Swimming with the sharks

MARSHALL – For most people, the idea of meeting sharks in their own environment is terrifying, and the bull shark is considered one of the three species most dangerous to man, along with the tiger shark and the great white.

But two weeks ago, Paul Whingelby went down to Mexico specifically to have a look at these fearsome predators.

Paul Whingelby has been a diving enthusiast for 22 years now, or as his wife Dianna says, addicted.

“He’s been all over the world,” Dianna Whingelby said. “He’s made lifelong friends diving.”

Paul Whingelby said he usually goes diving a couple of weeks during the winter. He likes spearfishing for walleye and bass in the Missouri River.

In 1991, he tried shipwreck diving in Lake Superior, and in 1998, he had his first ocean dive off Puerto Rico. Since then he’s been as far away as the graveyard of World War II ships off Grand Truk Island in the South Pacific.

“Ninety feet down,” Paul Whingelby said, “and the thing is everything is preserved. The guns, the munitions and the Japanese Zero airplanes on the bottom.”

His last trip to Riviera Maya, Mexico, was the first time in the area, though he’s been to other dive spots in Mexico and Honduras.

“I had my new camera and wanted to get some good shots,” Paul Whingelby said. “On February 5th, I saw some but didn’t get any good shots, so I went back with a group on the 9th. We were diving a shipwreck about 90 feet deep, and there were four bull sharks. They were not aggressive at all. More curious than anything.”

Paul Whingelby returned to the rather mundane world of automotive repair in a snowy Minnesota winter but with a set of beautiful photos of sharks, coral, a moray eel and an eagle ray spotted like a leopard on his desk computer to remind him and show friends and visitors of what wonders there are in the world for those who dare to seek them out.