This Experience At The Dubai Mall Will Make You Feel Like You're Living A Discovery Channel Video
Something spectacular in the middle of the mall
Everybody has a bucket list.
You know those 20 things you want to do before you die. I say 20 because I'm trying to be realistic here. It would take early retirement and s*** loads of money to accomplish 100 such things before I die.
So it could be jumping off a plane, eating at a Michelin star restaurant or even going to Coachella - anything that you REALLY want to do. But if you ask me, here's one thing that you should REALLY do. In fact, it should be on everyone's Dubai bucket list.
It's the shark encounter experience at Dubai Aquarium
Just want to give you a heads up that this opportunity is available only until 31 December 2016, so you better get moving N.O.W!
You've posed and clicked pictures outside Dubai Aquarium...
But now it is time to step inside. Don't treat it as "another attraction" in the mall. These guys provide you a fantastic insight into marine life.
Going back to the shark experience...
Information is valuable and lucky for me, the staff here is very knowledgeable about the subject.
Sharks are in this aquarium for a reason...
I was told there are 500 types of sharks and Dubai Aquarium houses nine of them. Before I tell you about my afternoon that was adventurous and exciting, here is something you need to know. The sharks are in this aquarium for a reason and a very strong one - conservation.
Humans kill around 100 million (yup, we're not getting our numbers wrong) sharks a year just for their fins and the poor things are then left bleeding to death. Here, they're safe! And this experience, done with the Discovery Channel Shark Week exhibition, is a great way to understand that when in this aquarium they are fed, the young ones are taken care of and the sick ones are treated.
And they need to do this because sharks are important to the ecosystem...
They remove disease by eating dead fish and also feed on species that are over-populated to bring balance to the system.
You don't need to be a seasoned diver...
As long as you're medically fit you can come face-to-face with sharks at Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo.
So here's what my encounter was like:
1pm: First things first
You're first given a briefing - the video is a quick introduction to sharks and diving. Next, a professional diver from the team explains the common and important signals of diving including: okay, not okay and ascend (aka end dive).
1:25pm: Time to put on the wet suits
After signing a disclaimer, I was asked to change into my wet suits, boots and a weight belt was put around my waist.
1.40pm: In the aquarium
We were asked to step down into the diving cage, one person at a time. We were four of us and each had to wear a bubble-style helmet for oxygen. If you have the slightest fear or nervousness about what could go wrong...they're four others going down with you so that makes you feel a little better. Okay evil thoughts aside, two professional divers accompanied us. The cage was gradually immersed in the water. At every point the divers kept checking on us - with the hand signals, obvs.
2pm: Feeding time
The divers lure the sharks toward the cage with buckets of tuna, mackerel and milkfish. The sharks come straight at the cage, while the medium-sized fish swim through the bars. It's quite like being in an over-sized fish tank with all these beautiful creatures of different sizes and colours swimming right past you. It's absolutely normal to feel excited, calm, curious, free and amazed in just one moment.
They're fed once a day...
You and I would go crazy if we were fed once a day, it works right for these guys. You'd be surprised to know divers actually track which sharks have been fed and those that haven't.
Now to the educating bit...
Following the 30-minute underwater experience, I was taken on a tour of the back-of-house facilities, including learning about the Aquarium’s shark breeding programme.
Food for the sharks
There's a special kitchen where meals are organised.
Divers follow this menu
Some sharks eat algae
It's visible under a microscope.
This is not a bowl of dirty water
Mysid shrimps are bred for feeding young and newborn fish.
The underwater tunnel
At the press of a button, the large screens show you everything you need to know about the different types of sharks. Spend a few minutes playing around with those buttons because the technology is top quality. The images actually display within the tunnel - it looks real.
While you're there, check out the Underwater Zoo
Not a bad finale
So gather the troops and sign up
What: Shark Encounter Experience
Where: Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo, The Dubai Mall
When: 365 days a year
Time: 2pm daily
Price: AED 600 per person including entry to the Aquarium and a back-of-house tour
For more information, visit: www.thedubaiaquarium.com or call 04 448 5200.