Ever since Jaws terrified cinema-goers in the 1970s, we’ve been simultaneously scared silly and fascinated by sharks, underwater killing machines whose forebears were swimming around in the oceans 450 million years ago.
Sharks come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and more than 360 species. Whale sharks are the biggest, measuring in at up to 39 feet long (11.5 meters). The fearsome great white is next biggest, at up to 20 feet long (6 meters), and tiger sharks can reach 14 feet (4 meters).
Diving with a reliable operator is the safest way to come face to face with these sharp-toothed predators of the deep. The best operators are involved with shark conservation efforts, and ensure that the experience is safe for both divers and sharks by not needlessly provoking the creatures.
Most shark-diving tours operate in countries where the ocean is warmer, in places like Africa, Australia and the Americas. You might see tiger sharks, hammerheads reef sharks and the ultimate, the Great White.
Diving vessels take you offshore to the sharks’ hunting grounds, then send you down into the deep in a submerged shark cage. Some operators use surface cages, so diving experience isn’t essential. Shark-diving tours also take you spotting dolphins, seals and other wildlife, or include reef or wreck diving.
Another way to dive with sharks is through an aquarium program, such as those offered in Sydney, Oahu or Florida. And if you’re feeling really brave and you’re a certified diver, you can join a shark-feeding dive with a professional shark feeder in locations like Nassau or Polynesia, and be surrounded by schools of hungry reef sharks!
Reply by Viator, May 2013
Doing what: Oahu Shark Dive
The crew was awesome and I felt absolutely safe when I had expected to feel a bit nervous. The sharks were very close and we had excellent viewing, they were circling around the boat and the cage for the entire time we were in the water. The water was fairly rough but the crew made sure we didn't linger and longer than necessary. Sharks were impressive. Highlight of our vacation!
my two grandchildren did the shark dive and said it was the highlight of the trip. there were lots of sharks to see they are still talking about it.
I did this on my birthday and have wanted to do it my entire life!! It was awesome!! There are sharks all over the place and they do not need to bait or chum in order for the sharks to come to the cage. I went on a very clear and mild day and I got the video which I am now glad I did so I can relive it forever. The crew was super cool and nice and funny. I only wish I could have stayed in the water longer, like an hour would have been great. I kind of wish I had enough time to do this tour again while I was there, but had too many other tours planned during my stay. I highly recommend this to anyone who loves sharks or for anyone who is just curious about how sharks really are in the wild.