Well, it sounds extreme, although once you visit Phantom Divers in Playa Del Carmen, take their training video, and listen carefully to their dive briefing (like never before), some of your fears will be dispelled. Phantom Divers will outline some very strict diving rules - they do not want any incidents, and this is not just to protect you as a diver, but to protect these beautiful sharks they love so much. When a shark incident happens, the community outcry has government authorities calling for the deaths of these animals, and fishermen viciously attack and kill in retaliation. So you follow the rules. They have never had an incident, and they wish to keep it that way.
Phantom Divers and other shark loving divers all over the world hope to bring these beautiful encounters to us, so that we may all come to love these animals and join the fight to protect them, and their environment.
What Will Happen?
After watching the video and listening to a comprehensive dive briefing at the dive shop, you will make your way to the boat. It is a 2 minute boat ride to the location, and the dive site is at 80-85 feet.
The safety divers will be focussing on shark and diver safety, but will not be able to help new divers with mask clearing, etc. For this reason, divers must be advanced and experienced.
Everyone will gear up and do a back roll entry into the water - AT THE SAME TIME. Divers descend TOGETHER in a group. Anyone having trouble equalizing may have to return to the boat (no refunds). Once reaching the spot, divers will line up shoulder to shoulder on the bottom, flat on their tummies. Legs should also remain flat down. Arms must be kept close to the body - hold on to the rope (sometimes there is some current). Begin recording your video and enjoy the show!
From January to mid-February, these bull sharks are fat mamas that will soon disappear from the Playa Del Carmen area to have their babies. They are so big! They WILL swim close to you as they come and go from the feeding area. If they are too close for your comfort, exhale to shoo them away. They are afraid of our bubbles.
How did it feel? Miraculous. It felt like an amazing experience that most human beings on Earth never get to know. I trembled throughout the dive. It was overwhelming. It was incredible. They are so big. So beautiful. Just...WOW.
Saving Our Sharks
$5 from each diver signing up for this adventure goes to the "Saving Our Sharks" organization. Saving Our Sharks (NPO) was formed in June 2010 by a group of concerned friends that wished to do something in order to protect and conserve our environment.
Their first initiative is a Research Project focussing on Elasmobranch's, specifically migratory Carcharhinus leucas (Bull Sharks) in the Mayan Riviera of Mexico. Their goal is to study the population in order to determine their genetic background, health and whether they are being succesful.
Their movements will be tracked over time to better understand their migration patterns in order to protect and conserve the critical habitats they use for mating and birthing.
Thank you to Jorge Loria of Phantom Divers for allowing us to use his beautiful photos in this post!
Phantom Divers' Video taped our experience here: