Sharks are possibly the most misunderstood animal in the oceans and diving with sharks can dispel some of the myths propagated by sensationalized stories in newspapers, TV movies and books. Sharks have been around for over 400 million years and are currently under threat due to over fishing for their fins. Shark diving is available from diving locations as far removed as Scotland in the UK, to the US, to the Philippines.
Here in the USA, in the North Atlantic Waters off Rhode Island is a great location for shark dives with some of the fastest fish the sea plus, blue sharks are regulars to this area, however the most impressive visitor to this location is the fast swimming Mako shark.
Further South, Morehead City, North Carolina is home to some of the countries best wreck sites, divers here can swim alongside ragged-toothed sand sharks and tiger sharks to reach the wrecks of the Spar and the Papoose. Resting 85-110 ft below the surface, The Spar is a small wreck but is still intact, allowing for easy navigation throughout, even if the visibility is quite poor. The ship sits on its keel not too far from the other wreck. Slightly deeper, approximately 90-120 ft down sits a large, intact but upside down is The Papoose. Divers are keen to explore around the ends of this wreck, as sharks like to congregate there!
Moving down the coast, Jupiter Florida is a favorite dive site for scuba divers as this location is famous for the yearly migration of lemon sharks along the shores during the winter months. These beautiful sharks group around wrecks and deep ledges off the coast of Jupiter all the way to Palm Beach.
50 miles off the east coast of Florida lies the small Bahamian Island Bimini, as well as being famous for sun, sea, sand, Hemingway and deep-sea game fishing, Here in the middle of the Bimini Big Game Club marina, scuba divers can slip into a cage and enjoy the presence of bull sharks. To the east of Bimini at the Nassau dive center you can find one of the original shark-feeding dives at Stuart Cove Dining, established by the shark-wrangling expert Stuart Cove. Here, shark feeders smoothly descend into the waters with buckets full of delicious chum (or a frozen chum block known as a “chumsicle”)for the sharks located at the Ray of Hope Wreck and Shark Arena.
The Ray of Hope is a purposely sunk 200-ft long shipwreck, which successfully landed upright with its bow at 40 ft, descending down to the stern resting at 60 ft. This dive is a penetration dive, and divers can explore the full interior of the ship, engine room, cargo spaces and cabins, a shark dive combined with a wreck dive! What’s not to like about that.
Between the months of December to March, just a short boat ride from the shore of Playa Del Carmen, divers have the opportunity to go cage-less with bull sharks, the reefs and white sandy bottom between Playa and Cozumel offers a safe and crystal clear view of these sharks.
On Mexico’s west coast lies the Socorro Islands and the island of Guadalupe, For those divers who like to consider themselves adrenaline junkies and always up to the challenge… well, this is the dive for you! Guadalupe Island offers a live-aboard trip from Ensenada, Mexico, which is known to possibly be the best place in the northern hemisphere to get a cage-side view of a great white shark, the ultimate encounter with the apex predator of all sharks… who’s in? The Socorro Islands never fails to please divers wanting to swim with sharks, This location is known as “Sharky”, here you can see hammerhead sharks, tiger and the largest of them all, whale sharks.
Equador’s Galapagos Islands has an abundance of different marine life,and this paired with great water visibility makes for an exceptional diving. Swaying currents, large schools of pelagic fish and sharks swimming through steep walls, are only some of the wonders divers come across during these dive explorations. Divers, who take on this once-in-a-lifetime adventure, make the most of their experience joining a live-aboard, such as the M/V Galapagos Sky, which visits the remote dive destinations located at both Darwin and Wolf Island.
Across the Pacific, in the Philippine Sea lies the collection of Islands know as, you guessed it, The Philippines. With unbelievable towering island cliffs, and exceptional views above the water, below the water divers are spoiled for choice with hundreds of different dive sites available to them. One is on Malapascua Island, about 50 km north of Cebu, here lies the Monad Shoal, where divers can swim with rare pelagic thresher sharks. Thresher Sharks have and unusually long tail which they use to stun their prey before devouring it. These species cruise in from the open waters to visit cleaning stations that are located at this submerged pinnacle off the coast of the island.
Further to the south, in Australia we have another great dive location to see tiger sharks. Here in Northern Queensland, during the Australian summer months hundreds of hungry tiger sharks are attracted to these nutrient rich waters and to feed from thousands of recently hatched turtles, easy prey for the tiger sharks.
Osprey Reef is known to be one of the best spots along The Great Barrier Reef where divers come to swim among, silvertips, grey reef sharks, wobbegongs and other marine life If you find yourself visiting during the months of June to August get on a live-aboard heading towards Lighthouse Bommie to snorkel with Minke whales.
In The Indian Ocean lies French Polynesia, and here at Fakarava’s Tumakohua Pass, divers enjoy riding the incoming tides towards a narrow channel, where the current reaches intense speeds. Large groups of reef sharks make impressive starts to the dive at the top of the pass. Be sure to have your cameras ready for this great dive!
In Egypt, further to the West, the coral covered pinnacle of Elphinstone Reef is accessible by boat during the day from Marsa Alam. Once here, divers can slip into the blue Mediterranean waters and swim alongside pelagic oceanic white tips a larger shark than it’s namesake the white tip reef shark.