29 April, 2008

Diving with Sharks in The Big Mango (aka Bangkok)

I just could not believe it when I looked at the date of my last log entry!! It read 18 November 2007 – Tulamben – Bali – Indonesia… A streak of minor ailments, a series of business travels and the relocation from Hong Kong to Bangkok have kept me out of the water for five months!! Living in the heart of the Big Mango (aka Bangkok) there are only two possibilities for diving and I decided that I should postpone the thrill of emulating Mr. Carlos Barrios, the expert sewer diver of Mexico City and possibly the man holding one of the worst jobs in the world!! Instead, I opted to book myself for a Dive with the Sharks experience at Siam Ocean World bang in the centre of town.

I booked the dive through Planet Scuba, the only diving operator certified to operate these dives.

I met with Khun Num, my dive guide, at 09:30 am at Siam Ocean World and got a good tour of the “back stage” sporting my Shark Diver visitor pass. Only Giant Groupers but no Groupies!! Most interesting!

The the moment I had been waiting for! The large tank ranges in depth between 3 to 5 meters and is populated by a large variety of fish but the real stars are 20 or more sharks. Primarily Sand Tiger Sharks (aka Ragged Tooth Shark) but with a number of Leopard Sharks, Black Tip Sharks, Nurse Sharks and Rays to complement the scene.

Diving by and over the glass tunnels and walls seeing wide-eyed visitors staring at you from the other side is a surreal experience especially when used to diving in the open sea. Having a three meter shark swimming by your face and giving you the eye can be slightly intimidating and generates a lot of awe for these beautiful animals.

Certainly this will go down in my list of memorable dives!

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