DANGEROUS WATERS: EXPERIENCE AN INTIMATE ENCOUNTER WITH SHARKS
Enter into the watery depths with some of the most feared predators in the ocean.
The salt water is a cool 24 C when you enter onto the 1.8-metre-deep submerged platform. As you familiarize yourself with your watery cage, the only advice given is it to keep your arms and legs within the acrylic walls.
It’s when you place your head into the water and peer into its depths that you grasp the enormity of the tank below. Over the precipice of the platform you can see for the first time its deadly inhabitants; smaller black tipped sharks, groupers of every size, some so large they dwarf the small sharks. A lemon shark swims through the wreckage of a ship below, while a bull shark glides slowly by the clear wall that separates you, seeming to look through you, emotionless. The largest and most intimidating is the huge nurse shark silently pacing the tank.
Swimming this close to these magnificent creatures will give you a new appreciation for sharks. Their enormity makes your heart skip a beat. The way they stealthily glide, stalking their surroundings, is fascinating and the dead look in their eyes, bone-chilling.
After what seems like an eternity on your own, your guide enters the water to introduce you to the predators swimming below. Horizontal slats in the wall are large enough for an arm or leg and some of the smaller fish swim through.
A shartp slap to the top of the water summons the sharks as your guide waves a baited pole into the chasm, tantalizing them. A couple of the smaller sharks nose around but soon move off; the largest shark in the tank has taken an interest. Noiselessly, the nurse shark approaches, assessing the situation. Her size is intimidating, and she is silent and quick. After a few passes she comes closer, this time from below us, swimming right along the clear divide, dwarfing you with her size. The guide motions for you to touch her, you reach through the wall and feel the strength within her massive body. Her solid white belly is rougher than expected, her face, one you’ll never forget and the experience, once in a lifetime.
SO MUCH TO SEE AND DO
Open 365 days a year from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m., the Cancun Interactive Aquarium is located in the La Isla Shopping Mall. A day pass allows visitors to view stunning marine life without ever getting wet. Tickets include a seat at the only dolphin show in Cancun, set in an intimate arena with limited seating. The aquarium is not massive but well sized. It offers a wide assortment of sea creatures to view and interact with. The incredible two storey shark tank is a sight to behold but is even more impressive seen from the inside. Experiences that allow you to swim with the sharks, dolphins and sea lions are also available for an additional cost.
A simply wonderful show, wonderful aquarium and wonderful experience overall.
Story by Tania Moffat
Photo courtesy of the Cancun Interactive Aquarium