Happy Shark Week! As a scuba instructor and shark lover, I hope we can work together to change the negative perceptions around these beautiful and amazing creatures.
My dear friends at Ocean Matters were recently in Utila with a group of students, working with WSORC (the whale shark and oceanic research center). Unfortunately the gentle giants didn't appear while they were there... Hoping the group gets a chance to visit again soon.
There is nothing like swimming next to the largest fish in the sea… They can be 50 feet long. (10 times as tall as me!) It's a magical and humbling experience that will change you.
My sister and I talked my mom into snorkeling with them last summer, and mom's hesitation quickly turned to awe.
They are harmless to people--and virtually anything other than plankton and krill. Their skin is a rich, steel blue-gray with brilliant white spots. Up close, it has the texture of a watercolor painting. Their skin is 4 inches thick, so they are challenging for biologists to study… A little difficult to get a blood sample! If you see one with a tailfin that is longer on top, it means it is a juvenile shark. These guys are powerful enough to travel all the way around the globe.