SHARKS AT OUR WEDDING
By Dirck Zadeh
In the late summer of 2013 my brother got married to his girlfriend Myrthe. We all went to Marrakech for a sun-drenched 3 day wedding and we all had a lovely time.
When I witnessed my little brother saying I do, I was already 40 years old, but it was just then that the wedding ‘bug’ really hit me. I had been together with my girlfriend Sabine for 13 years and instead of getting married, buying a house and thinking about babies, we had been diving and travelling around the world together.
Looking for the best places to dive often meant that we ended up visiting true honeymoon destinations. Places where we always felt proud to say that ‘No, we are not honeymooners’ and were also glad to be able to just ‘dive into our own little bubble full of fishes and coral’.
But hey, what was that twitch there? Did I suddenly want more?
As I am a native from France (and Sabine adores everything about it) I originally planned to propose to her at the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris. But since she is very attentive (to say the least), I knew that it would be almost impossible to arrange this without her noticing what was going on. Maybe I could find a special moment during our 4 week-holiday in the Bahamas planned for the month of November?
Being the fanatic scuba-diver I am, I had already booked the famous shark dive with Stuart Cove’s Dive Bahamas in New Providence at the end of those 4 weeks. I suddenly knew what to do: I was going to ask her while scuba diving with sharks in the Bahamas!
After 2 weeks on gorgeous Exuma and another 10 days on the beautiful and deserted island of Eleuthera, we finally arrived at New Providence. I had arranged everything already via e-mail, but when arriving at Stuart Cove’s, I was still really nervous and getting worse.
Would Sabine not notice anything? And most important…would she say yes??In the end it all worked out perfectly (thanks Stuart Cove-team!) and I proposed to her surrounded by our beloved and admired sharks on a rainy and cloudy day in November 2013. And yes, she gave me the OK-signal!
At the end of the dive we felt really grateful to have been in the presence of those beautiful creatures and both finding a shark tooth even made us feel a little blessed by them. So we knew right away these animals had to become a part of our wedding adventure. Having witnessed the damage done to some of the sharks, Sabine who (as a vegan) cares deeply for animals, provided that she would only get married to me if we would raise money to save the sharks through our wedding. And so we did!
We asked our guests, as a wedding gift, to help us raise money for shark conservation and shark awareness by donating to ‘Operation Requiem’ from the Sea Shepherd-organization and/or drop something in our own little handcrafted box.
We ended up raising more than EUR 2.000,– and maybe just as important initiated a lot of buzz about sharks from people who previously only thought of them as creepy and ugly. We were aware that EUR 2.000,– is hardly a drop in a bucket compared to what is needed worldwide to save the sharks, but we hoped some good could be done with also a little amount.
For our honeymoon, where else to go to then to French Polynesia to dive the famous passes of Fakarava, known for their healthy shark population? There we witnessed a reef environment where sharks are still very much present. Knowing that we might have contributed a little to sustain this for the future made the encounter even more special. With the pulverized shark-teeth processed in our wedding-rings though, we feel the presence of these magnificent creatures every day. Which keeps us feeling blessed for having met them already so many times and urged to keep on striving to do all we can to save them.
Dirck Zadeh is the owner and founder of The DiveSpot Team. This is a Dive Travel Information Website which he runs together with his wife, his brother and his Dutch dive buddy Jeroen den Burger. For more info visit www.thedivespotteam.com