Knee-deep in grey shark soup
With five boats in the water, Manta Ray Bay is quite a busy place right now. After all, we take pride in making our guests’ wishes come true. So, if there are divers who really don’t want to dive with sharks or mantas, well, there are always separate dive boats we can rely on.
That holds especially true for SharkSchool following its own agenda. After the shark carroussel at Yap Caverns, the dive at Cabbage Patch that featured an elusive 10-feet silky
shark and the hammerhead expedition, Vertigo was the spot to be.
The first double-tank-dive surely showed my favorite shark place in Yap at its best. At least 25 greys and blacktips hovered off the reef and even on top while the first-timers to Vertigo hardly could believe their eyes. As the animals got used to “their“ divers over the years, they instinctly know that bubbles and humans pose no threat to them. They’re not exactly shy folks. Given the excellent visibility of 120ft, I am sure nobody had any backscatters on the few hundred photos that were shot during the dive. And God knows there were plenty of good opportunities to capture the moment on chip: during more than one hour, sharks were cruising in loose formations from the left to the right and from the right to the left.
“Can’t we do the next dive just here?“ That was pretty much the tenor after the first taste of Vertigo. While the tides was changing and murky water from the lagoon pushed the visibility down to 60ft, everybody was keen to get in the water, especially since Colin brough a some caged tuna heads for special attention. As usual for a responsible baited dive, everybody was assigned a seat on a dead coral on the reef crown in some distance from the bait box, which in the beginning was with Colin. Bringing it down to the reef, he immediately ended up knee-deep in shark soup.
But that’s not anything to distract Colin, who basically is as cool as somebody working a dog pound. The switch was flicked – about 25 sharks shot for the bait box, completely oblivious to the divers. Except for those, who went for a closer look and suddenly found themselves passed by grey sharks that, while being not aggressive at all, somehow always manage to take advantage of people’s blind-spots and never ever seem to hit a diver no matter how close they are. After these dives, it was clear that Vertigo would stay one of the major sites for the practical side to this edition of SharkSchool. It was also a pleasure to learn that lecturer and field researcher Erich Ritter is quite fond of Yap when it comes to events like this, thanks to „few divers, shallow water, plenty of sharks and short boat rides“. It’s too early to confirm yet, but we’re positive that SharkSchool will see another edition in Yap. If you’re interested in joining, we would be certainly happy if you let us know. For more information on the idea and the concept of this great workshop, please see: www.sharkschool.com.
Erich Ritter, PhD, and “Manta Man” Bill Acker