The thresher sharks at Malapasqua

The small island of Malapasqua, located just north of Cebu (Philippines), is particularly famous among divers. Because at a nearby sunken island, Monad Shoal, thresher sharks can be observed with a very high probability, which normally tend to stay in deeper water. Early in the morning, the sharks come here to be cleaned by cleaner fish in the “Cleaning Stations”.

At 4:30 in the morning I have a coffee in the dive shop, get into the boat at dusk and jump into the water shortly after sunrise. We follow the rope of a buoy down to the plateau of Monad Shoal, dive to the edge and sink along a steep slope to about 25 m depth. Ropes are stretched here in several places, we kneel on the bottom and wait. As no shark appears, we switch to the next rope after a few minutes, then to the third. And here one of the majestic animals is indeed circling. It is perhaps 3 m tall, with huge eyes and above all an enormously long tail fin. We squeeze in between other divers, a total of maybe 50 divers kneel to the left and right of us. And because we are on a steep slope, the background behind the shark is deep blue. I inevitably have the feeling that this is not real, rather it feels like sitting in a cinema, in the middle of the audience, staring at a screen. And the sharks also look like they are from a cartoon. Very soon we have to start our ascent, in the depths the air consumption is high and quite quickly nitrogen accumulates in the blood.

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