Meet Shark Diving Guide Hamna Hussain
Hamna "Hampty" Hussain is the first female dive master from Fuvahmulah in The Maldives. While relatively new to the world of diving, Hamna is sharing her passion for the ocean and sharks with people around the world. She is also inspiring women and young women everywhere to pursue diving opportunties.
Follow her journey on INSTAGRAM
1. What is your favorite species of shark and why?
This is such a difficult question to answer. I love all sharks in general, but my favorite definitely has to be the tiger sharks. They're so intelligent and mesmerizing. I've been diving with them everyday for a whole year now. Though I see them everyday they still take my breath away every time. The power they have in the water, their ability to control the whole energy of the atmosphere, it never fails to leave me in awe. And I personally feel like they are my spirit animals. They are capable of utter destruction, yet they are so gentle and so curious.
Hamna with a beautiful Tiger Shark Credit: Raphael Gatti
2. What is one species of shark you would love to see or swim with?
Ooh it definitely has to be a great white. I cant imagine how it must feel to share the water with a great white looking right at you. What a beautiful feeling that must be
3. Can you tell us why you started scuba diving? Why did you start shark diving?
My scuba journey has been the most insane journey of my life. My Discover Scuba Diving class ( DSD) was with the tiger sharks, here in my home island. After I got certified, that I had an offer standing from Pelagic Divers Fuvahmulah to become the first female dive master from the island, but I had to wait. Basically, the pandemic took everything from me, my life, my career, everything. After being beaten up by the world, I thought to myself, "I've already lost everything, let me just try this out, its not gonna get any worse than this." Little did I know that was the decision that was going to change my life. I moved back to Fuvahmulah, started diving. Within the first week of diving I was convinced this was my calling, this was where I belong.
4. What is one of the most amazing moments you have had underwater?
Although my scuba journey so far has been a short one, I was lucky enough to witness some incredible things under water. Let me try to list my top three.
-First one was my first oceanic manta encounter. That was my 6th dive ever. We were in the open ocean. Just hovering in mid water with nothing but a paralyzing blue all around us, and this huge thing just came flying towards me, it kept getting bigger and bigger, came inches away from me and made a 360 flip. I was in utter disbelief, how can something this graceful, this beautiful exist in the same plane of existence as me. I came up from the dive and I couldn't hold my tears, definitely one of the best things I've witnessed in my life.
-Second was the dive where I first saw a huge school of scalloped hammerheads. 15 minutes into the dive, I spotted a hammerhead almost 40m below, I was guiding, so I go check on the guests and was helping one of them. I looked down and the hammer was gone. After a minute, I see three hammerheads swimming towards me. I looked back to show the guests and looked in front of me. A huge school of hammerheads just surrounded me, there were almost 70 of them. Just circling around us. My mask kept getting flooded from my tears. It was one of the most beautiful thing I've ever witnessed.
-Third one was one of the tiger dives. That dive even when we jumped from the boat, there were almost 10 tigers, just getting real friendly and coming to check us out. 17 minutes into the dive, I found myself in the middle of 34 tiger sharks. Just circling around me. Including all my favorite sharks as well. I remember being in the middle of that and just realizing the fact that we are nothing but a part of nature, not superior no inferior. Just part of this intricate cycle of life. These sharks teach me so much
5. Why do you think people should dive with sharks?
Us humans, we walk on this planet thinking we are a superior species, with no regard to anything around us. Completely oblivious to the damage and misery we can cause. People are so keen to label sharks as this mindless killing machine, but thats not how it is at all. In fact, it's the exact opposite; these sharks saved my life. Every one of them. They taught me to be humble, they taught me integrity, they taught me how to be gentle, they taught me what life truly is about. We are just a part of this intricate cycle of life , as are they. I feel like sharing the same space with an apex predator, seeing their behavior towards us, seeing them acknowledging me and giving me respect and approval to share their space, its just something I can never put in words, that's something everyone has to experience once in their lifetime.
Image Credit Fabi Fregonesi
6. What is one thing you would tell other young women about diving or working with sharks?
Diving is so much more than just something u can do for leisure, yes it can be that as well. But for me, diving is like meditation, its something that has taught me the power of my mind, its helped me to learn mindfulness, it taught me that there is so much more and so many bigger things beyond myself. Diving has definitely helped me so much with my mental health issues. It helps me with my insomnia, taught me techniques to calm my anxiety, and just being in the water in a state of weightlessness, it definitely made me a better human, spiritually, mentally and physically.