I haven’t even seen the movie Jaws, and neither have many of my friends, but you only need to start with the soundtrack’s pounding “dahn-dahn-dahn-dahn,” and we all get a shiver down our spines. Still, I couldn’t pass on a chance to take a dip with the marine monsters – if for nothing else than to send my mother the pictures.
When I arrived at Busan Aquarium in Haeundae, I was set up with gear and joined by one of the aquarium interns. I first made sure all my under-water gadgets worked properly.
Any diver knows you can do everything through your regulator under the water, as long as you keep it in your mouth – even scream. And that’s exactly what happened when I poked my head under the water for the first time in the small tank. Little Miss Zebra Shark was curious about me and apparently wanted to know who was invading her personal space. Suddenly we were face to face; eye to eye. Leaving me – actually the bigger of the two – screaming a trail of bubbles in hip-deep water.
On to the big tank, where, with each step, this whole thing felt more and more like an absolutely stupid thing to do. My heart raced, my knees went wobbly and my brain seemed to dissolve into a black hole. The more fear crept in, the louder it whispered: “they can smell fear … ”
The first sight underwater was the alarmed faces of the Busan Aquarium visitors on the other side of the glass. Waves were exchanged, photos were posed for and hopefully a silent prayer said. Within five minutes in the tank, most of the bigger sharks (one around three meters long) came over for a chat … or a bite … or a scare-off. But they weren’t too fond of my bodyguard and his air gun and quickly decided we weren’t worth the trouble.
The longer you are in the same space with these great souls of the big blue, the more respect and awe they gain and you are overtaken with the utmost fascination. Swimming within reach of these creatures makes you feel very small and insignificant. The shark has been around for millions of years with hardly an equal in its underwater world. Yet, there I was, a potential meal for 20 minutes.
Afterward, I stepped out of the water feeling as if I had been stirred from a dream. How could I leave a world where all I can hear is my own breathing, I feel the water currents pushing and pulling me along, and I look a strange, yet wonderful and powerful, fish in the eye without even feeling remotely afraid? I must be nuts.
For more information about booking a dive with the sharks at the Busan Aquarium, you can visit www.aquaticfrontier.com or www.busanaquarium.com, or call the aquarium at 051-740-1700. The dive dates are pre-scheduled but are usually held on Saturdays and Sundays. Price: 150,000 won (includes 70,000 won deposit)
The Latest Haps
The government is hoping railway services will be running without any major disruption despite a unionized railroad workers’ scheduled strike next week.
The Korea Meteorological Administration(KMA) is predicting that more aftershocks with a magnitude of three to four will likely continue in Gyeongju, for as long as several months.
The Busan One Asia Festival will have five main K-pop concerts at the Busan Asiad Gymnasium throughout the first 23 days of October.
The Busan International Film Festival has released its main event schedule for this year’s 21st edition. Updates as of September 22, 2016.
Wired magazine has chosen local cartoonist Ryan Estrada’s “Big Data” as one of its top 5 podcasts of the week.
That’s not a misprint, but just the way it seems to work when you live abroad. John Bocskay explains.
Korea ranked dead last on the 2016 HSBC Expat Explorer Survey to raise a family, one of the largest global independent surveys of expat living.
Pei Wei Asian Diner is set to open a location in Busan by the end of 2017 according to a company press release.
McDonald’s Korea has introduced its newest offering, the Chicken Mac.
A new survey by MasterCard shows that Seoul is once again the 10th most popular city for travel in the world.
Busan’s neighbor to the north has a lot going for it for a fun weekend that’s not so far from home.
While many head to Thailand in search of its magnificent culture, Chiang Mai is a great place to start and one of her best offerings are her awesome temples, known as “Wats”.
A 29-year-old woman was seriously injured this month when a bungee jump operator failed to secure her rope to the safety hook.
Suyeong-gu Office runs the Stand Up Paddle Board Academy at Gwangalli Beach in September and October.