Peter Schneider’s First Shark Dive in Yap
Here I am, at the Manta Ray Bay Resort on the island of Yap in the Pacific region known as Micronesia. After a long journey from French Polynesia, my video equipment and I have arrived safely. I had just enough time to set up my diving and video equipment, when Yap Divers announced a Shark Dive. Yessss, I thought …that is the right way to start my new job as a photo/video pro at Manta Visions. I was very excited to meet up with the local shark population for the first time and was wondering how many sharks we will see and how close I can get to them. You know, …I have done more than a thousand shark dives before and honestly I thought it will be hard to impress me.
So how was it, you ask?
As a warm-up Bill Acker, owner/operator of the resort, brought down a basket of fish carcasses and placed it in a crevice in the coral at a depth of 10 meters (30+ feet). The sharks, mostly grey reef sharks with a few blacktip reef sharks in the midst, smelled the bait but couldn’t get it. They stayed really cool and the divers, …among them several photographers, had time to find a good place for taking their desired pictures. The less experienced divers got time to get used to the presence of the sharks. I started to love them from the first minute. It was really easy to get close and they almost posed for us. My camera was rolling and rolling, …didn’t dare switch it off so I would not miss a scene. It was just beautiful, the light was perfect and the water extremely clear.
After 10 minutes or so Bill, with the help of a couple of the Yap Diver’s dive guides, brought down a large ball of frozen chum attached to a line and float so that the “chumcicle” stayed in mid-water. This time the sharks got a bit more excited as they could actually get to the food source. Still, the entire feed was very controlled and the sharks were just interested in the chum and ignored the divers. Ok, ok, …some sharks were a little more interested in cameras and strobes but isn’t that what we were looking for? “Come a little closer baby …..c’mon gimme a smile …” and they did!
To get the feeling you have to be here of course, …even the best pictures cannot make up for the real thing. So I hope to see you in Yap soon so I can introduce you to my new friends.