When I took this image of the white tip shark, Triaenodon obesus, it was about one metre from the camera lens. It looks big because it was so close, but was only about 1.4 metres long. Normally these sharks are kind of hard to get close to - at least on normal terms. One can get a lot closer when feeding them - but that's one thing I don't get involved with; feeding them with bait or feeding them with parts of myself.
I have to admit that I don't think sharks are cuddly creatures. I don't trust them. They have a chilly, unintelligent persona and I don't feel comfortable taking my eyes off one when I see it in the water. They normally reciprocate the feeling (humans are a lot more dangerous than sharks) so we tend to go our separate ways pretty quick if we happen to meet unexpectedly. But this shark was apparently unaware of what I was and seemed quite comfortable hanging around. In fact 3 or 4 of its mates were hanging around, too. They were not sure of what kind of creatures Freddy and I were because we were wearing our stunning zebra-striped leotards. You can see Freddy in hers, swimming up the coral gully on the reef behind the shark.
The sharp, high contrast pattern of these leotards confuse our normal human shape in shark eyes (also in fish-eyes) and the reef creatures are a whole lot less worried about us than when we look like a normal human killer fish. The suits also have the benefit (if you call getting close to sharks a benefit) of protecting our tender skins from the sun, the occasional jellyfish or stinging coral. It even holds a little body heat.
For more about diving and snorkelling spots in New Caledonia's fabulous lagoon, check out the cruising guide to New Caledonia.
新喀里多尼亚是离澳大利亚和新西兰最近的南太平洋岛屿。该岛是法国领地且官方语言是法语，尽管如此，其文化却丰富多彩，揉合了美拉尼西亚、欧洲、波利尼西亚、越南、中国、印尼等国的风情。这里有一个多山的大岛，称为大地岛 (Grande Terre)，和6个较小的岛屿——洛亚蒂三岛 (Loyalty Islands)、贝莱普群岛 (Belep) 和松树岛 (Isle of Pines)。 整个群岛人口极为稀少，有大片的荒野。这里有数百公里长的徒步小径、随处可见的露营营地、超过42个公园和保护区、清澈透明的河流和莹莹闪光的瀑布。约三分之一的人口居住在首府努美阿。镍的开采是该国最主要的工业，也是维持其高标准生活的主要经济来源。大地岛四周环绕着世界第二大珊瑚礁，此珊瑚礁形成的泻湖是世界上最大的，也是受保护的泻湖。该泻湖于2008年被列为世界遗产，面积达24000平方公里，是品种丰富的鱼类和无脊椎动物栖息之地。 对于刚上岛的游客而言，最引人注目的是这里鲜艳夺目的色彩。努美阿以其完备的酒店、度假酒店、餐馆设施和丰富多彩的活动欢迎游客的到来。