Shark Feeding Frenzy, Almost Lost a Foot
I could have titled this one “facing my fears” or “living out my worst nightmare and it was fun”. Either would have been the truth but Jason was rather stuck on the shark feeding frenzy. Plus, I didn’t really dive into the fact that a few years ago I was deathly afraid of sharks. And then there was the little incident where our dive buddy CJ nearly lost his foot to a shark. So, shark feeding frenzy it is.
Fakarava is a multiverse of extremes, a bridge between our two worlds and we’re in paradise no matter which way we go. The most insane diving of our lives continues down below while we find peace and tranquility above.
To all those people who say “nothing good ever happens after dark”, ahem, you are wrong. Diving in the dark is sooo good, I would rate it above ice cream. So, that pretty much settles it.
We haven’t been night diving in the ocean because…well…it’s a little intimidating. Before we bought our boat we’d never been scuba diving on our own. So, the past couple years we’ve been getting comfortable with learning how to dive from our sailboat and fill our tanks (which is super easy, fun and way better than any paid scuba trip we’ve ever been on).
Typically it’s just the two of us and we play it fairly safe when it comes to scuba diving in remote locations (I struggle with sinus issues so I don’t like to push it). But, Fakarava was just too good and we had our fellow underwater adventure loving friends CJ and Giselle with us. They have some pretty epic scuba stories from all around the world and CJ was once an instructor and guide. When they are with us, I find myself pushing outside of my normal comfort zone.
But, I never expected to be quite that comfortable diving with hundreds of sharks! This experience is right up there next to swimming with whales… but second of course, because nothing trumps baby whales.
Sharks get a really bum rap
Sharks get a really, really bum rap. They eat fish, not people. Plus, they play a vital role in the health of our oceans. Sharks are good!
I used to be terrified of sharks. So terrified, I was hesitant to swim in the ocean. I was never taught that sharks were good for our oceans. All I knew is what I had learned from watching movies like Jaws and some of the stupid episodes on Shark Week…the moral of those shows is sharks are angry, man eating beasts.
I had never lived anywhere near the ocean or any body of water. Growing up, I didn’t even know anyone with a pool. I was 19 years old the first time I set eyes on the sea. I had been dating Jason for a few months and he invited me to join him on a trip to California to visit his Aunt Cindy.
I was a terrible swimmer, the water was dark, cold and littered with seaweed. Every little fish and string of seaweed had me jumping out of my skin. I flailed around like a drowning cat for about ten minutes and that was the end of that. I was desperately out of my element.
I’ve come a long way over the years and learning to scuba helped a ton. But of course, moving aboard Curiosity has been my biggest accelerator.
Now, underwater is my favorite place to be!
Diving into the ocean is as close to visiting another planet as we can get. Not diving in for fear of sharks would be like choosing to never go outdoors because you are afraid of lightning. Sure, you could get struck by lightning, but the chances are slim.
In fact, we’re far more likely to get struck by lightning than we are to being eaten by a shark!
Now, one could argue that we are taking unnecessary risks by swimming with sharks at night. But, many shark experts would argue that our chances of getting bitten by a dog while walking down the street would be greater.
See, we could go around and round with this, but it all ends up here: there are risks in every aspect of life. We all have to choose what risks we’re comfortable with.
I am a risk taker, a curious driven soul and I hope I never loose the nerve to take risks.
So, I will leave you with that Hellen Keller quote again…because it is my fave of all time. Anytime I feel fear holding me back, I recite this to myself:
“Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it…Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. The fearful are caught as often as the bold. Faith alone defends. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” Helen Keller
Life is an adventure, live it! -me
Want to learn more?
The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species is the world’s most extensively used system for gauging the extinction risk for specific plants and animals.
The International Shark Attack File is a scientifically documented, comprehensive database of shark attacks worldwide. It is the resource I used to educate myself about shark attack myths and learn how to reduce our risk of an attack.
🙏 Thank YOU!
Ups, downs and all arounds. We share them all. If you like what you see, there are lots of FREE ways you can show your support. Thank you for being a part of the journey!
