Last week I went on a trip with my family to the gorgeous Guadalupe Island in Ensenada where I had the opportunity to dive with white sharks for the entire week.
I had dived with bull sharks before and was feeling very confident about getting in the water with the most famous type of shark but what I didn’t realize is that I would learn so much from these amazing creatures in the process.
So here are the 6 lessons I learned from swimming with white sharks:
1. White sharks are everywhere! Almost…
I always imagined that white sharks would only like to live in a really deep and freezing cold waters, but it turns out that they live and hunt on the coast of every continent in the world except Antarctica.
But it is true that they have preferred spots to swim around! Most of the world’s Great White Sharks live off the coast of Dyer Island, in South Africa, this area is also referred to as “Shark Alley.”
Don’t worry though! Even if they like to swim around everywhere you won’t find them swimming close to shore as they do prefer to live in cooler waters that have temperatures ranging from 54-75° Fahrenheit.
2. Great White sharks are very old
I had no idea White sharks have been around the earth for as long as they have.
Early fossil records show that Great White Sharks have been swimming in Earth’s oceans for around 16 million years, though some scientists believe they may be much older.
They are also believe to grow old! Their life expectancy is actually around 70 years.
3. They are late bloomers
I kind of always thought that sharks, like a lot of animals, reproduced from an early age, but it turns out that this assumption was dead wrong.
White Sharks take up to 10 years to reach sexual maturity which means they don’t reproduce fast enough to combat the terrible fishing practices that kill them every year.
4. Great White Sharks are basically X-men
White Sharks have super powers! Well, sort of.
Sharks have six senses: Sight, smell, touch, taste, hearing, and electroreception. Their sense of smell is so good they can detect the scent of blood in the water from up to three miles away. They also use electromagnetic fields to feel vibrations in the water of potential prey and in close range, they can even sense the heartbeat of immobile prey.
So they definitely heard my heart pounding when I went into the water with them!
5. We need to protect them from us
Even though they suffer from a terrible reputation, sharks really need protection from us.
There is no exact number but it’s estimated that almost 100 million sharks are being killed each year, with fishing rates outstripping the ability of populations to recover.
This means White Sharks and all other species of sharks are in grave danger. There worst part? If we don’t do something about it, their extinction could mean the collapse of the food chain in all oceans.
In case that doesn’t seem too important to you, remember that if the ocean’s food chain collapses we are also affected greatly.
6. I can’t wait to get into the water with them again
I didn’t have a set expectation when I went into the ocean to dive with sharks but I once I did it I knew this was an experience I will need to relive.
I was left baffled and compelled by these giants of the ocean. They are magnificent, elegant and misunderstood creatures that require our attention and love.
I honestly can’t wait to get into the water with them again!
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