Galapagos Sharks at Molokini

by Michael J. McGuire

Ok.  This blog is not about drinking water.  As I noted in my original post in July, I would share things that interest me.  Scuba diving is one of the things that I love.

I have been diving since 1973.  As I am fond of saying to the dive masters that lead some of my dives:  “I have swim fins that are older than you are.”  I have been diving all over the world–wrecks off of New Jersey, California Channel Islands, Italy, Cozumel, Sea of Cortez, U.S. Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Great Barrier Reef and Fiji–but some of the best diving is right off of Maui, Hawaii.  The water is warm and the visibility is usually excellent.

Off of Maui, I have been diving with Ed Robinson’s Diving Adventures for many years.  They are highly professional and know all of the great spots.  Today, we got lucky.  Molokini Crater is one of their favorite dive locations.  It is a sunken caldera out in the middle of a channel with lots of sea life on-site and plenty of larger animals that visit.  The backside of Molokini is amazing with a wall that goes from the surface to 300 feet of depth.  Sometimes, the men in gray suits will show up.

We were swimming in a group of 14 in about 50 feet of water when I noticed something going on behind and below me.  Four large sharks were swimming around.  Fortunately, I had my SeaLife camera that can take both stills and video.  I switched it to video and started after the sharks.  What was I thinking, you ask?  Well, I was not thinking at all.  These animals were so amazing.  All I wanted to do was capture them on video.  I did not notice that none of the other divers were following me.

I got over a minute of really good video with the sharks passing about 6 feet away from me at one point.  I did a little happy dance and started shouting underwater.  When I got back to the boat, one of the dive masters told me that they were not the docile Gray Reef Sharks that I thought.  They were Galapagos sharks.  Here is what Wikipedia says about this species of shark:

“Inquisitive and persistent, the Galapagos shark is regarded as dangerous to humans and diving unprotected is not advisable in areas where they are abundant. They are known to approach close to swimmers, showing interest in swim fins or hands, and are drawn in large numbers by fishing activities.”

I wish that I had read Wikipedia before I started chasing them with my camera.  Ah, well.  It was a spectacular dive and one that will provide memories for a long time.  Check out the video:




About safedrinkingwaterdotcom

McGuire is an environmental engineer and writer. He has worked in the drinking water community for over 40 yrs
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