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I’d like to think I’m one of the few people in the world who can casually say they’ve fed a shark and lived to tell the tale.
Of course, I was hyperventilating, super nervous, made Heath hold my hand the whole time, scared out of my mind.
Florida Keys Day 4:
This is part 1 of 2, because day four in the Keys was CRAZY.
I’ll give you the details of where we ate, camped, and links to all the fun activities we experienced in part two. For now, let’s talk about these sharks.
We left Fiesta Key RV Resort pretty early in the morning and with little direction as to what our time at Aquarium Encounters would look like. We did however see quite a few “HANDFEED SHARKS” signs featuring the Aquarium on our drive. This is not what I was expecting.
I should’ve known with a name like Aquarium Encounters that this place would be a little more than just looking at cool fish.
When we walked in, there were release form packets waiting for us. Yes, packets. It was four pages of “I acknowledge that a shark may rip my arm off and I totally won’t sue you guys if it happens.”
Not exactly the warm, don’t worry this will be fun, welcome I was expecting.
After signing the forms, they gave us wristbands where I had this fun conversation:
“Okay you’ll need to wear this wristband to get in the water.”
“Which one do you want to keep?”
I mean, she was joking. It was funny. I wasn’t scared.
Will, our snorkeling guide for the day, gathered our group of nine all together and explained to us what would happen. He sent us to the showers to wash off any soap, lotion, sunscreen, and makeup we had on before we would climb into our wetsuits and swim with the fish.
Have you ever tried putting on a wetsuit? It took me about five minutes and unless you’re Karlie Kloss it’s extremely unflattering.
After squeezing into our suits, we climbed into the tank where we put on our fins and masks. I wondered internally how many other mouths had used my snorkel, but it tasted more like salt than anything else. Will gave us more instructions (seen in the video above) on our adventures for the day: how to feed the fish and how to feed the sharks.
That’s when he said this little nonchalant quip:
“Okay feeding the sharks. You don’t have to worry about the sharks, they’re always hungry.”
HOW I AM SUPPOSED TO NOT WORRY AFTER YOU PUT ME IN THIS FISH SUIT AND JUST TOLD ME THE SHARKS ARE STARVED.
In all reality, the fish tank and the shark tank are separated by a pane of glass and we would be feeding the sharks through holes in the glass. But I’ve seen Jaws and I was really skeptical about being two inches from a ravenous shark’s teeth.
We spent our first half of time feeding the colorful fish in the happy tank before we swam over to the death tank (sorry, dangerous creatures tank) to feed the sharks. It was every bit as exhilarating as it sounds.
A big thank you to Aquarium Encounters for sharing the underwater footage from this adventure. (We weren’t allowed to bring our own cameras into the tank.)
I did not realize until watching the footage that some people even fed eels. EELS. That’s even scarier than a shark!
Sheesh I’m getting anxiety just remembering this adventure.
After climbing out of the tank and peeling out of the wetsuits, we had some time to explore the rest of the aquarium. As far as aquariums go, this is probably the most interactive I’ve seen. We could touch and feed sting rays, hold star fish, and feed wild sharks out in the bay.
And that was all before noon!
Stay tuned for Day 4, Part 2 where we partner up with the Coast Guard and SAVE A SEA TURTLE. Oh man. It was awesome.
Look back at Day 1: Arriving in Miami Beach!
Look back at Day 2: Renting from Cruise America
Look back at Day 3: Snorkeling! Until we crashed our drone in the ocean.