Scuba diving takes people to a world full of mystery and wonder. Strapping on air tanks and slipping beneath the waves, divers see things and experience thrills that most people can only imagine. It is a world of indescribable beauty. But venturing into the deep can also represent danger.
These scuba divers were returning from an ordinary dive in Belize, preparing to complete their three minute safety stop before climbing back into the boat, when some unexpected visitors arrived. Reef sharks are very new to these waters near San Pedro Belize. Changing climate and ocean currents have brought a change in the animal life. Ten foot Caribbean reef sharks can be cause for concern, especially when one of the divers is towing a tube filled with freshly speared lionfish. Lionfish are an invasive species and divers are strongly urged to remove them from the ocean whenever possible. They have no known predators and they are decimating coral reefs all throughout the Pacific Ocean. But the smell of blood training from the tube is a powerful attractant for this gang of sharks.
While the camera is running, a large male shark swims directly beneath this diver and then abruptly turns and heads straight up at him. Although he is not actually attacking, this is how sharks often attack prey. The diver actually places the camera in between himself and the shark as the shark pokes his nose right onto the diver's groin area. Fortunately, the shark turned and did not have his teeth against the diver and he was unharmed. But this close encounter left the scuba diver with the clear understanding that it was time to leave the water.
The diver with the fish dropped the tube, having attached an inflated buoy so it could be retrieved safely from above after all divers had moved away from it and into the boat.
Scuba divers are well aware that they are the guests in this underwater domain and that improper behaviour here can have serious and immediate consequences.