Diving with sharks has got to be one of the most thrilling experiences a person can undertake in their lifetime. I remember the first time I went diving and bumped in to a shark. In 2002 I was a novice diver and decided to join a group trip I’d seen advertised to the Red Sea. On the 3rd day we headed off to shark reef and descending down in to the blue we spotted 3 black tip reef sharks feeding on a school of barracudas. From that moment I decided that I wanted to change my career to one in diving and have as many shark encounters as possible.
I have spent many hours on my lap top and ipad surfing the internet to find the best shark diving experiences. I have undertaken many of these including a ‘Shark Special’ to the Red Sea where we spotted loads of Oceanic White Tips, Threshers, a couple of hammerheads, grey reef sharks and we just missed an encounter with a Tiger Shark.
This is therefore my top 10 bucket list of shark encounters:
1. Galapagos Islands – famed for hundreds of schooling hammerheads, giant whale sharks, galapagos sharks, silkies and even the possibility of a tiger
2. Cocos Islands – again probably more hammerhead sharks then anywhere found on earth. A friend of mine who recently went there was telling me that turned around to point out the 2 silky sharks in front of them, when he did a huge tiger was heading straight for him and glided past him about 5 feet away. Needles to say that he was just slightly suprised.
3. South Africa – the Sardine Run is where dozens of different types of sharks come to feed on the migrating sardines. You can also include dives to a few other dive sites for some close up encounters. Species in South Africa you can expect to find are bulls, reef, tigers and ragged tooth. A trip down the coast and you can go cage diving with Great Whites.
4. Guadelupe – Off the Californian coast this is probably one of the best places in the world to cage dive with great whites as the water is so clear.
5. Ningaloo Reef, Australia – each year dozens of large whale sharks descend on this less well known reef system in Australia.
6. Maldives – there are a number of Shark Specials to the Maldives where you can encounter many different shark species including Hammerheads, whale sharks are frequently spotted, manta rays (although not strictly a shark they are from the same species), big reef sharks and possibly a small chance of tigers and other less common species. Generally it is worth doing a 10-14 night trip to see the less common things as they tend to be in the far south.
7. Bahamas – there are a couple of sites where you get to dive with dozens of caribbean reef sharks and a few special trips and liveaboards to dive with the Lemon sharks, Tigers and also Great Hammerheads – not one for the nervous diver.
8. Djibouti – I had the pleasure of travelling there in 2007. During the winter months whale sharks use this as a breeding ground. On some occassions floating around us where 5 or 6 whale sharks at a time. In fact there were so many of them that after about the 2nd day we were only getting in the water if there were two of them together and they were feeding, which meant they were stationary. One of the whale sharks swam straight in to me with its mouth open – jump, I lept about 10 foot in the air!
9. The Red Sea – the Shark Special liveaboard trips that run in the Red Sea are a little more hit and miss as the Oceanic’s are in abundance in different levels. I’ve done this trip twice now, the first time we saw sharks on every dive and spent hours surrounded by Oceanic white tips. The second time there were very few sightings that year, although there were one or two hammerheads, Threshers and plenty of reef sharks. It’s a stunning week regardless of the number of dives though and always good value for money.
10. Philippines – Malapascua Island is world known location of diving with very rare Thresher sharks (on Monad Shoal). Whitetip and Hammerhead sharks (Kimud Shoal) are frequently found in the area.
Our dive club has a few trips coming up with the chance to dive with sharks:
Mexico June 2015 – Whale Sharks
Galapagos 2017 – Hammerheads, silkies, reef sharks, rays and hopefully a tiger or two.
For other holidays our travel centre would be happy to provide you with a free quote.