GEAR USED IN THIS VIDEO
FREEDIVING & SCUBA
- All Dive Gear Info & Reviews Here: gonewiththewynns.com/diving-from-sailboat
🎥 CAMERA GEAR USED IN THIS VIDEO 📷
Fakarava has single handily convinced us to upgrade our underwater camera gear. If anyone has a favorite underwater photography housing, blog or YouTube channel, please share! We’re officially in research mode. 😉
- Sony rx10: https://amzn.to/2QAHxwx
- Sony rx0ii: gonewiththewynns.com/product/tiny-travel-camera
- Go Pro Hero: We were using the 5, but would recommend the new 7 https://amzn.to/2FsF7cx
- Sony rx100 With Underwater Housing: gonewiththewynns.com/product/productsony-dsc-rx100m-iii-cyber-shot-digital-still-camera
- Insta 360: Those super wide, super smooth dingy rides. amzn.to/2NfFjBn
- Drone: https://amzn.to/2VQ2pzi
🚣 Dinghy & Accessories
- Dinghy: Highfield CL340 / With Yamaha F25 (love our setup!)
- Magnetic Tricolor Light For Night: gonewiththewynns.com/product/lights-torches
- Cool Underwater Light So We Could See The Dinghy (and people could see us): navisafe.com/project/navilight-glowtube-114/
- Dinghy Anchor: gonewiththewynns.com/product/mantus-anchor
⛵SAILING SPECIFIC GEAR
- Garmin InReach: gonewiththewynns.com/product/inreach-satellite-communication-and-tracking
- Sailing/Navigation Apps:
- iNavx: http://bit.ly/2vGgC51
- Active Captain: http://bit.ly/active_captain
- Weather, Messaging & Email: gonewiththewynns.com/product/iridium-go-predictwind
- Source: http://bit.ly/artlist-gwtw
- Artists: Giants and Pilgrims (intro), Saint Anyway, The Bows, and Ian Post
⛵ SAILING REPORT
To see our full map with interactive pins, click here: gonewiththewynns.com/map
- Anchorage: Fakarava South – Tetamanu, Tuamotu, French Polynesia
- Date: March 2019
Love watching your YouTube channel and seeing you’re adventures. I literally just watched the shark feeding frenzy episode and today saw this article. https://nypost.com/2019/10/22/french-woman-loses-both-hands-breast-in-shark-attack-in-polynesia/amp/
Maybe a healthy fear of sharks isn’t a bad thing. Be careful out there.
I am so very sad to hear this but very happy the woman is a alive and recovering. We all enter the water knowing the risks but hope we’re never one of the small percentage who suffer from an attack. Oceanic white tips are one shark we have never seen and don’t go looking for. In French Polynesia there have only been 16 total shark attacks (2 of them fatal) since 1834 (that is 184 years). So it really is a rare case but incredibly traumatic none the less.
I have to agree with John. What you did was careless. Reef sharks, whether it be the white-tipped or black-tipped variety, can be very unpredictable when they are on their nocturnal patrols. These sharks are fast swimmers and have a very keen sense of smell. Not wise to be swimming with them particularly when you have no medical team on board in case something happens. Most experienced divers doing research usually have chain-mail protection to deflect a curiosity bite. One bite with blood in the water with hordes of these amazing creatures surrounding you and no sub-surface cage to dart back to protect you from the onslaught…well, use your imagination. We divers call it the meat grinder…a gruesome outcome.
Our Father’s world is absolutely awesome. Thank you for bringing us views of it from far flung areas.
And yes, the view of the stars there is beyond words. Is there a more perfect place? I mean its got it all. Okay, well, not mountains, but still…… We rarely get half of those fine area features in one place.
Maybe you could tell us about the weather extremes to be expected there. Do you have to be out of the area by a certain time of year?
