Swimming with sharks is an unbeatable experience and high on the wish list for many divers and snorkelers. Read on to discover the best places you can snorkel with these amazing animals.
1) South Africa
Diving in South Africa is synonymous with sharks and there are many opportunities to go snorkeling with sharks there as well. You can go cage diving with great white sharks at Gansbaai or snorkel with numerous blue and mako sharks off Cape Point.
Visit Seal Island near Simon’s Town to snorkel with ancient-looking broadnose sevengill sharks and bronze whalers. It is a fantastic place to go snorkeling and meet some of the 60,000 noisy cape fur seals that call the island home.
Hop on a plane from nearby Cape Town to Durban and you’ll be at another top shark diving and snorkeling destination, Aliwal Shoal at Umkomaas. There you can go snorkeling with oceanic blacktip sharks.
Inhambane in Mozambique, with its idyllic beaches stretching along the coastline, is the perfect place to base yourself for a beach and snorkeling holiday. There you will find an incredible reef system with areas that remain unexplored to this day. You can go snorkeling with whale sharks from Tofo Beach, go dolphin and whale watching or simply enjoy the reefs this area is known for.
Cuba’s Jardines de la Reina is one of the best places for shark encounters in the Caribbean, where you can swim with dozens of different shark species in protected waters. Relatively off the radar, you won’t find any crowds at this destination.
Go snorkeling there to encounter Caribbean reef sharks, silky, lemon, nurse, bull, blacktip reef sharks and more. Shark sightings are pretty much guaranteed year-round, and you can even go snorkeling with crocodiles during your stay.
4) The Bahamas
The Bahamas designated its entire territorial waters as a shark sanctuary in 2011 and is one of the best places in the world to swim with sharks.
Bimini Island is the place to go for snorkeling with great hammerhead, lemon and Caribbean reef sharks. If you want to snorkel with oceanic whitetip sharks, be sure to take a trip to Cat Island in the Central Bahamas.
Raja Ampat’s Cenderawasih Bay is one of the best places to snorkel with whale sharks in Indonesia. The fishermen of Cenderawasih Bay give fish to the whale sharks to bring luck and there are numerous whale sharks in the bay.
Cenderawasih Bay also sits in one of the most sought-after dive destinations of the world, Raja Ampat. There you can encounter thousands of fish species, manta rays and hundreds of vibrant corals. If you are a certified diver, make sure you go diving in Raja Ampat during your trip to this special area.
6) The Maldives
Diving in the Maldives is synonymous with huge whale sharks, drifting over gorgeous coral reefs and endless pretty atolls. All of which you can enjoy as a snorkeler as well.
South Ari Atoll is the best place to go snorkeling with whale sharks, though you can also see them at Huvadhoo Atoll and Thaa Atoll in the south. Vaavuu Atoll, the easternmost atoll of the Maldives, offers unspoiled reefs and an abundance of marine life. Visit Alimatha Island in Vaavuu Atoll to go night snorkeling with numerous docile nurse sharks and huge stingrays.
7) French Polynesia
When it comes to romantic destinations for snorkelers, it doesn’t get much better than French Polynesia. Picture-perfect Moorea Island offers dedicated snorkeling safaris to meet blacktip reef sharks, whitetips, grey reef, tiger and lemon sharks. You can also go snorkeling with humpback whales.
No Mexico snorkeling trip would be complete without going shark cage diving at Guadalupe Island. This is the only island in the world where you can snorkel with great white sharks in warm, calm and crystal-clear waters.
You can also go snorkeling with numerous whale sharks at Isla Mujeres on the Yucatan Peninsula.
9) The United Kingdom
The waters off the United Kingdom might be chilly but don’t be put off, they offer seasonal diving with basking and blue sharks.
Cornwall, in the southwest of England, is a prime spot to swim with both basking sharks and blue sharks during late spring and summer. You can also go diving with basking sharks at the Isle of Man and in Scotland.
If you love nurse sharks, don’t miss snorkeling at Shark Ray Alley in Ambergris Caye. There are numerous nurse sharks there, which you can snorkel with during dedicated snorkeling trips.
With clear waters and beautiful reefs nearby, there is also plenty to experience after you’ve had your shark snorkeling fix.
Kathryn Curzon, a shark conservationist and dive travel writer for Scuba Schools International (SSI), wrote this article.
Statement from Captain Paul Watson on his resignation from Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (USA)￼
It is with great relief that as of July 27th, 2022, I have ceased my employment and cut all ties with the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (USA).
Since 1977, when I founded Sea Shepherd nearly a half century ago, I have dedicated my entire life to the aggressive and determined preservation and protection of biodiversity of marine life and our ocean.
