In January, I stumbled upon a video on YouTube where the guy was not only diving with sharks, he was also hand feeding them. It was one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen and knew I had to experience it. Eleven months later, Elaine and I were on a plane to Cancun.

Today, at 14:30, I found myself on a beach in Playa Del Carmen where I met up with the rest of the team from Aquaworld, got our briefing, geared up and headed out to sea. On the boat, the dive master went through the dive plan one more time to ensure the entire group knows exactly what to do (and what not to do), checked our gear and then gave us the ‘all clear’.  At 15:15, we splashed into clear warm water, descending 25 metres to the bottom.

The Bull sharks that visit the Playa Del Carmen area are up to 9 feet (2.7 metres) long and weigh up to 550 pounds (250 kilograms). Most of these sharks are pregnant females that come into the Mangrove Forest of the Yucatan Peninsula to give birth between December and March. It’s the only time of year that we can dive with these amazing creatures.

The descend was the freakiest part of the dive as you can see all the sharks circling the ocean floor. When the entire group was in position, the shark feeder pulled out a bloody snack for sharks. I know that it’s hard to believe, but the bubbles from our regulators are quite noisy in the water, so the sharks don’t immediately approach the feeder as they don’t yet know who or what we are. It’s only about 2 minutes later when the first shark comes around to take a bloody piece of fish from feeder’s hand. As the first shark swims around, another shark approaches our group and takes a snack from feeder. It was amazing to see these sharks in their natural habitat – so powerful and intimidating, yet moving around so seamless and peaceful. Laying down on the ocean floor with 15 – 20 Bull sharks swimming around me was an incredible feeling.

After 30 minutes on the bottom, we got the signal from the dive master to return to the boat and we started our ascend. A sea turtle and stingray also passed us by on the way up and some of the shark followed us for more snacks. We did our safety (decompression) stop at 5 metres for 3 minutes and broke the surface moments later.

A MASSIVE bucket list item – CHECK!
Video to follow.