Diving with Whitetips
By Amanda Cotton
We asked seven inspirational divers, environmentalists, and ocean advocates to act as Fin Collection ‘shark ambassadors’, celebrating their work and their special connection with sharks and with the ocean. Amanda represents the Oceanic Shark.
Unquestionably one of the most graceful and fearless sharks encountered by divers, the oceanic whitetip, is a marvel of the ocean. Their smooth, methodic movement through the water is unwavering as they pass by, unfazed by the presence of divers and boats alike. Strikingly handsome with wide elongated pectoral fins, dappled in white over bronze, and ending in bright white patches, these sharks are instantly recognizable. Their slow, yet bold and deliberate movement through the water announces their arrival.
As they approach, a diver may easily feel intimidated by the sheer confidence emitting from them. To be in their presence feels like winning a lottery, since as with many pelagic marine animals, interactions with them are few and far between. There are only a handful of locations around the world divers are privileged enough to occasionally encounter this breathtaking species.
Photo: A diver in the Bahamas stretches to photograph an oceanic as it passes by.
The oceanic whitetip’s reputation precedes it. For as long as fisherman and sailors have been moving across the seas harrowing tales of this species have circulated. Whether this reputation is deserved or embellished this shark deserves respect, certainly as is the case with any intelligent apex predator.
As much as those who encounter oceanic whitetip sharks should keep their wits about them, this species is dived with without incident on a regular basis. Destinations in the Bahamas and the Rea Sea have divers flocking to them in order to encounter this mesmerizing species. The experience of being in the water with this shark is like no other. Their beauty, grace and power are quite evident as they swim about.
Photo: Curious by nature, these sharks often come in close to divers at the surface.
Diving with an oceanic whitetip is full of excitement, as one would expect, diving with multiple oceanic whitetip sharks at the same time is an astounding and eye-opening experience. Often times in the Bahamas divers find themselves in the water with ten or more oceanic whitetip sharks; circling towards and around divers, moving above and below, and coming in close proximity without fear. It is an enchanting show to watch, hearkening participants to focus, all the while distracting with such a remarkable scene playing out in front of them.
Photo: A diver in the Bahamas photographs a solo oceanic whitetip shark as it swims by.
“Sadly, oceanic whiteip sharks, like many other marine life species, are threatened by ocean pollution, ghost netting, and overfishing. This majestic species, along with other pelagic animals, continues to suffer at the hands of humans. As apex predators they play an immensely important role in the naturally occurring food chain of the sea. Therefore it is imperative we work to protect, not only this species, but also the environment it calls home, the open ocean.”.
Photo: Two oceanics swimming close together in unison as they move around the dive site.
OceanPositive Oceanic Swimsuit
The Oceanic has a sport back with a deep V-crossover front and a medium leg which will suit all body shapes. The bold colour and block styling makes this suit an instant classic.
Photo credits: Amanda Cotton