An intense way to fall in love

An intense way to fall in love
A file photo of a tiger shark.

Sharks are probably not the first things that come to mind when you think of romance, but it was hundreds of hammerheads that brought this unlikely couple together.

Thinking about sharks doesn't often conjure up images of romance, but it was this apex predator that brought me and my now-husband, Joerg, together.

To be clear it wasn't just one shark - it was hundreds of them. Cocos Islands, located 550km west of mainland Costa Rica, is one of the few places on Earth where divers can observe the large schools of hammerhead sharks that come to feed in the nutrient-rich waters. It was this natural phenomenon that drew both Joerg and I to the same 10-day live-aboard dive trip.

It certainly wasn't love at first sight. He was cute, but he looked so serious that I assumed he was a killjoy and avoided him the first day. Joerg admitted to finding me attractive, but "there were so many people, and you were so shy, it took me a few days before I really noticed you," he recalled.

The real connection started forming 30m below the surface, in the shark-infested waters. On the first dive, my assigned dive buddy swam off as soon as she entered the water. I was one of the least experienced divers and panicked at the thought of it being me versus 80 hammerhead sharks.

Joerg was an experienced dive master, and seeing my discomfort, took me under his wing. His being there allowed me to relax and enjoy being outnumbered by sharks. Back on the boat, we began to goof around, and over the next few days that evolved into flirting. But Joerg, a German, flirts differently than Canadians do, and I was often left a bit confused. For example, when we were putting on our diving gear, I tried to tease him, only to be met with a stony glare.

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