I still can’t believe what I did last night. Shark diving. Just Brian and I. No chain mail suits. No defenses. Just us and the sharks of Fakarava. It was incredible! And we still have all our limbs!

Remnants of a pastel-colored sunset faintly lit the sky as we slipped into the calm water of Fakarava’s South Pass. Usually this is a current fueled drift dive but tonight we would stay in an eddy at the beginning of the dive and wait for the hunting sharks to come to us instead of drifting on the current.

We descended to 40 feet and the various dark blues of the reef faded into black. I relied on my big video light to see what was going on around me. Luckily it can light up the whole reef! I was able to see at least 30 feet, which was comforting.

This was only my second night dive, and it was a very adventurous one. Brian and I agreed beforehand we would stay at shallow depths and simply get out anytime we felt uncomfortable. Brian had our dinghy clipped to him as we swam, so we were always attached to our rescue vessel if things got out of hand.

As soon as it grew dark the sharks began hunting. Gray Reef and White Tip sharks emerged from the darkness with a whole new personality. During the daytime these sharks drift lazily in mid-water or rest on the sea floor. Now they were aggressively darting across the sea floor in all directions, looking for things to eat.

Oh, how they loved me and my big, bright light. I loved them back. A dozen sharks followed me like I was a bubble-emitting pied piper. You have to love sharks or this would be a terrifying experience. I’ve been diving with Fakarava’s sharks at least 20 times during the day, so I felt somewhat confident they would not be a problem. Also, Brian has already done two solo night dives with them.

I swam around with my sharky entourage. The sharks would swim away to chase fish, but soon returned to my bright pool of light. Sharks can see in the dark, but they seemed to enjoy the starling effect the light had on the skittish fishes trying to take shelter in the coral reef. And they needed all the help they could get. They were not very successful hunters. We observed many failed attempts at catching fish and never saw a shark eat anything during our dive.

The hunting sharks were fast, furious and curious. But they showed us complete respect and did not treat us like prey. They never even touched us. We stayed with them for over 30 minutes, then ascended to our waiting dinghy. We had three sources of light to get back to Magic, and the weather was calm. We made our way back, splashing through small waves. What an exciting and unforgettable dive!


Lisa Hackett

About the Author

Hi, I’m Lisa. I’m a tall, blonde superhero and I live in a van. I do it all. I rappel big waterfalls, drive from Idaho to Alaska solo, live and work in a van in the wilderness and dodge encounters with wolves and bears. Seriously. More

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About the Author

Hi, I’m Lisa. I’m a tall, blonde superhero and I live in a van and on a sailboat with my superhero husband, Brian. I do it all. I rappel big waterfalls, scuba dive with sharks, dodge encounters with bears and wolves, and work remotely as a full time computer programmer.
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About the Van

Hi, I’m Vanifest. I’m a big, 4x4, off-the-grid van complete with solar panel for power. I'm a 2000 Dodge Ram Van and Lisa has had me since 2009. Read more about me here.


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