Shark Dive

A shark longer than I am tall sticks its nose so close to my chest a deep breath would have drawn contact. Other sharks cruise slowly overhead. Grouper and stingray move about in the distance. Schools of smaller fish flit here and there. All to the steady rhythm of air through a scuba regulator.

Been in Korea for a while and looking for something different? New to the peninsula and interested in exploring Pusan/Busan in a unique way? Then why not head down to the Busan Aquarium and go on a shark dive?

The friendly, English-speaking dive instructors at Scuba in Korea can arrange everything for divers and non-divers alike. Click the link or picture for more info.

Photo courtesy Scuba in Korea

For those who aren't (yet!) certified divers training is provided to get you familiarized with scuba equipment and methods. After that both divers and non-divers get together for the pre-dive briefing that outlines the rules and details of shark diving in the Busan Aquarium. The brief lasted about 30 minutes and consisted of what we were about to see, peculiarities of diving in the aquarium (no fins, keep hands and arms in), and Q&A.

Next, our group of five experienced divers split into two groups - fewer people in the water makes for less hassle, plus it allowed those outside the water to take video. While the first group suited up (all equipment provided) the rest of us went out into the tourist side of the aquarium to watch.

The aquarium itself is beautiful, well worth a trip even without the dive. Three million liters of water, huge see-through walls, 80 meters of underwater tunnel that make you feel like you're actually in the aquarium, all combine for a great view into the main tank with its sharks, turtles, stingrays and schools of fish.

Divers descend a line along one of the tunnel walls, much to the surprise of those outside looking in! Once everyone assembles at the bottom the walking tour begins. You slowly work your way around the outside of the aquarium, pausing in places to watch the sharks as they come within centimeters. I'll never forget staring into the face of a 2.5 meter (7 foot) tiger shark as it slowly, ever so slowly, swam right up to my chest, so close to my heart we practically touched. You learn during the briefing that if one comes right at you the proper response is to freeze until it swims away - advice that is somewhat nerve-wracking when actually staring into a mouth full of shark teeth!

You're also instructed to refrain from pointing, or extending your hands and arms out from your body in any way. Hopefully minimizing the chance of something trying to figure out what you are by taking a curious bite. This is definitely a problem with some of the smaller fish, who seem to prefer checking you out mouth first. Enjoy watching the sharks but keep your eyes open for some of the little guys - they seem to especially enjoying nipping at leg hair!

The dive lasts for 20-30 minutes, with the ascent being back up the line that you followed down. For anyone used to diving the oddest part of the whole experience can be walking rather than swimming - it definitely feels unnatural to be weighted down but not have on fins.

Shark Photo
Photo courtesy Scuba in Korea

Once our first group finished, the second group entered and repeated the process while the others took their turn on the camera. The course and time of the second dive was virtually identical to the first.

I've put together a shark dive video clip (my first video editing ever, plus the first time I've put video on my website, so Spielberg it ain't) that combines scenes from both dives and gives an outline of what you can expect. The background voices (mostly in Korean) are from people watching us while touring the aquarium. The divers can definitely become the center of attention!


To download the clip please right-click on the shark dive link, choose 'save target as' or 'save as', and save the file to your desktop. Once downloaded use Windows Media Player to open and view. I'd like to offer the clip as streaming video but to set up my server for that costs extra and this site costs me enough as is! However, if you have a newer version of Media Player try right-clicking on the link, then 'open in new window' to view as a streaming video file - this sometimes works.

Please enjoy, and head to the feedback page if you have technical problems or advice on how I can improve my editing skills. The video file is 4.5 megs so you're definitely going to want broadband, or a lot of patience, if you decide to download.


For more information on diving in Korea please head to:

- go to 1stopKorea homepage
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