Maldives – I’m sure we all have seen the photos. Those little paradise like islands, white sandy beaches, sunshine, crystal clear waters.. Not many people can say it does not sound like a piece of paradise we’d love to experience sometime. Maldives must be a dream destination for many. But, if I told you that those clear blue waters were bustling with sharks, would you still dream of dipping yourself in the waters?
When I say sharks, many people absolutely freak out. Some instantly say they do not want to be anywhere near a place where there might be sharks and I’m pretty sure those who already have been to Maldives now start thinking – surely not on our beach waters? Yep, most likely there were sharks very near you, several times.
I spent a week in the Maldives on a liveaboard, diving around different atolls, seeing several resorts on the way. The sites varied, the things we saw varied, but there was something in common with all the dives. You probably guess by now – the sharks. On every single dive of the 16 dips we did during the week I saw a shark. Actually, sharks, often tens of them. On a night dive a shark even came so close to me that it hit me with its tail fin while swimming by.
So – 16 dives, over a hundred sharks, mostly on reefs very near the resorts. Should you be scared? No. You should not. Out of the 16 dives we did, on only one we saw a shark that causes a potential threat to humans – and even that is dangerous on very rare occasions. Actually, no shark attacks were reported around Maldives last year according to this map.
Sharks are heavily demonized by media, they are described aggressive, threatening and dangerous. Sure, that goes for one or two sharks out of a thousand while the others remain out of sight and not interested of humans at all. With this logic, if we think all sharks are dangerous we could say all people in my home town are murderers just because of a few homicides a year are done. And I’m living in Finland – one of the most safest countries in the world.
Actually, the funny thing is that sharks are considered dangerous even if they kill only a few people each year, mostly surfers who the sharks mistakenly think are something else than people. Still, selfies are ok, even though they are causing many more deaths than sharks. So, with this logic I should probably freak out and run away screaming every time I see someone taking a selfie?
As you can see on the video below, seeing sharks in the wild can be pretty relaxed. Even if they come close, they are not threatening and you really need not to be scared – that is, of course unless you are told to be scared, as despite the fact that most are not dangerous, there are a few wackos here and there and you should trust the locals.
Diving around the Maldives was a truly wonderful experience and for me, spending a week on a boat diving all through the week was the best way to experience the paradise like waters, blow the bubbles and watch natures own tv. Every shark, every turtle and every fish I saw made me feel extremely happy. Not once was I scared because of the sharks and neither should you. If you want to be scared because of the sharks, I’d recommend to be scared because the whole species is endangered and that is not good for the sharks, not for you and not for me. If you are interested in finding out why, I suggest you take a look at this article for a start.