A few lucky contest winners will be granted the chance to spend a night amongst sharks through an event organised by the Aquarium of Paris and holiday rental website Airbnb, creating a research platform in the process.
Contestants must enter the competition through the rental sharing website and write a bit about themselves including why they should be the ones to win by midnight on April 3.
Following the selection, different sets of winners will be flown to Paris and hosted on April 11, 12, 13, treating them to an experience unlike anything they have ever encountered.
"During the evening, the winners will have a private tour of the aquarium, our host Frederic Buyle will spend time with them as well as the biologist. The idea is to explain the life of sharks, how they live, and explain their different behaviours. They'll be able to feed the baby sharks, and after they'll have dinner. Finally, they'll be able to go into the structure, which is right there, and be able to look at the thirty-five sharks of six different species," said Airbnb partnership director Anne-Sophie Frenove.
Safety conditions such as weight, medical fitness and age have been set by both organising parties. The two guests have to be over 18 and together must weigh less than 190 kg and be able to climb in and out of the bedroom.
The structure, a 360-degree underwater bedroom sitting in three million litres of water, took months to build by Etienne Clamagirand of Architeuthis and was tested for durability in the Mediterranean Sea.
Though Architeuthis, a company based in Marseille in the south of France, specialises in marine and underwater projects, Clamagirand was first wary when confronted with building such a structure. At first, he said it was impossible. The pressure, so to speak, was too great.
While Airbnb's scheduled event begins and ends in April, the structure will remain intact hopefully long after the contest winners have checked out of their underwater humble abode.
The bed and pillows will be removed, morphing the structure into a hub for scientists and biologists to conduct research, the first of its kind, on the Aquarium's sharks.
Hailing from Belgium, the host of the event is world-record holder, freediver and photographer Fred Buyle. A shark enthusiast, he has been diving with sharks since he was thirteen.
Buyle dives and swims about the shark tank in harmony with his finned friends. For Buyle, an event like this represents a unique opportunity.
By spending time with the winners and teaching them more about the shark species, as they make the shark tank their home for a night, Fred hopes to alter the misconception regardingsharks.
"Yes of course, sharks are really really misunderstood. I was born in the seventies, I'm from what I call the Jaws generation. We've all been really marked by the movie, and all the kids of my age were really afraid of the ocean and I think going in the water with the sharks was a way for me to learn about them and not be afraid anymore. And as soon as you get in the water with a shark, you realise that they are not these mindless killers portrayed in the media, and you start to like them, and you understand that they don't want any harm to you," he said.
For him, it is imperative to change public opinion because of the vital role of sharks within the ecosystem.
"People need to understand that sharks are not dangerous, there are only dangerous behaviours with sharks. So it's (the Airbnb event) 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 like crucial for the ecosystem. If sharks disappear, we disappear, basically. They are very very useful for the ecosystem," Buyle said.
Buyle will help Airbnb and the Aquarium of Paris pick the contest winners, selecting those who display a keen interest in sharks and marine study.