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Shark Diving's Dark Little Secret

Emma the tiger shark gut checking me. Thankfully I safely pulled out my arm in time.

I have been thinking about this a lot lately. The hiding. We as people who work with sharks and feed sharks, tend to hide, what I guess could be called, the dark little secret of our industry. Which is feeders getting bit by sharks. We (the feeders), hide those things from the general public and only discuss it amongst ourselves. We laugh about it, we give each other firm scoldings when we screw up really bad, and give each other tight hugs, when we know we dodged a big one.

It is the game, within the game, I guess, and now that my son is in this game, it weighs heavily on my mind. I ask myself all the time, why do we hide? It is not like people won't go shark diving anymore? In fact, I think it would help boost sales, because people are crazy like that, especially shark divers. 

I guess, we tell ourselves, it is more to do with the shark's reputation than anything else. We do not want to hurt it, or add to those foolish shark attack files that get used in the media all the time, and allow those sharkfile people (someone very particular in mind on this one), to get airtime as a shark expert and condemn the animals we love so much. 

Every time I am in the water with sharks, I always feel like they are teaching me something new. So if I got bit, it was because I was a slow learner. Thankfully in a 13 year career I have only been bitten 4 times. This is after thousands of feeding dives with tigers, lemons, and many other species of sharks. I have always looked at my scars as reminders, for being a slow learner. But I also feel grateful and blessed to have lived and worked with these sharks so intimately for so many years, and that I am a half-ass good student. 

I guess, in the end we hide it from the public because we love these animals, we know that when we get bit, it is our fault, and we don't want to hurt them, AND we don't want people to think bad about them either. I mean, people who work with dogs everyday, eventually get bit, and those of us who work with sharks do as well. 

It has always been a game of, "It's not if... it 's when". Working with these animals, it will always continue to be that way. So, the next time one of my buddies gets bit, expect to hear - NOTHING about in the news, because, I guess... it will continue to be... our dark little secret.

Thank you for reading and to my buddies out there, love you guys and stay safe.