An Offer With Teeth: Snorkel With Sharks, San Diego

And now for something completely different…. For four days (July 31, August 6, 14 & 27), the Birch Aquarum at Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego County, California, is offering you a “Snorkel With Sharks” program. From 8-10 am, you’ll suit up in a wetsuit, and dare to inhabit the Pacific Ocean reef with schooling leopard sharks, smooth hound sharks and guitarfish — all of which they say are harmless.

I have first-hand experience diving with a variety of sharks — both in aquariums and the open water. These include seven-gill, leopard, grey, nurse and hammerheads. It’s true that most ARE harmless and I’ve actually petted (tentatively, of course) a number of them. It’s the Great Whites and a few other species you have to watch out for. But because of “Shark Week” on the Discovery Channel, the 30th Anniversary of “Jaws” and the recent attacks in the Florida Panhandle, everyone thinks all sharks are killers. That’s just not so.

Anyway, back to San Diego. Their Website says, “Keep your eyes peeled for rays, flatfish and sand-dwelling invertebrates, while enjoying the mild surf and gently sloping beach of La Jolla Shores and the adjacent rocky reef. Intermediate swimming ability and previous snorkeling experience is required. Ages 10-adult (10-13 with paid adult).”

Aquarium Members: $25. Public: $30. For details, call 858-534-3474 or visit Birch Aquarum at Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

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