One of the biggest apprehensions about moving to the coast for my wife was a long-held fear of sharks. ‘What if they adapted to land and came for us in our home? I read online that land sharks are a real threat, so it must be true.’ As a young girl she saw the movie Jaws and that kicked off a lifetime of fear, simply out of a lack of understanding and experience. For our entire relationship she’s refused to dive with me, to conquer this fear of the great apex predator. That was, until this year. I’ve finally convinced her that she needs to beat this silly phobia of the water and get an understanding of these beautiful death machines. Obviously I didn’t refer to them in such a manner in front of her, would probably exasperate things a little… I promised her it would be under the safest possible circumstances and that I’d lay my life down for her should things turn bad quickly, and by that I of course meant I’d throw her under the proverbial bus.
I did a little research and decided the best experience was the one offered by Underwater World: Sealife in Mooloolaba. Their Shark Dive Xtreme experience was the complete package in the safest possible environment, with sharks that were a little more used to human contact, which would hopefully make for a stress-free first time for my little lady. The package included all training, equipment and half an hour in the tank with all matter of shark, ray and fish species – a nice easy transition into the water. She agreed, I booked our places and we headed off to face the beasts.
We arrived and began our training and briefings. She took to diving like a champ and quickly got a handle on it all. Soon it was time for our group to get into the big tank. The poor thing froze, with just ankles in the water. I held her hand and with the help of staff began to gently coax her into the water. To our surprise, my amusement and my lovely wife’s embarrassment, a little old lady who must have been edging out seventy simply pushed past with a soft ‘Sorry dear, some of us don’t have all the time in the world…’ and plopped herself right in without any fear or hesitation. Needless to say I was pretty impressed with the elderly lady’s gumption, and luckily it was enough to get my wife motivated enough to hop in.
Once we were all in the water we stuck close to each other, always holding hands as I lead her gently around and showed her how to interact with different sea life. She was in love with the majesty of the rays and the colourful beauty of the fish life that swarmed around us. It wasn’t until her entire lithe frame was engulfed in a massive shadow that the fear bubbled to the surface. I held her hand tight and placed myself between the two, placing a gentle hand on its flank to show her that there was no reason to fear. Judging by her body language she instantly relaxed, but still wasn’t game enough to get so close. We floated gently just above the floor of the tank watching the beautiful creatures carve their way, with surgical precision, through the water, their large dull eyes taking little notice of us, instead preferring to keep a watchful eye out for staff that might have a snack for them.
After leaving the water my sweet wife was ecstatic over the experience. She loved it and hugged me, the staff and the little old lady. All and all the experience was fantastic, a great way to conquer fears, or to dip your toe into the world of scuba – I may have a new partner for my next reef dive, maybe. For more information of the Shark Dive Xtreme package see the Underwater World Sea life Mooloolaba website – I highly recommend it.