One of the biggest privileges about having a voice is being able to use it for those who do not have one. Those who may appear scary regardless of what expression they try and convey. Those who are, above all, important. Not only important to those who love them, but to the health of the ocean, something every single one of us depends on. Despite looking for them on dives hundreds of times and even having the opportunity two years ago to dive in a marine protected area that a recent study dubbed the “sharkiest” place on earth, it has been four years since I last saw a live tiger shark and today I got to see four. I don’t know how to put this morning into words, but I can try. I’m a scaredy cat and I’m not a risk taker. Swimming with sharks has absolutely never been some sort of adrenaline seeking experience for me. I used to be so terrified of these animals until I saw them with my own eyes, and now being surrounded by them is surprisingly calming. Sharks have survived five mass extinctions, but they might not survive us. And yet somehow we’re the ones that are terrified of them? Why? Because the rare shark bite makes a great news story and an even better horror film? Honestly, a scarier horror film to me is a one where sharks cease to exist. Not because I love them, but because the removal of sharks from an ecosystem can cause biodiversity to plummet and even create dead zones, areas with such low levels of oxygen that the majority of marine life can no longer survive there. That’s because sharks both directly and indirectly affect everything below them in the food chain, even the phytoplankton that produces the oxygen WE breathe. They’re apex predators and animals that deserve to be treated with respect yes, but they are in no way monsters and are insanely IMPORTANT.
Thank you so much @oceanramsey @juansharks of the @oneoceandiving @oneoceanresearch team for letting me join you today on a dive. You two have taught me so much in and out of the water and this morning was absolutely magical. Still pretty sure it was only a dream!
Photo by @oceanramsey of me and tiger shark Moana in @xcelwomens x @oneoceandesigns and my @cressi1946 gear :).