By the way, don’t forget about the electrical and magnetic shark repellents. It might be worth a try when needed. Flip that bad boy on and watch them scatter? I love to find my limits, but hey, let’s not be too crazy. 😉
So much to say about that video! Nikki kept pouring the alcohol into your cocktail as she was describing the dive and her eyes kept getting bigger as she continued to pour in another jigger. That was definitely an adventure! When the sharks were bumping you I started getting a little nervous for you. We all know how it turned out because there was this GREAT video! Thanks.
Those were some pretty incredible cameras. You have gotten some new gear since my last visit! Great shots, I felt like I was in the dive with you.
Nothing like the Halloween pumpkin dive in Lake Havasu (sp?), much more scary! Still the same, they are all fun videos!
Love you and can’t wait to catch up!!! xxoo Mom
Wow, Nikki, I didn’t know you had cojones. Actually all of you. How super colossal, mega exciting, enjoyed that beyond words.
At our cabin in Washington state I’ve been face to face with Bear, cougar, wolf, and rattle snake. All of which could have killed me if it wanted. I’ve learned it’s not their nature and enjoyed learning about them. We truly do have a beautiful planet.
Have fun, be safe, look forward to more. Very enjoyable part of my day watching your adventures.
Dear Wynn Family (Jason, Nikki, Cleo, Singa),
Thankyou soooo much for your wonderful video about the sharks & losing a foot—not that that would be wonderful. The scenery was so beautiful it brought tears to my eyes! No kidding!! How I would love to be able to be out on the water like that but my health prohibits it. Your videos are the next best thing. Just like the words to the song by Christopher Cross : Sailing “the canvas can do miracles, just you wait and see…” that is so true. Thanks again and “happy sails to you!” Blessings, Carol McCarty
“What kind of man would live a life without daring? Is life so sweet that we should criticize men that seek adventure? Is there a better way to die?” — Charles Lindbergh, August 26th, 1938
Ohhh, I like that a lot! I will add that to my list of all time faves. Thanks for sharing!
Sorry guys, while I found the video incredible, I totally disagree with most of what you’ve said here in relation to the dive you did. You sound like you are trying to convince yourselves that what you did wasn’t utterly stupid. (Sorry, love you guys but think the sentiment you are expressing over this dive is very misguided) I love adventure as well but the trick is to balance the risk with your longevity by mitigating the risks to a large extent while still experiencing the adventure. You have but one life, it seems pointless to end it for the one occasion of driving way to fast, sailing into a hurricane, flying wingsuits, free climbing without the experience or swimming with 150 sharks in a feeding frenzie at night. The sentiment of the Helen Keller quote is nice but please don’t take it literally!…
“Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure.” – You seriously believe that? Did you know you are 7 times more likely to die riding a motorcycle than riding in a car? That doesn’t even account for higher mileage driven by most cars.
“The fearful are caught as often as the bold” – Come on, what malarky! If you had 100 people watching TV and a 100 people Hang Gliding, which group do think will be first to experience a fatality or major injury? If you are talking the big picture here where we all have to die sometime, that is true, but I’d rather live to have a 1000 adventures than 10.
“Faith alone defends” Sorry, this is just a foolish sentiment. Faith favors those who watch out for themselves.
“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing”- I quite appreciate the sentiment of this. I am not going to waste the one life I have sitting in front of the Tele, you do have to get out and live and experience but do it in such a way that there is a damn good chance you’ll get to have another great adventure tomorrow as well!
This notion that being at the top of the food chain provides us with some blanket don’t eat me card is utter BS. Yes, we are at the top of the food chain because we have reasoning capabilities and opposable thumbs that allow us to create boats, spears, nets, clubs, knives etc. Take away all that and you are just sustenance. Nobody gave the sharks a list that shows us at the top. Animals are opportunists largely driven by the hunger in their belly, People say ohhhh, the shark mistook a surfer for a turtle and maybe that is true but the truth is, sharks don’t care! They will probably avoid larger prey if there are other easy pickings around, why take the risk? But if they are hungry, they’re gonna eat what ever they can get their mouth around.
