Myth buster #1: Shark Diving and YOUR Bodily Fluids
Female divers and wetsuit urinators rejoice! Sharks are not attracted to your bodily fluids. As a female diver in the shark diving industry, I get this question more than any others: is it safe to dive with sharks on your period? Yes. Sharks are attracted to fish blood, not your blood. Just as the smell of fresh baked goods makes us salivate and a whiff of gasoline makes us nauseous, sharks are just as keenly attuned to the smell of an appetizing meal versus the unappetizing smell of your urine and/or blood. Humans are not on their menu, but fish are! So unless you are juicy tuna disguised as a human diver, you have nothing to worry about.
We grossly underestimate the superpower-like sense of smell that sharks have. In fact, according to ReefQuest Center for Shark Research, 2/3 of the shark brain is dedicated to their sense of smell. Swimming side to side allows them to detect tiny diluted chemicals as they pass over each nostril, identify what they are, where they are coming from, and if they are worth pursuing. Unless they are pheromones from a lady shark in heat, or a fish in distress, they are not worth the shark’s precious time and energy to go and check it out. This is why many shark diving operations need lots of foul smelling fish chum to attract the sharks for those close encounters, otherwise they just can’t be bothered unless its a natural aggregation site. Still don’t believe me? Mark Rober set up an experiment where he pumped human blood, and urine from surfboards in shark infested waters in the Bahamas, and to everyone’s surprise there was no interest from any of the 41 sharks that had been recently spotted in the area. Rest assured, you can still pee in your wetsuit and dive while on your period without the risk of being eaten.
If you are interested in learning more about sharks and their behavior, sign up for our Project Aware Shark Conservation Course. Then, join our shark experts in Cabo San Lucas, to see these incredible species up-close and in person where you can test the theory for yourself;)