Two sisters were on a journey with their husbands, a fantastic tour of the central atolls of the Maldives and I met them when they came on board with me. A wonderful week of diving in the beautiful tropical water with the wish to dive with mantas. Not only many mantas but also a few whale sharks joined us on our dives that week and although the sisters’ wish had been granted, their greatest adventure had not yet begun.
It was the fifth day of diving and we had done two whale shark dives that morning. Everyone was full and the necessary photos and videos were shared as we made the crossing to the next atoll, called Vaavu. We had a third dive on the program and we started the briefing at 7 am. This dive may be the best dive of the entire trip, even though it doesn’t contain any manta rays or whale sharks. Rode? The intimate meeting with friendly sisters that makes all our guests very enthusiastic every time. After I had briefed the procedures and expectations, Jackie, one of the sisters, approached me. She signed off for the night dive and behind her sister Pauline who did the exact same thing.
Now I always try to motivate people to just dive, in this case it was the best dive of the week so I asked the ladies why she didn’t want to come. It turned out that both women were afraid of sharks, oops that was not the intention. What we do on this dive is find a spot on the reef to sit in the sand together so we can quietly watch the many sister sharks that gather there. And because we’re sitting, these sharks treat us just like they do the reef, crawling and crawling around us. They are friendly and for us completely harmless animals, but the setting of a night dive and that they come so close makes it an unforgettable experience. To persuade the sisters anyway and I don’t like missed opportunities, I suggested ‘if you ladies sit down next to each other and the men each on one side, I’ll hang directly above you, is that an idea?’ Pauline said she was willing to try and persuaded her sister. Still a bit nervous, the ladies got on the dhoni with their men and me to go to the dive site. Some delay, a few more conversations about whether or not, but in the end both ladies jumped into the water. At the front of the group was my colleague Thiti and his rotating diving lamp signaled to follow him. In the meantime a few sister sharks were swimming around us undisturbed and Pauline looked a bit scared so I took her by the hand. I gave her a gentle squeeze and gave her an OK sign, everything was fine. And so we slowly followed Thiti and the rest of the group to a place where we could sit at a depth of about 10 meters in the sand. Pauline and Jackie sat awkwardly and the necessary sand obscured the previously clear view. The men next to it and me right above the ladies just as we had planted, we are ready.
It didn’t take long before I heard the first screaming noises, I looked around and saw a couple of big sharks swimming between our guests. Sister sharks can grow to about 3 meters in length and they mainly live on the bottom. They eat some crab, lobster and small fish and are sandy colored with white eyes. Once on the sand or reef, they really touch everything. Crawl under each other and make a lot of body contact and that makes this dive an enormous experience. They often come against the current in our group and really almost every diver is touched. As if they are young dogs in their nest, a big mess, really fantastic. Of course Pauline and Jackie were a bit hesitant and uncomfortable at first, I thought that would soon pick up. What I didn’t expect is that Pauline held out her hand just as a huge 3 meter pregnant sister turned in front of her. Oops! She touched the shark’s fat belly. Now the sharks don’t shy away from contact as long as you sit, but whether a pregnant shark likes that so much, hmmm big oops? The shark swam slowly, probably not too bad, she turned around and came back. What? Yes she did come back, but this time she just lay on Pauline and Jackie’s lap. And because she is so big, the men also got a good chunk of the shark, hahahaha… fantastic! Pauline and Jacky stroked the sister with circular movements on her big belly, it was really like a golden retriever who willingly shows her belly. Furthermore, the shark really did not move a fin, she had found her place. wow, what an experience, I’ve never seen this before. 30-40 minutes later, when we were about to sit down for a safety stop, Thiti tapped his tank and swung his lamp around, signaling to follow him. Hmmm that fat pregnant shark was still there and really didn’t want to leave. Jackie started to move a bit, but the shark didn’t give a damn. We have to do that safety stop anyway, so I put my hand under the nurse’s head. I pushed gently but that lady just pushes back hahahaha don’t get any crazier.
Finally one of the other guides saw our problem and he also came to the rescue. Together with him and one of the men we managed to lift the heavy shark from Jacky and Pauline’s lap, so that we could finally make our stop with the rest of the group. When we dove back to the dhoni after the stop, we swam through a huge school of sister sharks, the icing on the cake. What a great experience and what a joke with that pregnant lady fully enjoyed that swarming on her so big belly, nice to hear such a wild animal. Not to mention Jackie and Pauline who not only overcame their fear but were given a unique experience. Life can be surprisingly beautiful. Sometimes you just have to face your fears straight in the eye to find the greatest treasures. Life can be surprisingly beautiful. Sometimes you just have to face your fears straight in the eye to find the greatest treasures. Life can be surprisingly beautiful. Sometimes you just have to face your fears straight in the eye to find the greatest treasures.
Love life… Blow bubbles… Anke