MANY people shudder at the thought of a daily swim with sharks, but a Deakin University marine science graduate describes them as "cute".
Jon Lau has been on an interesting career path since he finished his course and now he is heading in another direction, taking a diving course in underwater scientific research.
The course will prepare Mr Lau to work safely and effectively as part of a dive team doing research and surveys, archaeological investigations and natural resource management.
Mr Lau graduated with distinction in 2005 with a degree in marine and freshwater science from Deakin University in Warrnambool.
Among his recent jobs has been the role of organising dives for people who want to swim with the sharks at the Melbourne Aquarium.
"The biggest shark in the tank was a grey nurse shark along with sandbar whalers, reef sharks, Port Jackson sharks, a wobbegong that generally hides and stingrays that span up to three metres.
"It's pretty cool when the stingrays glide over your head," Mr Lau said.
"There were leopard sharks that would come up for a nuzzle every now and then. They are pretty cute."
Mr Lau said the dives were safe because the aquarium made sure the sharks were well fed.
"By feeding the fish enough food, there's less chance of in-house predation," he said.
"There's more chance of harm from another diver than any of the animals.
"We always told guests to stay still, they're not going to bite you. They just come over out of sheer curiosity."
Divers are told not to touch the fish.
"They are still wild animals.
"Although they are pretty tame, you don't want to scare them, it's their environment," he said.
Mr Lau has also encountered bull sharks in the wild while diving off northern Queensland.
He said his passion for marine biology meant he was more interested in bull sharks than scared of them.
Mr Lau recently left as shark dive coordinator at the Melbourne Aquarium and is now instructing with a Melbourne dive shop while preparing to undertake the course in scientific dives in Vanuatu.
He said the course would hopefully allow him to closely combine his marine biology degree with his diving.