Experience seeing sharks while snorkeling?

Just wanted to see if anyone would like to describe their most exciting experience seeing a shark while snorkeling.

As a kid I grew up snorkeling on family vacations in the Northumberland Straight, of Canada’s Nova Scotia province. Not the clearest water, or the most sea life, but it was a great way to get started. I loved it, being a part of another world, but always had a fear in the back of my mind, mainly of seeing a shark. As I grew up I was able to continue snorkeling in more exotic locations, and always tried to plan my vacations around it. Always loved it, but honestly always was afraid of seeing a shark.

A few years ago me and my wife stayed on Tobacco Cay in Belize for 3 nights. Incredible experience and I hope to go back one day. Every day we would snorkel the reef right off the dock and we also took a couple day trips to other parts of the reef.

The last spot on the last day we stopped at the edge of a quarter mile long channel that cut through the barrier reef, our guide said they sometimes see larger animals there, like dolphins, and once a whale shark. This location had a current, so we would anchor the boat and swim against the current, then let the current push us back to the boat when we finished.

It was great, big schools of fish, beautiful coral walls and endless viz-ability . Once we got to the edge of the channel the group kind of huddled around the guide who was pointing out some tarpon. But I had an urge to head out into the open water, something just told me to break away from the group and head out into the deep water alone. I felt a thrill as I quickly swam away and watching the sea floor gradually drop deeper I noticed the water was becoming milkier, viz-ability was dropping. I knew it was very sharky conditions.

I was looking down at the bottom watching it get deeper and deeper, it was probably about 30-40 feet deep at this point and probably a bout 75 feet of viz. When I looked up a few seconds later, there it was, a huge shark, silhouetted against the milky blue, about 75 feet away, at the edge of the visability but clearly outlined. Before I could even think I heard a scream, it was me screaming through my snorkel! I could hear “The Crocodile Hunter” Steve Irwin’s voice in my head “Danger Danger Danger” I thought it was a tiger shark, since that was the biggest shark in these waters that I knew of. I froze, made my body vertical in the water, I heard somewhere that this will let them know you’re not food. I started swimming backwards slowly keeping my eyes on it all the while. Once it disappeared back into the murky distance I turned and swam towards the group, all I wanted to do was get back to the group!

I didn’t want to scare my wife, so I told her let’s head back to the boat, told the group I saw a huge shark , swam back out to tell this Australian couple what I saw and the guy didn’t believe me. I swam back to the boat, jumped in with the ladder still up, and put the ladder down for the rest.

When the guide and the Aussie couple got back to the boat he asked me why I came back early, since I was usually the last one back in the boat. I told him I saw a huge shark, he asked me “how big?”, I told him “as big as the boat!”, the boat was like 20 feet. He says “Ooooh you saw de Bull Shark!” I say"I think it was a Tiger" But apparently there’s a big momma bull shark that goes there to have babies, people have seen it over the years and it’s huge. He had seen it a few years before.

When we got back to Tobacco Cay I was a star, I was the man who saw the Bull Shark! Everyone wanted to hear me tell this tale! Everyone told me how lucky I was to see it, and I felt cool as I told the story and drank my Belikan beer!

But later that night as I was trying to sleep my mind kept replaying the encounter over and over, and it still does pretty frequently even over 3 years later, just last night I was thinking about it!

Since then I’ve been lucky enough to go on a few other snorkeling trips, and have had other encounters with sharks, but this one was my first and also biggest one I’ve seen.