101 Things To Do*

* before I die

Animal Watching

Swim with Sharks

photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

I first did this one by accident.  I thought I would have to go to a lot of trouble to find a place where I could swim with sharks in relative safety - possibly with supervision by an expert in the behavior of sharks - all for a rather high price, of course.

Instead, I encountered these notorious creatures while swimming in a cove on the island of Koh Tao in Thailand.  Even though the locals assured us (me and Kumiko) that it was safe, my instincts were telling me I should head for the beach as quickly as possible.

But I didn't get attacked - not even a nibble.  In fact, they didn't even come all that close.  Most likely, they were as fearful of us as we were of them - though it is very difficult for me to reconcile that thought with the inherent fear I felt while I was in the water.

Later in my travels, during my visit to the Philippine Islands, I did pay good money to dive with sharks - and it was an incredible experience indeed.  On several dives, I saw white-tipped reef sharks (photo above) - one from as close as two meters.  But at Malapascua Island, I made a dive down to the appropriately named Shark Point and got to see thresher sharks.  They were about three meters in length with a long tail fin trailing behind as they moved gracefully through the water about five meters below us.  It was one time when I really wished I had an underwater camera.