My life and perspective was forever changed after a study abroad trip to Bimini Biological Field Station (aka the Shark Lab) in Bimini, Bahamas back in 2008. On this trip we were exposed in the open water with nurse sharks, lemon sharks, grey reef sharks, a baby tiger shark, and a 12 foot tiger shark. While learning about these magnificent creatures each morning, we spent each afternoon swimming in the warm Bahamian waters with the sharks uncaged and unrestricted.
It was truly incredible to be face to face with these strong animals with such a bad rep only to realize...they want nothing to do with humans. In these crystal clear waters they could see us for what we were...not food. All of these images were taken with a disposable camera with no zoom...so we were this up close and personal with the sharks. Never did I feel fear after understanding the sharks more and more each day. Yes, they are powerful and strong with instincts like other animals, such as dogs, but in the end they just don't go around hunting humans. It is a misconception and when incidents do happen it is a mistake due to mistaken identity or murky water situations where a shark cannot see, but can sense a heartbeat.
I have begun to dedicate part of my life's goal and journey to exposing the misunderstanding of these creatures because they are so deeply important to the health of the ocean which is incredibly important to the planet and us!!!! Humans need the ocean and everything in it, but most of the time we are unaware of the damage we do daily to the planet that sustains us. If I can spread any message, it would be to educate yourself on the importance of sharks and the sea and stand with the rest of us shark loving folk and fight against shark culling and shark fin soup... for the sake of all of us and this beautiful amazing planet we call home.