Good night, sleep tight, don't let the sharks bite

For three nights next month, winners of a competition organised by the Paris Aquarium and Airbnb get to sleep with sharks circling them.
For three nights next month, winners of a competition organised by the Paris Aquarium and Airbnb get to sleep with sharks circling them.PHOTO: REUTERS

PARIS • The house rules are clear: No swimming at night, keep your head and feet in the bedroom at all times, and avoid watching Jaws beforehand. It might put you off the sharks circling your bed.

A room with a very special view - 35 of the much-feared creatures - is up for grabs at the Paris Aqua- rium for those looking for a night's sleep with a difference.

Submerged in a 10m-deep aqua- rium with just a see-through wall separating guests from the sharks swimming in 3 million litres of water, the cylinder-shaped room for two - with a round bed occupying most of the space - is not for the faint-hearted.

But for those curious and brave enough, it will be available for three nights next month as part of a competition organised by the aquarium and holiday home rental website Airbnb.

The underwater sleepover will aim to teach the three winners and their guests about the species, with the host, freediver Fred Buyle, introducing them to their overnight neighbours by "danc(ing) alongside the sharks".

"Sharks are really, really misunderstood... People need to understand that sharks are not dangerous, there are only dangerous behaviours with sharks," Mr Buyle said.

"It's a great opportunity to show people that you can swim with sharks, you can be with sharks and nothing bad happens, but also that we need to protect the sharks because they are... crucial for the ecosystem. If sharks disappear, we disappear, basically."

The structure, which was tested for durability in the waters of the Mediterranean, will be open to competition winners on April 11, 12 and 13, after which it will be turned into a research hub.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 31, 2016, with the headline 'Good night, sleep tight, don't let the sharks bite'. Print Edition | Subscribe