Sharks: Wonderful Beasts and Where to Find Them

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Photo: Malcolm Nobbs

Every Week is Shark Week at Regaldive. We are glad that it is currently Shark Week, as sharks are a firm favourite at the Regaldive office and they deserve to be better protected. Every week we are sending our guests to numerous worldwide locations that are ideal for diving with sharks. The last couple of years have been great for shark encounters and hopefully this trend will continue. If you are a shark fan, Regaldive have a great range of holiday options. Here is a taster of our top locations worldwide for Diving with Sharks…

GUADALUPE ISLAND

Dive to 30 feet and go face to face with great white sharks! Guadalupe Island is a volcanic island 150 miles off the west coast of Baja California and it outperforms every other great white shark destination with shark-seeing consistency and beautiful diving conditions.

Great white shark encounters at Guadalupe Island are nothing short of spectacular. It’s the best destination in the world for calm, clear water and a consistently high probability of multiple shark encounters. The bay itself is home to over 200 recognised individuals, ranging from 12 to 19 feet long. At times, guests have seen as many as nine sharks on one dive!

SOCORRO ISLANDS

The wild, remote and exhilarating Socorro Islands, Mexico are famous for their big animal encounters. Divers will see many species of shark, including Hammerheads, Whitetips, Silvertips, Silkies, Tiger & Galapagos Sharks. Whale sharks can be found between November – December and late April – May.

The area is also famous for close encounters with the Giant Pacific Manta Ray, which can grow to 22 feet across. The Mantas seek out divers to interact with and play in their exhaled bubbles. There’s little doubt that this is the best location for the closest Manta interactions.

Photo: John Butland

SOUTH AFRICA

If you want some great shark action, what could be better than the shark hotspots of South Africa and Mozambique? Although there’s always plenty to see, including Hammerheads, Tigers, Blacktips and Bulls, May is the time that the Ragged Tooth Sharks take up residence on Aliwal Shoals. A shark to impress your non-diving friends, as with their mouth full of big teeth, they look far scarier than they actually are. ‘Raggies’ usually stay until at least the end of November, so now’s the time to plan your visit.

Photo: Malcolm Nobbs

THE MALDIVES

The Maldives is a popular location for seeing a few varieties of shark, most commonly Whitetips and Grey Reef Sharks. Although the Whitetips are usually very calm and lethargic during the day, they certainly get a bit more active at night. Often seen darting around the reef, trying to beat each other to the next unsuspecting fish to snack on.

Our guests returning from Maldives Liveaboards are giving enthusiastic reports from of a very interesting night dive they took part in. Many of them have greatly enjoyed doing a night dive with Nurse Sharks. Although one of the most docile of sharks, it turns into a very exhilarating experience when you get 40 to 50 Nurse Sharks swarming all around you! Just hang onto your gear and prepare for the odd nudge.

THE BAHAMAS

The Bahamas are justifiably famous for their shark diving. Some sharks can be seen very close and personal, mainly Caribbean Reef Sharks, Nurse Sharks and Lemon Sharks, but others such as Bull Sharks, Hammerheads and even Oceanic Whitetips can all be found, with the waters of Nassau and the Exuma Cays being the most easily accessible areas.

A famous location that is worth a visit in June, July and August is Tiger beach. So called because of the numbers of Tiger sharks that turn up in the warm shallow waters at that time. Known for coming in nice and close, some of the individual sharks, such as Emma, are famous the world over. With years of experience the operators that visit the area will provide you with an experience that you will have difficulty finding anywhere else.

Photo: Malcolm Nobbs

SUDAN

Many of Sudan’s varied dive sites hold an almost mythical status with divers from around the world. Sudan’s coastal waters are also recognised as one of the best places in the world for Shark enthusiasts to encounter schools of scalloped hammerheads, alongside many other species of shark.

Our colleague Nigel gave us a taste of the shark action from his recent trip to Sudan and told us: “we were joined by a huge school of hammerhead sharks: above us, below us, in the distance, right next to us: they were everywhere. We were all trying to look in every direction at once. When we got back on board my partner said it had been ‘raining hammerhead sharks’. We all knew what she meant.”

THE GALAPAGOS

The seas surrounding the Galapagos support a large concentration of the marine life that makes these islands such a superb dive destination. Certainly no dive itinerary to the Galapagos is complete without a visit to the remote outposts of Wolf & Darwin to the north. Schools of hammerheads, as well as dolphins and rays make these islands a real highlight for divers. The whale shark aggregation occurs in the warmer water surrounding these islands. Many other shark species also make regular appearances, including species that you are unlikely to see elsewhere, including the Galapagos Shark. Although Hammerheads are seen year round, the biggest aggregations are usually in the Autumn.

Photo: Malcolm Nobbs

THE RED SEA

The Red Sea has always been good for sharks, but the last couple of years have been exceptional, especially on the ‘Simply the Best’ itinerary. Maybe it’s because there are less divers about. We are hearing feedback such as “saw hammerheads on every dive at Daedalus” and “great to get so close to so many Oceanic Whitetips” from those on our Red Sea Liveaboard trips. The best times for these encounters now seems to be starting a bit earlier too, around June, and running right through to November.

Photo: Malcolm Nobbs

COCOS ISLAND

A few years ago Cocos Island was christened ‘The Island of the Sharks’ by documentary makers, and with very good reason. This lush, green, uninhabited island, 340 miles from the Pacific coast of Costa Rica, boasts numerous species of shark, including Whitetips (on every dive!), Tigers, Whale Sharks, Silkies and Galapagos Sharks.

But the biggest draw here is the Hammerheads that come into the numerous cleaning stations, allowing easy, close up viewing. Also they can often be seen schooling in their tens or even hundreds, so keep your fingers crossed for that amazing experience.

The UNESCO designated World Heritage Site certainly holds its place at the pinnacle of the world’s best shark diving locations.

To find out more about our shark diving locations, call the friendly Regaldive team on 01353 659999.

John Butland

John Butland

John, a Sales Executive for UK-based tour operator Regaldive, learnt to dive in 2002 and was instantly hooked. Most of his travel now revolves around diving and he has travelled abroad over thirty times since learning. John says that although every dive trip has its special moments, sharks do feature quite highly on his wish list and he is lucky enough to have had close encounters with more than twenty shark species on his travels. Regaldive has been organising diving holidays since 1988 and offers liveaboards and resort-based holidays in 25+ worldwide destinations. Find out more at www.regal-diving.co.uk.

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