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Meet the Bull Sharks

Aktualisiert: 5. Nov. 2023

The real reason I went to Mexico was actually to photograph the fauna and flora in freshwater cavern areas far away from the ocean. Here in the jungle, there are colorful cichlids, tooth carp, catfish and tetrasa, all of which we know from our native aquariums, as well as blind cave fish and turtles. But I was drawn to the ocean when I was given the opportunity by a small group of adventurous divers to swim with bull sharks.

On the way to the dive site hardly anyone spoke. We wanted to swim with the stacky sharks without cages or a bait box. Bull sharks are considered one the most dangerous species of sharks, along with tiger sharks and great whites. They top the statistics for shark attack. The well-known shark researcher Dr. Erich Ritter lost a part of his leg due a bull shark attack. It wasn't too late to back down yet.

I dropped from the boat backwards into the water. Immediately I looked down and could see already the first sharks circling under the boat. My heart was pounding. They weren't just any little reef sharks, but really big ones. The distance from the surface to the seabed was about 20 meters. I was following our diving guide Geraldine. The 25-year-old Frenchwoman was accompanied by a Mexican guide who was supposed to give us back-up so that we could fully concentrate on the sharks. His job was to make sure that no shark could to sneak on behind us.

The bull sharks swam leisurely and occasionally disappeared in the blue of the sea. There was no need for them to rush down here. That was their territory. Suddenly a "bull" swam right at me. I held still and felt like a rabbit caught in the headlights. My heart was pounding. Once again. The shark slipped right by me. I had the feeling that I could almost stroke him, he had come so close.

I never experienced such spectacular diving encounters as I did here on the Mexican Caribbean coast near Playa del Carmen. It was much more natural than the Great White Shark Diving in South Africa, where I was protected in a cage among fish litter in cold, murky water as I waited for the sharks.

After an hour, our diminishing oxygen supplies forced us to surface.

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