Watching an encounter with the hammerhead Sharks
In the midst of one of the most shocking situations that the world lived, after the plane crash that destroyed the Twin Towers, the decision was made, this time I would venture to go meet other waters of the world, the Red Sea. The reason needed no words, it certainly is one of the most beautiful sights and it is also, the end of the world, not to mention the history that this place beholds.
Not being accustomed to another kind of life, religion and customs as extreme as the Muslim may be, at first glance can be quiet impressive. Seeing women always covered under their veils is like stepping into a movie very different world from Western life. And so, over time, one begins to empathize and understand more other way of life and cultures.
I always liked the longer trips where life experience is much richer than a simple tourist visit for a couple of weeks, so now I decided to stay in the region for about a year, the Sharm el Sheikh area, one of the most touristic spots of Egypt in the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula, submerged between two large continental land masses that converge. On one hand, the tectonic plates in the Arabic region and, on the other, Africa, which makes these waters, get bigger every year due to the movement of the tectonic plates. These plates have formed the Red Sea; it remains one of the greatest natural zoos of the world. The story behind this place, not to mention the religious importance, such as the exodus of Moses, had in recent years a lot of movement from vessels of World War II, now we can see the underwater shipwreck of Thiselgorm.
In the area where Sharm El Shiek unites, we located the Gulf of Suez, wide and huge, but shallow only 100 m, as well as Gulf Aqaba , it gains up to nearly 2 km in depth, creating strong currents that carry high concentration of nutrients, it is the equivalent of a diverse marine life. Particularly in the Gulf of Aqaba,due to its greater depth, divers know that within the area certain precautions must be taken. There are places where the currents can be strong and pull down the bubbles we release when exhaling, breaking the laws of physics, making it impossible for us to gasp for air. Another interesting fact that I was not used to in the Gulf of Aqaba, for example, is that it has no ground, unlike the Mexican Caribbean Sea, where you can find a 30 meter sea floor, used by the majority of people for recreational diving.
As a videographer, much of the diving idol diving I see through the lens. When I saw some pelagic animal circulating through these waters I wanted to leave recorded tapes. I eventually lost track of my depth; only until my dive computer started to make the call I knew it was time to climb up.
Remember that much of the marine life occurs in the first few meters below the surface, where the natural sunlight helps its reproduction. Here on these walls is where it meets a lot of very colorful species. During the months of July and August several of the large pelagic animals circulate these waters. Several stories of divers began to confirm this, reporting the sight of several species of sharks.
Knowing this, I wanted to be part of these stories and felt the taste and momentum of being underwater as long as possible, I swam for so long that the dive center almost forced me to rest, since I could acquire decompression sickness. However, the excitement I felt to see all this wealth and beauty underwater was bigger than anything, so I dove without interruption for a month, doing three dives a day, all for pleasure.
In order to see these sharks and be part of these fantastic stories, I knew I had to be aware to what happened in the open sea. So one of the best dives of my life arrived when I came to see and record a group of divers, my coworkers to be more precise. We began to swim toward the reef wall that they had been enjoying. Suddenly, a few minutes into the dive, we achieved to perceive a series of dots moving in the dark, unable to figure out what it could be.
As I turned on the video camera again, I fixed my eye to the lens, not turning the gaze back to the wall or the group of divers, I thought we were all seeing the same thing. My heart began to beat strongly as we began to get closer and closer to these spots coming to a wall parallel to me. I soon realized that I had before me one of the opportunities that many divers want to experience in life: I was swimming with a school of hammerhead sharks. For general amazement, I couldn’t believe it, many feelings crossed my being. I felt the excitement of such a majestic event and, on the other hand, I cannot deny that there was also a tinge of fear of being lost in the blue, in average, about 50 or 60 sharks could be count seen. At such times one loses consciousness of its surroundings and cannot think of anything else but to try to take the best pictures of the event. I had never seen so many sharks together. Sphyenidae is very unique and impressive; their shape makes them very special and different from the rest. It is believed that the uniqueness of his head is due to the improvement in their peripheral vision, which allows them to see almost 360 degrees in a vertical position, at the same time it gives them stability. Although it may appear hammer head sharks like to often be alone, they usually are in large congregations. There I was, trying to get into the middle of one of them.
Text: Alejandro Elizondo ± Photo: Valentina Cuchiara y Alejandro Elizondo