Diving with the sharks.DUBAI Hanging out with around deadly 50 sharks and stingrays is not really my idea of fun. But that's just what I did on Wednesday at Atlantis The Palm, which is showcasing their 'Sharks Safari'.
The night prior, I was mulling over the fact that I'll be an arm's length away from razor sharp jaws and sting rays. On the drive to the world-famous resort, I was in two minds whether or not to take the plunge.
When I finally saw the 11 million litre LITRE. A French measure of capacity. It is of the size of a decimetre, or one-tenth part of a cubic metre. It is equal to 61.028 cubic inches. Vide Measure. tank for the first time and realised how big it is, I recoiled in panic. Thankfully, my panic eased a bit when I spotted Oliver Clark, a photographer colleague, swimming effortlessly and just waiting for the perfect underwater moments with the thousands of marine creatures.
He posed next to passing Black Tip Reef Sharks as someone took snaps of him on the dry side of the tank. Shortly afterwards, Maraika Van Wessem, our gracious hostess and the hotel's PR manager, welcomed us alongside the hotel's exhibits manager Robert Bennett Robert Bennett or Bob Bennett is the name of:
Bennett explained the safety procedures and breathing gear setup. We were told the helmet will pump three times as much oxygen underwater as a normal person would breathe above it. This would keep the water below one's chin the whole time, since the helmet is actually open. When I first heard Robert explain that the strapless strap·less
Having no strap or straps, as a dress or an undergarment.
A garment having no strap or straps.
Adjective weight to kept the helmet from floating weighed 32 kg, all I could think of was 'I'm definitely going to sink'. Before getting into the water, I signed a waiver stating the resort is not liable in case of injury or death. It sounded scary. Each one had to take a mandatory diving safety session, too. But the presence of a dive leader was reassuring. Another staff went over the sign language for underwater communication. For example, pointing up means you need to get to the surface; holding your palm open towards the dive leader means you want to stop to look at something.
That done, I geared up to get into the water. It was shockingly cold at first. With just my head bobbing over the water, I put on the helmet and slowly sank to the down.
The deeper I went, the warmer it became. And the weight actually felt light -- the weight goes down to about 6kg underwater.
As soon as I touched the base of the five-metre tank, the dive leader welcomed me, gesturing if I was okay. I was, but I just couldn't move. It took me a minute or two to adjust to the helmet's weight. With a little help, I started moving. Then a sting ray n. 1. Any one of numerous rays of the family
Past tense of swim.
the past tense of swim
swam swim right over my head. Exotic fish were all over.
Then I started to walk comfortably around the 90 feet x 45 feet wide acrylic tank. Just then, I noticed three white-tip sharks. Absurdly enough, they seemed to be asleep, since no amount of action seemed to bother them.
As I explored another side, cuttlefish cuttlefish, common name applied to cephalopod mollusks that have 10 tentacles, or arms, 8 of which have muscular suction cups on their inner surface and 2 that are longer and can shoot out for grasping prey, and a reduced internal shell enbedded in the enveloping and sting rays came into view -- moving effortlessly around with an array of 65,000 other exotic marine creatures endemic to Gulf waters.
I went from a mix of excitement and fear to a guarded sort of bliss: The creatures I dreaded so much didn't seem so menacing. To say it was a superlative experience getting so close to these marine animals is probably an understatement. It was so unusually quiet underwater that one could actually see and think without the usual distractions.
During those exhilarating minutes, one sees a different view of life with great clarity in a sort of liquid contemplation. Leaving the water, I felt much lighter -- almost at peace. The blood rush came back as soon as I thought of the deadline for my pending stories. I fully intend for a repeat performance as soon as I can.
Each dive hosts four guests
Sessions from 11am to 4pm.
Cost: Dh275 per head
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