Luisana De la Garza
I’ve always been scared of sharks, so scared that it was almost irrational. I was in Playa del Carmen in Mexico with my family when we went to XCARET located in the Riviera Maya, my siblings were insisting in swimming with dolphins, I wasn’t that into it but said yes. When I arrive at the information desk to schedule a time with the dolphins I saw that they also had swimming with sharks, what happened next was a complete impulse from my part, but without thinking it twice I said to my father, ‘Dad, I want to swim with sharks’ what I saw in his eyes when he looked at me was shock, but he just asked ‘are you sure?’ and this time I stopped to think, what was I doing? I mean sharks were one of my biggest fears, but , I also thought to my self when am I going to get to do this again, so I looked at my dad with the best confident look I have and said ‘YES’.
The time for my swim with the sharks arrived and I begun to get the most nervous I’ve been in my entire life, I was there standing just outside the shark tank, in my bathing suit and this blue fins they made me wear, asking to myself, what have I done? But it was too late to back down, so I waited for the trainer to give me the signal to went in, the trainer was really good at calming my nerves, he told me it was necessary for me to be calmed in order to go in, once I managed to calm myself I went in. It was surreal, seeing the sharks swim around me, they were reef sharks but still. The trainer made me seat on a little step that the pool had and explain a little about the sharks, how are they in danger, why the humans hunt them, the misconceptions of sharks and why we should protect them, it was really interesting, at this point I was seeing the sharks through a different eyes, then all of the sudden the trainer said ‘well time to feed them’ and I was like ‘what?’ and he explain how it was time for me to feed the shark, he then proceed to put the shark in my legs and I just couldn’t believe it, I had a shark in my legs, not a big one but still pretty big, the trainer then gave me a piece of fish and after showing me how to feed it, I fed the shark! I couldn’t believe it but I enjoy it. After this he let me swam with the sharks for about 15 minutes and then it was time to get out.
The experience change the way I looked at sharks and changed my scared for them for a deeply respect for them and the ocean, my next challenge is to swim with white sharks, with the protection necessary of course.