On day two of your week-long trip to North Borneo to dive the marine park at Sipadan Island, you were returning to the Oil Rig Resort for lunch when the captain spotted a disturbance in the water ahead. You had already seen a hammerhead shark, a leopard shark and dozens of turtles on your morning’s dives, and now you had the opportunity to watch fish be hunted in the wild.
The juddering under your seats stopped as the speedboat got close to the feeding frenzy occurring just beneath the surface of the water. Sea birds plucked what they could from the foam, and there were glimmers of silver as the fish propelled themselves out of the water to escape whatever it is that was hunting them.
“Looks like it’s our lucky day!” The lean, Spanish divemaster with Buddhist tattoos across his back said, donning fins and a mask. “Who wants to go look?” He asked the driver to put the ladder down, ‘in case it is big sharks‘ and jumped in. You all followed suit, swimming towards the epicentre as gently as possible.
A second later, a large shark swam past, several metres below, and you heard your divemaster scream, “BULLSHARK! BULLSHARK! GET OUT!” You looked up in time to see him fly out of the water, landing with his waist against the edge of the speedboat. He swung his legs into the boat and then started pulling everyone back on board.
“A bullshark? Seriously?” You asked.
“Well.” He looked out towards the water, where the frenzy had calmed slightly. “Probably not. Maybe some other oceanic shark. Anyone want to go back in? No bullshark!”