|Perils of Oz|
If the red-back spiders under loo seats don't get you, the blue-ringed octopus will... People delight in spreading shock-horror stories about Aussie wildlife, and often it works. Marie Davies has been instructing prospective divers downunder and finds that many are terrified of being eaten by sharks - or worse. She sets out to put their fears in perspective
Most divers want to dive with sharks, though preferably those that present no threat, and few do present a threat if you're sensible. If you are concerned about becoming an elasmobranch's lunch, however:
1 Dive in groups - sharks are more likely to attack a lone diver
2 Don't carry dead fish or dive near commercial fishing boats - large amounts of bait attract big fish!
3 Throw away those pink fins and avoid wearing brightly coloured wetsuits - contrasting colours act like beacons for sharks
4 Avoid wearing shiny watches or jewellery that shines or reflects light
5 Avoid diving with large sharks' favourite food - seals
6 Avoid diving near shark hunting grounds like steep drop-offs, while remembering that Australia does offer some of the best wall-diving opportunities!
7 Don't splash about on the surface
8 Don't dive if you know that potentially dangerous sharks are present
9 Don't antagonise or try to corner any shark
10 Don't panic if sharks do approach you - they are usually no more than curious. Stay cool, maintain eye contact and move slowly, as if you too are a predator
Finally, don't be misled into thinking you're safe diving near dolphins - bigger sharks can chomp dolphins too!
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