned out that the rays and sharks were already there.
I felt the strongest hit of adrenaline when I saw the first shark approaching me as close as just two meters. On one hand I knew that they come to this place every day and that they eat fish not people. Yet on the other hand, after watching all the Jaws movies as a kid, I had this perception in my mind that sharks just want to bite your head off.
Surprisingly, after a few minutes I begun to feel relaxed in the water. The rays and sharks were swimming around with their eyes looking savage but also calm in a way. It’s hard to describe. We spent more than half an hour observing them and because we liked it so much we did it again the next day!
It’s fair to say that those animals don’t come to the shallow waters just because they like the area. They swim around so close to people because they know that they will be fed there. It’s been over twenty years since the local people begun feeding the sharks with fish so it’s not just a recent attraction for tourists. I’m not a biologist so I don’t know whether this practice has a negative influence on the environment or not so I will not judge that.