6 things a small boy learned from swimming with sharks

Hopping in with the sharks at SEALIFE Sydney Aqaurium's Shark Reef Snorkel

On the weekend my mum tossed me in to a tank full of sharks. But I’m not surprised… it’s not like it’s the first time she’s done it. Although it is the first time she’s tossed my friends in after me.

But don’t worry, she’s not insane… well not very. It was my 8th birthday present and we all wanted to go swimming with sharks – she just made it happen. You see, instead of just seeing the sharks at Sydney Aquarium we got to swim with them on a shark reef snorkel. In their actual tank.

Ready to take on the shark tank at SEALIFE Sydney Aquarium

Now swimming with sharks sounds scarier than it is for two reasons. The first reason is that we were kind of like the sharks pet goldfish because we were in a glass bowl inside their 2 million-litre tank and they were looking at us like we were the exhibit.

In the tank at SEALIFE SYdney Aquarium

Because of the glass they couldn’t nibble on us but we could still swim right alongside them. The second reason is that it’s a big fat myth that sharks are all really dangerous to people. Most of them aren’t.

Raffles at SEALIFE Sydney Aqaurium's Shark reef Snorkel

It was a totally epic experience to share the water with reef sharks, critically endangered sawfish and a massive leopard shark.

There goes one! In the tank at SEALIFE Sydney Aquarium

It was also awesome to learn about sharks and their ecosystem from Jason, the cool dude who looks after the sharks at the Aquarium.

getting introduced to the sharks before they dive in with them at Sydney Aquarium

Here are six things I learned from swimming with sharks that I want to share with you all;

  1. There are around 440 known breeds of shark and only four are dangerous to man. The Great White, The Tiger Shark, The Bull Shark and the Oceanic White Tip Shark. The rest of them are just like cuddly underwater teddy bears… with sharp pointy teeth!
  2. Reef dwelling sharks are actually kind of lazy for predators and hunt sick fish because they are easy prey. So unless you look like a dying fish or  squid you should be fine if you ever bump into one on the street. Mind you if you look like a squid you’ve got bigger things to worry about than sharks.
  3. Some sharks sleep by switching off half their brain and using the other half to keep filtering water through their gills. That’s something mum sometimes accuses me of doing when I’m watching TV. The half a brain thing… not the gills.
  4. Sharks inhabited the earth 200 million years before the dinosaurs and have hardly changed since. So while we’ve all been busy evolving, they’ve just been hanging around sharpening their teeth and scoffing fish. Slackers. Don’t tell them I said that…
  5. Sharks have amazing hearing. They can hear a fish in the water as far as 500 metres away. So you can bet they heard me and my noisy friends coming.
  6. This is the most important thing I learned. For every human killed by a shark, two million sharks are killed by humans.

Sharks have an important place in the ocean ecosystem and we should treat them with the respect they deserve. I’m not suggesting you should go and cuddle one… just that everyone needs to remember that it’s THEIR ocean.

Written by Raffles – Aged 8

The shark reef snorkel experience was independently paid for.

18 Comments on 6 things a small boy learned from swimming with sharks

  1. Ana
    March 30, 2016 at 12:49 pm (8 years ago)

    You are a little legend Raffles.

  2. Em @ Have A Laugh On Me
    March 30, 2016 at 4:07 pm (8 years ago)

    Now THAT is a cool birthday present. My sister is a dive instructor and been all across the world and swam with whale sharks, reef sharks as well as almost every sea creature you could think of!

      March 30, 2016 at 5:34 pm (8 years ago)

      Wow, that would be epic. One day I want to do that too. Raffles x

  3. Rachel
    March 30, 2016 at 8:58 pm (8 years ago)

    Wow, those little dudes are very brave! Not sure you’d find me in there!

      March 30, 2016 at 9:01 pm (8 years ago)

      IT’s easy to be brave when you’re with your crew 😉

      April 1, 2016 at 7:48 pm (8 years ago)

      Perfect for a little daredevil

  4. Kate
    March 30, 2016 at 11:04 pm (8 years ago)

    Great party!

  5. Shannon@ my2morrows
    April 2, 2016 at 11:41 pm (8 years ago)

    Awesome experience! #6 is just incredible,
    Next birthday tell mum to head to my hometown, (port Lincoln in South Australia) to cage dive with great whites! Or maybe a few birthdays down the track 😉
    Thanks for linking up to the ultimate rabbit hole!

      April 3, 2016 at 8:25 am (8 years ago)

      He might be keen but I think his mama would be way too nervous. 😉

  6. Christine @ Adventure, Baby!
    April 3, 2016 at 8:46 am (8 years ago)

    How amazing – looks like the kids had a fantastic time. I’d quite like to swim with sharks myself!

      April 5, 2016 at 8:25 am (8 years ago)

      There are bigger ones that you can swim with glass free at Manly SEALIFE…

  7. Seana _-Hello Sydney Kids
    April 4, 2016 at 4:04 pm (8 years ago)

    Fantastic! I had no idea that such young kids could do this – how cool and what a great party for a birthday. Just that gleaming edge of danger to keep them all thrilled.

    I’m loading this post into my MeetEdgar library so it will pop up on Facebook and Twitter now and then again in the future. Perfect!

      April 5, 2016 at 8:26 am (8 years ago)

      Thanks Seanna, it was wonderful. Kids as young as 5 can join in!

  8. stuntman
    April 5, 2016 at 11:15 am (8 years ago)

    You get to do the coolest things dude!

  9. Franki Hobson
    May 21, 2016 at 10:39 pm (8 years ago)

    What a fabulous idea for a birthday party – fun and learning in one!


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Hey, I’m Aleney! A mum, award-winning travel writer, magazine editor and gallivanting glutton. He’s Raff, the “boy” in boyeatsworld, and a fearless foodie, adventurer and eco-warrior. Along with his all-singing, all-dancing, all-adventurous sister, Sugarpuff, we’re exploring the world’s colour, culture and cuisine on a food safari for the junior set.

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