Professional diver insists jellyfish are more dangerous than shy sharks
A professional diver who has had hundreds of encounters with sharks has warned people that there's another sea creature that's far more dangerous than the renowned predators.
Kayleigh Grant, from Kona, Hawaii, became fascinated with the often misunderstood species when she discovered a shark's tooth on one of her first dives a decade ago and has since approached huge sharks on a number of occasions.
But while the animals often get a bad reputation, the experienced diver insists that "they aren’t the man-eating monsters the media often portrays" and are usually "more scared of us".
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Speaking about her love for the creatures, she said: "On one of my first ever scuba dives I found a shark's tooth. I was hooked and began pursuing my dive masters.
"I find sharks absolutely beautiful and I understand that their role in the ecosystem as a predator is vital to the health of our oceans.
"They are actually pretty shy and calculated. When I go on a shark dive I always find it fascinating how they are more scared of us than we are of them."
The 35-year-old has revealed that some of the worst injuries she's seen from sea creatures have actually come from jellyfish, not sharks.
She added: "They aren’t the man-eating monsters the media often portrays. The worst encounters with marine life I have witnessed is from jellyfish."
She warned that jellyfish are more worrying as they are far harder to spot and don't have to target swimmers in order to injure them, as sharks do.
Kayleigh says that shark attacks are rare and believes that swimmers shouldn't fear one unless they are swimming in murky water alone and splashing around and panicking at the sight of the creatures.
Despite spending hours at a time in deep water with sharks, the diver has never once feared she'd be killed by the creatures.
She said: "I have logged hundreds or even thousands of shark dives at this point.
"It’s incredibly rare for them to mistake us as their food. When we enter their home we do take a risk.
"That’s why through my videos I hope to show how to avoid a negative interaction with sharks."
Since she began diving, Kayleigh has been determined to rehabilitate the shark's image in the mind of the public.
However, she does still warn that sharks are predators and they can remain dangerous when a human enters their environment.
She said that in a worrying environment the key to keeping safe is staying calm, maintaining eye contact, and putting something between yourself and the animal.
Kayleigh hopes that more people will become open to swimming with sharks and will re-think their perception of the animals.
She added: "People truly love to see the sharks and often change their perception of them after finally meeting one.
"The average person is probably scared or weary of sharks.
"They are top predators and very capable animals, so I can definitely understand where this fear comes from."
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