Baby shark closely investigate scuba divers
Papua New Guinea has some of the most breath taking scuba diving in the world. By day, it is a colorful world full of beautiful animals and endless coral. By night, it is equally beautiful, and far more mysterious. Some of the creatures that are seen in the day become active hunters at night, moving swiftly, and with purpose over the reef in search of food. Sharks are among those who become more active after the sun has gone down.
These scuba divers have been taken to a remote dive site in the middle of Kimbe Bay, far from land. Volcanic eruptions long ago have created rock and lava upwellings that have become populated with coral and sponges. These animals, in turn, create food and habitat for thousands of other creatures and a delicate web of life exists on these reefs. The divers are on a luxury liveaboard vessel, The FeBrina and they are being guided into this dark world by experienced dive masters.
Exploring the reef at night is thrilling and intimidating at the same time. Knowing that humans are guests in this domain, the divers are cautious and respectful. They use lights to navigate and explore. The lights make the divers very visible to animals with keen senses and some are even attracted to the lights. This juvenile silvertip reef shark is one of those creatures. Understanding that small fish congregate around bright lights, the shark knows that there is an opportunity for a meal. Either due to curiosity or hunger, he darts in and out, almost bumping into the divers as he checks them out. Easily making his way through the water, a few rapid tail strokes can bring him right to the divers or put him far away in the blink of an eye. Sharks are rarely a danger to humans who are not threatening, and small sharks even less so. These divers were thrilled to see such a beautiful animal up close, but his behavior was a reminder of just how swift and agile sharks can be. In comparison, humans are clumsy and slow in this domain.
Humans must always remember when they enter the ocean that all animals have a means of defending themselves and that improper behavior here can have serious and immediate consequences.