Yes I think Sharks are largely misunderstood and the overall fear is unwarranted for general swimmers in the ocean on the beach and perhaps the general population is more at risk from vending machines, or dogs. But what you are promoting is like saying there is very little risk from killer bees even if you stick your head in the nest. Sharks are not as bad as a lot of people think but a respectful amount of fear should be given to them. I think you crossed that line by a fairly large margin.
I know they do these open water shark dives in the Bahamas near Florida a lot and even chum the water but I don’ think they have anywhere near the number of sharks show up that you had. Ideally I would think you should be able to keep track of each one and watch what they are doing and how they are behaving. There were so many sharks on your dive and it appeared you were right in the middle of them. The frenzy that took place every time one of them got a fish, if they had been 12″ closer to your friends leg, that frenzy would have been on your buddy. Anyway, fair winds. (people say that as they don’t want you to take unnecessary risks sailing into known weather for the thrill of it).
I wasn’t trying to convince myself that what we did wasn’t utterly stupid…I was writing to those who were going to immediately assume we were utterly stupid. I wasn’t taking the quote literally. But everyone’s idea of risk and safety are going to be different. So we will just have to agree to disagree.
We were with very experienced divers and had done a ton of research on the dive and the sharks. Divers go out with these sharks every night. When the grouper spawning starts…and the feeding frenzies increase…so do the divers.
The thing is, those sharks are there during the day too. Being able to see them doesn’t decrease our chances of being bitten. It just increases our false sense of security. Because anytime a human is in the water, of course we are at a greater risk…increase the number of sharks and the risk increases. Go hiking in the forest and your chances of being attacked by the bear, mountain lion or wolf that you don’t know is there, increases.
My point is, there is always risk. It is up to each of us to decide how much risk we are willing to take.
“Sharks are not as bad as a lot of people think but a respectful amount of fear should be given to them. I think you crossed that line by a fairly large margin.”
The key statement being “I think…” because again, our ideas of safety and risk are clearly different. We have a very healthy respect for sharks. We don’t think we are invincible. We called the dive when we (the people there in real life) felt it was no longer safe.
And just for the record, I am also the person who has owned a racing motorcycle, been free climbing, sky diving (not tandem) and would learn how to wingsuit in a hot second. It takes all kinds to make the world go round. 😉
AMAZING footage! Thank you all for sharing the night dive experience with us out here in YouTube land. And love the Helen Keller quote too…. She is one of my sheros for sure.
She is one of my sheros too. To face such struggles and live such an adventurous and inspirational life is beyond motivating to me.
Don’t get me wrong: the second part of the video (underwater) was INCREDIBLE but I loved the first part even more! You know,, where you explore the island: the textures, colours, ruins, trees, the ‘bridge’, ‘street light’, houses, etc. Amazing footage; this place breathes peacefulness. Probably my favourite so far, of all the years you’ve been sharing your adventures with us. Thank you…
Neville van der Merwe
YDion, exactly my thoughts on this video. Regards from Neville
Yes, that was great. One could lose himself in a place like that for years.
Adrenalin makes you guys glow! What a terrific video, it went by far too soon, I think I’ll go watch it again as it was so much fun.
Thankyou, Nikki, for another great post! Appreciated! ….. and watching for more from you! Oh! And Jason, too! Jason! You’ve got lots to offer, right? You’ve been a bit quiet lately…. fixed the engine, then? You da man! Tell me about it! Boast, you hairy chested beast! How did you do it?
Ha ha, you will see a lot more of Jason in the next video…ya know…fixin’ stuff. 😉
Nikki, you said “you are feeling like the luckiest human living on the coolest planet in the entire universe”. Wow. Not sure if that captures all the extremes you both were experiencing down there but, its close. Wow, this is amazing stuff. Beyond words, really.
After you finished the RVing and went on to the Cat and your style of living on and sailing an ocean going vessel, you hit upon something Awesome. Thanks,
I did not realize it until now but, it seems I have a neighbor, 2 cities or so West of me that is commenting too. Bernie from Palm Springs. I am Alan from Palm Desert. Maybe we will run into one another sometime.
Anchors Up, Happy Sailing..
