When I first started as a dive guide I was amazed at the disrespectful and inconsiderate behavior of many divers on board. It cannot be the case that divers travel to special places to see nature and then just destroy everything during the dive. And really as a guide you see the most amazing things, as I recently dived with Michael, a relatively experienced diver who travels to all corners of the world.
We are on our way to Daedalus reef in the middle of the Red Sea to look for hammerhead sharks. These striking sharks can often be found on this reef at depth and if you are lucky you get to meet them in large numbers. You can of course defy that luck if you know what these elegant animals react to. It is also useful because Daedalus is huge and only diving blue water without seeing anything is not funny especially as we dive here to meet the hammerhead shark.
Hammerheads like currents, cool water and tranquility so we take the zodiac to the north of Daedalus where the currents hit the reef. Because hammerhead sharks are very sensitive to sound and movement, and the leader often comes first to see if it is safe to raise the school, I use a special technique to attract the sharks to us. I descend to 40 meters and I ask my group of divers to stay at 30 above me. We do this while we swim slightly away from the reef and continuously look for the current. And then it is a matter of waiting as relaxed as possible in the hope that the leader will come. It is very important to stay calm, not to swim after anything or anyone and not to use flash. Because if that leader finds us relaxed and respectful enough, he’ll descend and will bring up the school of hammerheads for us.
Once at the northern tip with the zodiac I roll back to check the current and bingo it hits the reef exactly where I rolled into it and I go up to pick up the other divers. They roll into the water and together we descend towards the blue water while I occasionally blow out a bubble of air while on my back to see where the current is going. At 40 meters I look back and see my group just above me and I start my dance. Diving back and forth in circles in the current, long elegant quiet strokes as I search the depths in search of that first hammerhead, a meditation to the music of mother nature. I see a line that has the same movement as the hammer and I know the leader is coming. I tap 1x on my tank, point in the depth and plant a fist against both my temples and shout in my mind ‘HAMMERHEAAAAD!!!!!’ My group follows me closely and they immediately realize that something is coming, great! It is always nice if you as a guide find what we are seeking and that is not always easy in the wild and I get relaxed and happy as my eye follows the hammerhead shark. We dance around each other as the shark rises before it descends again. For me these moments are wonderful, I really feel super relaxed and at peace and blessed because it worked.. until I get a heart attack!
In the corner of my eye I see something appear on the right, my heart skipped a beat, a bit blurry at first, but then it turns out to be a stick. The worst invention ever! A selfie stick! I turn around startled and look Michael straight into his mask and he smiles and gives me an ok sign. What?!? So if you are 40 meters deep trying to find sharks, Michael comes up with the idea to take a selfie of me and him hahahaha, what a special guy. A lot of commotion and unfortunately that is exactly what these hammerhead sharks are very sensitive to. The leader immediately turns around and dives into the depths with a big stroke of his tail, ‘we won’t see him again’ flashes through my head, too bad. Now this was the first dive on Daedalus and we have a few more to go so hopefully we find the school of Hammers. Michael? Well, the group will of course tell him that this is not a smart action. He just wanted to take a nice picture and didn’t think too much while I was shocked, just not ideal and certainly not at 40 meters while we search for sharks. Not to mention that you need a large camera setup to shoot a decent photo at 40 meters. We talked about it, we all learned something from it and ended up making a joke out of it, where several guests started to make selvies on the stupitest places on a dive. And the Hammers? Well lucky us we met them in their full glory on Daedalus reef.
Love life… Blow bubbles…