Updated: Oct 28, 2020
Scuba diving changes your life. If you love diving, it captures your imagination and can direct your life. Not is there only the sensation of being underwater, but the plants, animals and landscapes that can be encountered.
Since I learnt to dive, in the UK in 1996 I have been fortunate to dive in many locations around the world: UK, Palau, Egypt, Colombia, Maldives, Saudi Arabia, Sulawesi, Lembah Strait, Bunaken, Myanmar, Thailand, Egypt, Yap, Tobago, Malpelo and intend to explore many more places.
The first shark I dived with was in a tank in the UK with tiger sharks. What I remember most was that the sharks were not at all interested in me. The swam over the top of my head, with the distinctive ragged teeth, without looking at me. It struck me, although this was an amazing experience their disinterest in their surroundings seemed unnatural. At that time I didn't consider the shark's origins, their disinterest became ticked away in my mind as I knew very little how sharks behaved in the oceans, but I instantly had no fear of ever diving with sharks. They did not react in the stereotypical way the media portrays. I am still ambivalent about this experience, my perception of sharks was instantly cemented, possibly to the benefit of shark species but at what cost to the shark?
Eventually, on our diving expeditions, we sort out trying to dive with sharks, taking long, gruelling journeys to reach famous global dive sites. The other journey I was taking was becoming aware of the dangers they faced, as species and as individuals. My MA in Environment, Policy and Society taught me about oceanography, my MA in Anthrozoology taught me how to tell the stories of animals, how humans and sharks shape our planet. These passions, diving, sharks, anthrozoology, the human effect on our planet and my believe that animals have intrinsic value, overlap and the intersection creates a space for my PhD research.