A routine cleaning dive at the Dubai Aquarium demonstrates an important lesson to be learned about aggressive shark behavior.
While it can be debated if the divers avoided a shark attack. An examination of the sequence of events tells the story. Fortunately it was captured on video.
Below is the sequence of events. These events lead us to believe that these divers avoided an imminent shark attack.
Sequence of events indicating aggressive shark behavior:
Between the 5:03 and 5:10 mark the shark is noticed eating a fish in the distance. This is VERY unusual given that the sharks are fed daily and their diet is carefully monitored. They normally have no interest in other fish, which are not part of their preferred diet.
at 5:14, 5:15 and 5:18 the shark is noticed snapping its jaws (again, small details like these you get to notice if you dive often with them). Then, the abnormally-close proximity of its first pass from the moment we make contact at 5:23.
At this point, if the shark had just swam away, it would have been fine. However the dorsal kick at 5:34 to start circling me is a red flag, and potentially indicative of predatory behavior. The second pass at 5:51 is incredibly uncomfortable because it happens in a tight space, and the shark could feel trapped and react hostilely.
After that, at 6:43, not only does the shark comes back for a third and then fourth pass, but a second shark joins in as well. This is an unhealthy buildup of tension and at this point, the right call was to abort the dive and clear the aquarium. It could have been fine perhaps, but safety is paramount and we didn’t want to take chances, which was the professional thing to do.
The description of how these divers were able to discern aggressive shark behavior is very useful. Use this information to improve your understanding of shark behavior. You never know, just in case you find yourself in a similar situation.
BTW – Tank cleaning looks like hard work .. I wonder how long it takes to clean a tank of that size?
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