Padbury Senior Highschool dive with sharks
Contributed by mlehmann
Boss, I really want to take 12 kids diving with about 16 sharks" is not
a good request in the days following a tragic attack at the Abrolhos (and the
request to take a group there later in the year is a completely different issue!!),
and the request being granted was an even larger surprise.
12 qualified SCUBA students put their fast beating hearts into a wetsuit and
plunged into the 3 million litres of salt water with seven species of sharks,
including the scary looking but endangered and harmless grey nurse, and the
super fast moving black tip reef sharks. The poor sighted turtles made the girls
put their hair into buns in case they were mistaken for jellyfish, which is
a common food. The 40 metre by 20 metre tank is 4.5 metres deep and has over
a hundred species of fish living in it.
Some students were very keen to see the sharks up close but wouldn't have expected to get within centimetres at times. Some were keener to find the frequently
lost, but hard to see, shark teeth that can be found in the sand at the bottom
of the tank. Crossing the tunnel is the underwater equivalent of a zebra crossing,
with sharks, rays and turtles having right of way. Our divemaster, Ben, was
there to act as crossing attendant, whilst the dry observers beneath looked
on from below, looking like goldfish in a bowl to the divers.
The divers (Charlotte Chadwick, Grant Welch, Brooke McDonald, Renay Wynyard,
Mahala Blakely, Rylan Blair, Ryan Hilton, Michael Blakely, Stephen Brice, Kody
Manning, Danielle Edge and Rosie Tupper) along with the teachers ( Mark Lehmann,
John Sherriffs, Michael Mann and Matt Radburnd) will remember what is an awesome
opportunity. Having completed their SCUBA certificates last year, and having
dived in some other spectacular locations, all as part of the schools marine
studies programme, is an opportunity that around another 50 students are waiting
to be able to do in 2005. The 40 minute dive went to quickly for the students
and staff, but another opportunity may arise later in the year.