DESTIN, Fla. (WGNO) – Few things can turn fun into fear like a shark sighting at the beach.
Last week, a man was bitten on the foot by a shark near Destin, Florida. Earlier in the month, aerial video showed dozens of sharks swimming off Pensacola. Last month, a similar crowd of sharks was seen near Orange Beach, Alabama.
“They are there every year. Mark your calendar. They’re there every year,” said Cindy Caldwell from her business in Metairie, Harry’s Dive Shop. Caldwell has been a SCUBA diver since she was ten-years-old. In 1992, she made her first diving trip to swim with sharks, rather than avoid them.
She says sharing the water with sharks doesn’t have to be dangerous as long as you understand that you’re in their house.
“Yield to them and just sit back and watch. Keep your hands to yourself. Use a camera. Don’t chase them. And enjoy.”
If that sounds like something that’s easier said than done, Caldwell confesses that she’s had her own shark scares, like during a dive at night.
“And it came out of the dark and surprised me. So I got out of the water soon there after, and that was the end of that dive.”
Caldwell urges anyone who wants to intentionally go into the water and swim with sharks to make sure they have an experienced diver with them.