FREEDIVING WITH TIGER SHARKS – The very thought of diving with sharks will have most people quaking in their boots. The idea of swimming with one of the oceans most effective killing machines is not something many would consider to be an ideal way to spend the day out.
For Lesley Rochat; known as the ‘shark warrior’, such an adventure is considered completely normal and she doesn’t see any problem with it.
It is true that since Steven Spielberg launch the movie ‘Jaws’ many people have the idea that something is lurking in the ocean depths just waiting for us to dip a toe or two in the water.
The fact is, it is simply a myth that sharks actively seek out and hunt humans; we really aren’t the preferred meal.
I’ve been an avid recreational diver for years and I still vividly remember the first time I came face to face with the perceived killer of the deep.
My encounter was with a Nurse Shark, a relatively harmless variety of shark. After getting over my initial shock, which only lasted a few seconds, I was in complete awe.
You have to be there to fully appreciate how powerful and graceful a shark is. Within a blink of an eye the shark flipped its tail and disappeared into the dark. I stayed put hoping and praying it would return and my patience paid off some minutes later.
I spent the next 15 minutes in the company of this incredible shark and I can tell you that I’ve never experience anything so thrilling.
The truth is that sharks are being hunted at an extraordinary rate; in some cases as a food source but in others out of pure fear and Lesley Rochat wants to change our perceptions of sharks.
The sharks that Lesley Rochat is diving with, in these sets of photographs, are Tiger sharks. Tiger sharks are known to be highly aggressive and are considered one of the world’s most deadly spiciest.
As a freediver, Lesley Rochat, doesn’t use any scuba gear so there’s little or no air bubbles to disturb or spook the sharks that she swims with.
With just a bikini and fins Lesley Rochat certainly makes herself vulnerable but as these photographs clearly show Tiger sharks are not the ravenous man eaters that they are often depicted as.
These incredible photographs were shot off Tiger Beach, South Africa, and clearly show that Lesley Rochat is able to interact with the Tiger shark.
Currently Lesley Rochat runs an organization AfriOceans which is designed to educate people not to kill sharks and that shark nets are often not the answer to protecting swimmers as they often get caught up in them and die.
Eco tourism is quite a big thing in South Africa and yet the income from which is derived from such activities is under threat as Tiger shark populations begin to heavily decline.
Lesley Rochat pointed out that the so-call ‘shark nets’ or ‘swimmer safety nets’ are not just having an impact on the number of Tiger sharks being killed but are also responsible for the deaths of dolphins and turtles.