Best Places to Dive with Sharks

Sharks.  They are one of the few animals on Earth, which man still fears.  They are a credit to evolution (or creation if you swing that way), as they are the perfect aquatic hunting machine.  They can track blood for miles.  They can sense the rhythm of a wounded or dying creature trying to swim.  But it’s the jaws and their multiple rows of razor sharp teeth that pull our attention.  That being said, it’s really the stealth where most of our fear comes from.  While in the water, we are already out of our element, and you simply can’t see a shark coming. 

Whale Shark-Mike Johnston290Creative Commons License Photo credit: Mike Johnston

Whale Shark

The irony is, that implies an exaggeration.  Whenever there is a shark attack in the United States, it often makes the national news.  It’s newsworthy, because it’s rare.  Consider that.  Shark attacks are rare.  While sharks may be perfectly designed aquatic hunters, they are also relatively peaceful creatures.  Diving with sharks can be a wonderful, exciting excursion allowing one to face one’s fear, get outside, and enjoy some of the most beautiful places on Earth.

Africa

[youtube]D4S4BXeHvX0[/youtube]

The most popular place for shark diving in Africa is likely South Africa.  There, one can dive with the most famous and feared shark of all, the Great White.  A 45 minute boat ride south of Gansbaal will take you to an area of the Atlantic Ocean known as “Shark Alley”.  The islands there are full of seals, the sharks’ favorite food, and a natural bay is formed giving the sharks a perfect hunting ground.  Besides South Africa, the north coast of Kenya is another great place for shark diving.  Especially if one wants to see Whale Sharks.

Galapagos Islands

[youtube]ZCc6FebzeZM[/youtube]

Charles Darwin made these islands famous with their unique and beautiful wildlife.  The islands even have a shark named after them, the Galapagos shark.  Other species can also be found here, but the most amazing are the scalloped hammerheads.  These sharks form huge schools.  Where as one may be used to a dozen or so sharks on a successful dive, schools of scalloped hammerheads around the Galapagos Islands can reach to groups of over a hundred.  This is without doubt one of the most amazing underwater sites on Earth and should not be missed if one is an avid shark diver.

Asian South Pacific

Sharks in Rangiroa-tensaibuta785Creative Commons License Photo credit: tensaibuta

Sharks in Rangiroa

Two locations in the Asian south pacific are especially known to be great places for shark diving.  The first is the Philippines.  The other is Thailand.  These areas of the Asian south Pacific lie right in the center of the migration paths for a number of shark species.  Suffice to say, this makes for some excellent shark diving.

United States

Hammerhead Sharks in coral reef

Hammerhead sharks in coral reef

There are a number of places in the United States to go Shark diving.  One of the favorites is southern California, especially between Los Angeles and San Diego.  Boats take adventurers out to much deeper water where one can cage dive, or even explore without the protection of steel.  Other areas include Florida and even Rhode Island.  Florida is the number one location for shark attacks on the North American continent.  Unlike California, the water is also much warmer.  Species in Florida include tiger sharks, hammerhead, bull sharks, and even whale sharks.  If cold water is more of one’s forte, then they should check out Rhode Island.  Blue sharks are known to gather off the coast during their migration.  Just be sure to bring your wetsuit.

Bahamas

Shark Feeding Dive-manoellemos690Creative Commons License Photo credit: manoellemos

Shark Feeding Dive

The Bahamas are known for their crystal clear water, which obviously makes them a fantastic location for shark diving.  With the islands already a popular destination for divers in general, shark diving comes with the territory and can be found offered by many diving locations.  Unlike other areas such as California, where dives take place in deep water, shark dives in the Bahamas usually take place around shallow reefs.

Australia

Blacktip reef shark from the great barrier reef

Blacktip reef shark from the great barrier reef

If you’re going to mention Shark Diving then you have to mention Australia.  Why?  Three words.  Great Barrier Reef.  The water is also crystal clear like the Bahamas, another reason why Australia is known for some of the best diving in the southern hemisphere.  So what about shark diving?  Its waters are teaming with reef sharks.  In the south, especially around Adelaide, great whites are even known to roam.  It’s tough to go wrong with Australia.

South America

Shark Diving-Barnaby603Creative Commons License Photo credit: Barnaby

Shark Diving

When looking for shark diving in South America, look to Brazil.  The lemon shark is a favorite in the region, but the one making all the news for the past few years has been Brazil’s bull shark.  The beaches of Brazil recently had an influx of bull shark attacks at one of its favorite beaches.  While the media tried to hype it up as “the sharks rebelling against humanity”, the reality was harbor construction in the area had moved the sharks feeding ground.  Worse, a nearby  slaughterhouse had been illegally dumping its waste into the ocean, effectively pouring chum into the waters where Brazil’s surfers play.

England

the lady and the shark-candiche407Creative Commons License Photo credit: candiche

Basking shark in Cornwall

When one thinks of shark diving, one probably doesn’t think of England.  This is a shame, since England might be one of the best places of all to dive with sharks.  Why, you may ask?  Because England is home to one of the few shark aquariums in the world that actually allows visitors to dive into the tank and swim around.  Blue Planet Aquarium in Liverpool is the place, and they have been doing it for over a decade now.  Even better, you can bring your friends and have them watch in comfort outside the tank as you show off your shark diving prowess.  If diving into aquariums isn’t for you though, England does have the occasional basking shark off the coast of Cornwall, and there’s nothing to stop a person from jumping in for a closer look.

No matter what continent you’re on (except perhaps Antarctica), there is someplace where one may go to easily experience sharks.  They are a misunderstood and beautiful predator, worthy of a closer look.

Creative Commons Licensephoto credit: Flickr/Thespis377

Read more:
Book Review: 500 Places to See Before They Disappear

Frommer's 500 Places to See Before They Disappear by Holly Hughes is another in a long list of "must see"...

The Best Parks in San Francisco

San Francisco is a delightful place to visit in September and October. The weather is mild and often sunny. The...

Jungles of New Zealand – Travel Photo of the Moment

The Travel Photo of the Moment is of The sub-tropical jungles of Northland, New Zealand

Close