Craig Ferguson's Shark Diving Adventure

Craig Ferguson swimming with sharks in the Bahamas. CBS

Sharks usually inspire fear and fascination.

Recently, Craig Ferguson, host of "The Late Late Show," experienced both as he dove into the deep with these often misunderstood creatures.

"Early Show" co-anchor Julie Chen spoke to Ferguson about his adventure.

Pictures: Swimming with the Sharks

Ferguson is a certified diver. He volunteered to go along with cameras and swim with sharks for a program called "Shark Bites: Adventures in Shark Week," for the Discovery Channel.

For more than 20 years, Discovery Channel crews have been boldly diving into shark-infested waters, capturing incredible images of sharks in their natural environment.

This year, Ferguson, an award-winning host, was along, and found himself fascinated by the powerful predators. However, leaving the safety of his desk for a chance to dive with reef sharks in the Bahamas wasn't always easy.

On the deck of the dive boat, he was asked by a crew member, "All right guys -- you ready? Craig?"

He replied, "No."

When Ferguson got underwater, immediately there were sharks everywhere.

He told Chen he was nervous.

He explained, "Before I went diving, I looked at all of the possible scenarios and none of them was good. It was horrifying."

The show with Ferguson, "Shark Bites: Adventures in Shark Week" features first-person accounts from shark attack survivors. Many stories feature stunning video of actual attacks. One featured on the show features a crew of a research ship enjoying a swim in the South Pacific when suddenly, a 16-foot shark attacks, dragging its victim underwater. The woman survived, but not before losing her right leg to the sharks massive jaws.

Stories like that weighed heavily on Ferguson as he prepared for his own shark encounter. Ferguson had hoped the experts he was trusting his life to would ease his mind.

Ferguson told Chen, "I said, 'Have any of you gotten a shark bite?' And they all said, 'Yeah,' and they all showed, everyone of them showed me a bite here and a bite there. But they said, 'Try to keep your heart rate steady. Don't make any sudden moves, keep your hands close to your chest and when the sharks come in, don't look too tasty.'"

Ferguson said nothing can prepare you for diving with sharks.

"(Sharks are) very, kind of, almost playful. They kind of bump into you. .. The trouble is, it has very very sharp teeth!."

So would Ferguson do it again?

He told Chen, "No, I will never do it again. Interacting with wild animals in their environment is dangerous. They don't play by your rules. I was a visitor, and I'm grateful I was allowed in there. And now I'm not going back."

Chen added on "The Early Show" that Ferguson told her feeding the sharks was a life-changing experience. He said he couldn't believe how big sharks are when you're right next to them.

In fact, Ferguson told Chen when he agreed to shoot the show, he thought he'd be in a shark cage. However, he wasn't completely unprotected. He wore special gloves made of chainmail to help protect hands from sharks' teeth.

Chen said Ferguson described his experience with the sharks as "terrifying, yet exhilarating."

Ferguson says he was fascinated by sharks when he was 12 years old. The inspiration? It was the first time he watched Steven Spielberg's "Jaws." He also loved the book by Peter Benchley.

"Shark Bites: Adventures in Shark Week" airs Wednesday night on Discovery Channel.
  • CBSNews

Comments