Snorkelling with Sharks at SEA LIFE Blackpool
Swimming trunks – check, underwater camera – check, nerves of steal – ummmm that remains to be seen!
I arrived at SEA LIFE Blackpool and was greeted by Mike who talked through what to expect from the experience. We headed to the changing rooms to ‘Get ready for the dive of your life’, donned my wet suits and headed up to the top of the ocean tank.
There before me was 500,000 litres of water at a temperature of 25°C. The calm surface of the water was broken by the dorsal fin from one of the 20 sharks that call this tank home. Snorkels and masks on and I was ready to descend into the cage. The water was colder than I thought it might be, but soon warmed up as I dived beneath the surface to get a look.
It took a little while to get used to my surroundings, but found the handy grab-ropes fastened to the bottom of the 6ft deep cage were useful to hold myself under the surface and get a good look around. Once under the water, the only sound I could hear was my heart racing…whether this was from breathing through the snorkel or that a Black Tip Reef Shark just swam in front of me I’m not quite sure!
Although I had a snorkel, it was great fun to take a deep breath and pull myself down to the bottom of the cage and really take in the surroundings. As well as the many sharks, tropical fish swam nearby including Mono and Golden Trevallies.
It’s a really odd sensation to be invading the space of the graceful creatures, and they truly are that. The Reef sharks were particularly active as was Barnaby the Bowmouth – they are fully used to having people in the tank as the SEA LIFE staff dive regular to clean and maintain the tank as well as put on demonstrations for visitors, so our presence could have gone unnoticed, however they seemed keen to swim close by us and let us glimpse their beauty.
The 15 minutes was up way too soon, I could’ve spent hours in there. It really was an experience I’ll never forget and would recommend it to anyone!