Large reef shark cruises close to divers looking for food
Caribbean Reef Sharks are generally not aggressive or dangerous to divers, but the appearance of a nine foot long beast made of muscle and teeth can be unnerving to even the most seasoned of divers. This group of scuba divers was on a wall dive near the famous Blue Hole in Belize. The current in this location carries divers along slowly as they explore a vertical coral face on a drop that plummets thousands of feet straight down. The ocean life is spectacular and varied. Fish thrive here and people are likely see eels and turtles as well.
A more rare sight is the Reef Shark but sightings are becoming more common here as water temperature slowly increases and food in other areas of the ocean declines.
These sharks are surprisingly unafraid of the divers, even swimming in between and around them. None of their behavior suggests that the divers are in danger but the close contact is concerning. It does not take much to change curiosity to aggression because sharks are always hungry and always willing to compete for food.
These divers were not the only group in the water and it became apparent after the dive that the group ahead was spearing lionfish and actually feeding the sharks. This practice is highly inadvisable because it encourages sharks to come too close to humans. It is more likely that a bite would occur by accident than intentionally, but blood in the water would trigger a feeding frenzy. There were other Reef Sharks nearby and two large Bull Sharks made a few passes as well. Bull Sharks are much more aggressive and unpredictable than Caribbean Reef Sharks.
In this case, the divers continued their dive but they remained vertical, tried to face the sharks as much as possible and they closed their group in to minimize the risk.
This is a good example of divers making unwise choices that indirectly put others, and even the sharks, at risk.