Even though we future moms are very careful, I still swam with sharks in my sixth month of pregnancy.
Already on the second day of being in the Maldives, during my exploratory walk, which I usually do the very first day, I stumbled across three giant sharks that were feeding on fish. The scene wasn’t exactly romantic; the violent tearing of fish flesh and blood all around them, and half of their giant bodies sticking out of the water because they got stranded in the shallows when feeding had made my blood run cold, and I was certain that I would not be stepping into the sea here again.
By coincidence I then met an experienced diving guide only a few meters away, when I was leaving the feeding site, and I got into a pleasant and very interesting conversation about dolphins, whose brains never sleep, wonderful sea turtles, which completely charmed me, the Maldivian incredibly diverse underwater world, as well as numerous sharks. There is no shortage of those and we can differentiate between as many as 350 different species.
I quickly learned that most species aren’t dangerous, how you can distinguish between them, and about the hard-rooted fear instilled in us by the media and the film industry with wrong information about sharks. The myth that sharks attack and eat people was created throughout history with big help from the Hollywood film industry. But in all honesty, the possibility of being run over by a car, hit by lightning or bitten by a dog is a lot greater than the possibility of being attacked by a shark.
What’s even more interesting is that sharks are crucial for the marine ecosystem, because they feed on the sick and weak inhabitants of the seas and as such maintain a suitably sized population of the healthy and the strongest. If sharks weren’t there, certain species of sea animals could reproduce excessively and consequently disturb the balance of the ecosystem. But unfortunately because of commercial fishing, our ignorance that leads to fear, and the general opinion that sharks are only a big nuisance, their populations decrease from year to year. Fishermen kill between 30 and 100 million sharks every year, which is why eighty percent of sharks are threatened by extinction that will end up influencing us as well.
The very next day, I was determined to surrender to the beauties of the Indian Ocean and swim together with sharks. The feeling of swimming alongside them is still weird at the beginning, but then you realize that they are extremely careful as well and prefer to swim away.
You learn an important lesson: fear is the consequence of ignorance, but as long as you live and let live, you will live a beautiful life.