As divers, we love them, yet far too many members of the general public are gripped by an irrational fear of these magnificent, graceful, yet misunderstood creatures.
It is all too easy to say the bad reputation of sharks is the lasting legacy of 1970s blockbuster movie Jaws, but alas, I feel the blame lies with sectors of the mainstream media, who unfairly give huge coverage to shark attacks, while often completely failing to report on injuries or fatalities caused by other wild animals, such as hippo, crocodiles, elephants and the like. Even when these incidents are reported, they never get the same amount of front-page headlines.
The truth of the matter is that shark attacks are extremely rare, and among some of the more-intriguing statistics out there is the fact that you are more likely to die from a falling coconut, lightning strike, cows, horses, falling out of bed and even vending machines than you are from a shark bite. Considering the millions of people who venture into the world’s oceans on a regular basis, there were only 72 unprovoked attacks - ten resulting in fatalities - in 2013, according to the International Shark Attack File.
Instead of fearing these beautiful creatures, we should be seeking them out, as an in-water encounter with a shark is among the most breath-taking, awe-inspiring and humbling things you can do. Divers actively seek them out, and below you will find ten of the world’s best shark-diving locations.
Sport Diver is the official magazine of the PADI Diving Society, and available monthly via subscription and in newsagents. Check out: www.sportdiver.co.uk
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