I had the the unique opportunity to experience meeting face to face with one of the most feared animals on the planet. The idea of swimming with sharks had been lingering in the back of my mind for quite some time now. Ironically enough, it was Shark Week and the Discovery Channel was broadcasting the same ol’, same ol’ slightly modified CGI footage of “Megalodon”. I always get a kick out of the awful acting and manufactured testimonials the Discovery Channel manages to come up with during this week. Nevertheless it’s very entertaining to watch, kudos to them for keeping the show going for all these years. Anyways… given our current location, we couldn’t pass up on the opportunity to meet up with our notorious neighbors in their blue home and live the Shark Week experience for ourselves.
A quick search on Google brought us to North Shore Shark Adventures. They are a small boat tour company that specializes in pelagic dives, most notable for their shark encounters. They operate out of Haleiwa Harbor, a small boat harbor on the North Shore of Oahu. Tours run every 2 hours and you can book your spot for $96. About 30 minutes after we checked in, the captain signaled us to jump aboard the Abunai. It was a 42 foot, aluminum hull boat, custom made and equipped with cushioned seating, complimentary drinking water, and very friendly crew members. They also provided us with masks and snorkels, so we didn’t have to worry about bringing our own.
We traveled approximately 3 miles offshore to where the dive cage was placed. This is what it looks like as you slowly descend into shark infested waters, about a dozen curious sharks circling around your cage. The cage dimensions were 10′ x 8′ x 8′, big enough for 6 of us to swim around in and not get in the way of other people’s photos too much. One of the crew members had briefed us on the types of sharks we would see on our way over. The species ranged from Galapagos Sharks and Hammerhead Sharks, to Tiger Sharks and Great White Sharks among others. Galapagos Sharks were the only ones to show hospitality on this occasion.
These curious fellas are known to be a very tranquil species and feed mainly on crustaceous sea life, and bottom dwelling small bony fishes. Chumming wasn’t necessary for them to show up, the cage is strategically placed next to crab traps where they like to hang out for an easy lunch. It was partly cloudy for most of the day and the sea was pretty calm. Even with clouds blocking the sun, visibility below the surface was perfect (150 feet or more). You could actually see the sharks come up from the depths of the cobalt blue waters.
This experience made me realize how misleading media can be about sharks. As a visual learner, I’ve always learned best when I look at thing with my own eyes and experience things first hand in their native elements. Crush your fears, get over of your comfort zone, and go live an experience of a lifetime swimming with these amazing creatures of the sea.