Another amazing video, but one thing you two I could not go night diving at all, bad enough swimming but doing what you two did gave me the chills. I had goose bumps all over me seeing the amount of sharks and how close they came to you. The scenery before was just beautiful, and could I live there maybe , but with what is going on in the world , with Climate Change. your island would look like Barbados does now. Just flatten, now sign of anything and I feel so sorry for those people having to start over. Sorry lost my way, but Jason and Nikki stay safe and smooth seas to you both.
Love reading your blog & adventures!
Well you both live life to the fullest. This was absolutely wonderful to see and thanks for sharing your adventures with us all
…what! Are you simple?! Diving in the dark. Fortunate so far….
I love your adventures and am glad you fully “live” life. What a sharkingly amazing feeding frenzy that was! I’m so happy you were able to experience it🤭😵😯
James A Cooper Jr
Absolutely awesome video quality. Sitting in my RV outside of Asheville, NC streaming it on my hot spot. Love watching your videos and adventures. Safe travels, I await your next video.
Sharks prefer yellow I googled and said it’s a myth. But now I’m curious what Yummy Yellow Cake Mix taste like. I’m also curious about all the colorful fish you’ve filmed and are the sharks feasting on all those colorful fish?
Yes, it is a myth but a funny joke among divers.
Excellent! By far my most favorite place you have ventured. Also, loved the Helen Keller quote!
P.S. don’t be afraid to make your drinks without measuring the alcohol😄
Ha ha, I like a balanced drink (AKA, I’m a lightweight). 🙂
Great quality underwater night video. Enjoyed watching.
You guys are fearless.
I’m not that brave.
Have a great & safe time.
Bernie in Palm Springs.
Aloha Wynns. You really make my day. I envy and enjoy your postings. Please, let me know something. Of the places you have gone — sailing — what would you say was the best place ever. I am at a wonderful point in my life (age 61, kids grown, single, calm and open) where, combined with my love of the ocean and sailing, I am ready to depart the corporate life and jump on a sailboat as crew. So could you please give me a starting point.
Thank you to all the sharks that participated in this filming……bark bark theres a shark……………great video,be well………xx
Another INCREDIBLE video. Thanks for sharing. I am like the early Nikki, afraid of sharks and fearful. Now, after seeing this I want to learn to SCUBA.
Hi Brave Persons!! Beautiful coral and sharks …. yet goosebumps 🙂 I could feel the warm ocean breezes as you were walking around the island…. love love love that Milky Way!! What does it smell like there – like flowers??? ocean??? Thanks for sharing and keep smiling 🙂
Love this! Thanks for sharing such an amazing experience.
Also, the freak vending machine reference cracked me up and now has me wondering… haha.
Wow – a heart-pumping experience! Thanks for doing the diving for me – I’m not brave enough! Magnificent footage and terrific scenery as always. Stay safe and continue having the adventure of a lifetime! 👍😳🦈🙏💓
A-Maze-balls! Would love to do this one day.
You left out ice cream. You love ice cream. You guys have a cool cat.
Seems like some shows 2 some only 1? I like the cat.
Greg and Gretchen
What Jo said!
Enjoy the adventure.
Great video. You guys are certainly LIVING IT!
Hellen Keller was a scaredy cat. The world knows this. 😂
Epic video, guys!! Grande cajones!!!
Safe travels!! (But not too safe, because of….you know…the Helen Keller thing.)
Jim and Jon
Amazing footage. Amazing experience for you. Life is short go for the Gusto! Thank you for sharing. I will stay with my safe motorcycle riding! Hah!
Hi Nikki and Jason, thanks for another incredible video. I know you said sharks are given a bum rap but you’re still a lot braver than I’ll ever be. Lucky I can experience this underwater world through your eyes. Safe travels.
Amazing, thanks for sharing the adrenaline rush and loved the tour on land.
Terry and Sondra Christofferson
Well said Nikki! No shells for this couple here either. We love our adventures and as far as a couple there is nothing better for a strong relationship then to share those adventures. Keep living Nikki and Jason!