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Diving With Sharks At Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium in Tacoma, Wa

It's been a while since I went diving. It's been even longer since I went diving with sharks at the Florida Aquarium in Tampa Bay, FL.

Diving with sharks is probably a must-do experience on every diver's Bucket List !

It affords a uniquely intimate interaction with one of the sea’s most beautiful, elusive and charismatic forms of wildlife. But it is also an experience fraught with potential danger.

Each year, increasing numbers of recreational divers seek out opportunities to swim in the company of sharks. For some divers, the encounter represents an exciting photo opportunity, for others, a rare chance to meet a totemic creature face-to-face. It is difficult to know what a shark makes of such encounters, but it’s probably safe to say that the animal imagines no deeply spiritual connection between itself and its human admirers. The famous Jacques Cousteau once said, "The only predictable thing about sharks is that they are unpredictable".

While there are ways to see these beautiful creatures in their natural habitat, nowadays many aquariums around the country offer an amazing opportunity to take a dive with some of our planet's most amazing apex predators and gain a new appreciation for their important role in oceans around the world.

"Eye-To-Eye With Sharks" program at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium in Tacoma, Wa  provides a unique opportunity for certified and non-certified divers to come face-to-face with live sharks!

The "Eye-To-Eye With Sharks" program makes you the star of the show and dispels the commonly held myth that sharks are man-eaters. The program educates, inspires and facilitates a greater understanding of these amazing animals through a personal interactive experience!

You'll experience the heart-pumping thrill of getting up close to more than a dozen massive sharks. During a 20 min presentation, you'll learn about sharks, their biology, the challenges they face in the wild, and how you can help save them.

Then, comes the most exciting part of the program - diving !

If you're a certified diver, age 15+,  you'll dive right into the Aquarium's largest tank ! The South Pacific Aquarium features dozens of brightly colored tropical fish swimming in the 24,000-gallon Lagoon exhibit. Dive deeper as you explore the Blue Hole, where fish peek at you from their hiding places. Come face-to-face with five species of sharks as they explore their 240,000-gallon Outer Reef environment.

For non-certified divers, age 8+,  The Cage Dive offers adventure seekers to descend into a cage with a respirator for breathing to see all of the underwater action. You will stand underwater in the cage with a trained diver as a guide. You will wear a specially designed dry suit that zips over your street clothes and seals out water. No need to bring a swim suit!

The aquarium launched  "Eye-To-Eye With Sharks" program to engage people in the wonderment and beauty of sharks. At the end of their experience, divers head home with more than their memories -- they get a souvenir towel and perhaps some shark's teeth off the sandy floor of the tank. And the aquarium hopes they also carry the message of shark conservation out the door with them.

Through this program, the visitors and divers spread the word of conservation and pledge to protect them. The program teaches the young and old, in and out of the water, about the things they can do as individuals to make a difference:
  • Do not purchase shark products such as shark fin soup, sharkskin items, or pills made with shark cartilage or shark jaws
  • Choose sustainable seafood caught in ways that don't accidentally catch and kill sharks
  • Urge members of Congress to pass laws to protect sharks

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