Over the last few years, I have been slowly marginalized from the organization that I created in the USA. I was removed from the Board of Directors, my advice ignored, my close associates terminated and directors that supported me were removed. I was reduced to being a paid figurehead, denied the freedom to organize campaigns and the freedom to express the strong opinions that I have held for decades, opinions and campaigns that have shaped what Sea Shepherd has become and continues to be outside the borders of the United States.
As I said in the documentary movie Watson, my role is to rock the boat, to make waves, to provoke people to think about the damage we are collectively inflicting upon diversity and interdependence of life in the ocean.
The current Board seeks to turn our vessels away from confronting illegal poachers that prey on endangered species and instead seeks to turn our fleet into non-controversial research vessels. Research has always been a part of Sea Shepherd efforts, but it has not and should not be our priority. What we have provided is a unique function: a fearless leadership to intervene against poachers on the high seas, to document and to stop illegal acts that would otherwise go unnoticed and unchallenged. Sea Shepherd has always, and must always go where others fear to go, to say the things that must be said and to tackle the obstacles fearlessly and with great resolve.
The new direction that the present Board of Sea Shepherd USA has decided upon is not a path that I can in good conscience support nor participate in. I have not changed my objectives or resolve, and I refuse to change and adopt an approach that diminishes the incredible movement that we have created over the last four and a half decades, a movement that continues to grow outside the borders of the United States.
I remain a director of Sea Shepherd Global, and I remain a supporter of Global ships, officers, and crew. Together with all other national Sea Shepherd entities, with the exception of the USA, I will continue to support our campaigns around the world utilizing our unique philosophy of aggressive non-violence and cooperation with governments and NGOs.
We are Sea Shepherd. We are direct action motivated by imagination, persistence, and courage.
My future lies with the people from around the world who have made and continue to make Sea Shepherd the most influential, passionate, and effective marine conservation movement on this planet.
Captain Paul Watson
Founder – Sea Shepherd Conservation Society Canada (1977)
Founder – Sea Shepherd Conservation Society USA (1981)
Marine Conservation Society’s Great British Beach Clean is back
The Marine Conservation Society’s annual Great British Beach Clean is back, running from 16th – 25th September 2022.
The charity is calling for volunteers across the UK to join them at the coast for a week of beach cleaning and litter surveying.
The Great British Beach Clean, sponsored by Ireland’s number one soup brand, Cully & Sully, is more than just a clean up. Every year volunteers make note of the litter they collect, sharing the data with the Marine Conservation Society’s experts. The charity has used data collected to campaign for carrier bag charges, single-use plastic bans and deposit return schemes.
Last year, volunteers collected over 5 tonnes of litter, with an average of 3.85 items found for every metre of beach surveyed across the UK.
Clare Trotman, Beachwatch Officer at the Marine Conservation Society, said: “We wouldn’t be able to do the work we do at the Marine Conservation Society without the support of our volunteers heading out to the coast to collect vital information on what’s polluting our seas.
“With beach cleans happening across the UK, from remote beaches to busy seaside resorts, there’s so many ways to get involved and support us this year. If you can’t make it to the beach, you can still take part by doing a local litter pick and survey where you live.”
At last year’s Great British Beach Clean, 75% of all litter collected was made from plastic and polystyrene.
From production to disposal, plastic has a direct impact on the ocean’s capacity to combat the climate crisis. Manufacturing plastic contributes to greenhouse gas emissions. Most plastic is produced using fossil fuels, meaning more plastic production results in increased carbon emissions. Plastic is also entering the food chain, from tiny phytoplankton to ocean giants, like whales.
Dr Laura Foster, Head of Clean Seas at the Marine Conservation Society, said: “Pollution, whether it’s big, small or even invisible, is having a hugely negative impact on our ocean and all those who rely on it – including us. Tiny microplastics are being eaten by plankton at the very foundation of ocean ecosystems, animals big and small are being tangled in plastic packaging, turtles are mistaking it for food, and chemical pollution is changing the ocean’s chemistry.
“All of this is an alarming picture of the state of our seas, but each and every volunteer who joins the Great British Beach Clean helps us research the scale of pollution in the UK. This research is vital to stop pollution at source, and we know it works. Cleaner beaches will support a healthy ocean, and a healthy planet.”
Cullen Allen (Aka Cully) from Cully & Sully said: “We’re delighted to be part of the Great British Beach Clean 2022. We’ve supported beach cleans in Ireland for the past 4 years and are excited about extending our commitments to the Great British Beach Clean. We’re excited to take part and get started, and of course spread the word on the importance of keeping our beaches and public spaces clean”.
Join the Marine Conservation Society’s Great British Beach Clean as an organiser, or volunteer, this year. Sign up via the charity’s website: www.mcsuk.org/greatbritishbeachclean.
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