The search for true love can often be described as a scary one, but six North West singletons took the ultimate leap of faith (into a four-million litre shark tank in Ellesmere Port) last weekend.
Blue Planet Aquarium’s dive team turned their fins to matchmaking, and sought out adrenaline-seeking singles to embark on the ultimate first-date experience.
The date was a world first: an underwater blind date.
From a pool (…!) of hundreds of applicants, the six daring daters were selected and paired up for a first date like no other.
Just a few minutes after meeting for the first time, they donned wetsuits, undertook scuba training, and dived with Europe’s largest collection of sharks – including sand tiger sharks, zebra sharks and reef sharks.
Inspired by Channel 4’s much-loved show, First Dates, Blue Planet’s team of Cupids sought out a mix of daters.
Briony compared herself to cheese and onion crisps – for being cheesy and making boys cry – and was paired with Chid, who’d compare himself to Yes Man.
He certainly proved himself, getting right in at the deep end and saying a big ‘yes’ to a drink with Briony after the dive.
Batman fans Jess and Lauren first laid eyes on one another before taking the plunge. They had a great time, but didn’t exchange numbers.
Jess, who’d dived before said the experience was incredible, and Lauren had a close encounter with the tank’s biggest shark, Wilma.
“That was the only scary bit!” said Lauren – although she knew she was in safe hands the aquarium’s dive team.
Sparks flew between Krystal and Michael, who went for a meal after the dive and are now arranging another date.
When asked if they’d do the dive again, the responses we resoundingly positive from all of the couples taking part.
Phil Jones, sales and marketing manager at Blue Planet, said: “There’s a real interest in unique dates right now.
“We’ve seen that trend cause a spike in ticket sales from young couples in the last few months.
“In light of that, we wanted to do something really special for Valentine’s Day, to bring people together for a first date like no other.
“The couples had an amazing time – and all said they’d do the dive again.
“Shark dives are definitely an unusual way to get to know someone new, but the aquarium is actually quite a romantic setting!
“There’s something about the lighting, the bright colours, and the quiet feeling of being underwater. It’s great!”