A Thrilling Shark Cage Dive!
Haleiwa – Oahu, Hawaii
“Getting Up Close and Personal with Hawaii’s Sharks“
Oahu is Hawaii’s most visited and well-known island with numerous activities and water sports. As soon as I found out there was an opportunity to get in the water with sharks it became the most anticipated part of my entire trip to the island. Although I’ve been scuba diving for years I’ve only seen sharks on a handful of occasions, most of them small reef sharks… and up to this point I was fairly glad as I still have a healthy fear of those razor sharp teeth. Knowing I’d be observing sharks safely from inside a cage was a great logical next step to becoming more comfortable around them and getting to enjoy their presence without fear.
After a long plane ride and a night of relaxing I woke early and headed up to the North Shore to meet with Hawaii Shark Encounters. After a safety briefing and talks about the sharks we headed out sea with a nearly full boat and a big cage in tow.. during the 3 mile ride out to sea there was plenty of time to get excited about what was going to happen next! Right away we began spotting sharks just below the surface and the cage was dropped into the water. The first group of us plunged into the cage and the real fun began.
The cage is large enough for quite a few people – they put in up to 7 at a time, luckily we didn’t have a full boat and the first group of us was only 5 in at a time. With large clear plexiglass plates there was plenty of space to watch the sharks come and go. They weren’t shy, swimming right up to the cage, below and around it during our entire 25 minutes in the water. We observed 8 or more good sized Galapagos sharks, all of which were calm and swimming along us slowly.. no attacking or biting the cage like you see on TV and movies.
Galapagos sharks are the most commonly seen here and they can get up to 10+ feet and over 400 lbs in size! None of the ones we viewed were quite that big but they were impressive anyway. Getting to see these sharks in their habitat with natural behavior was priceless to me, they are majestic and beautiful creatures of the ocean.
Being inside the cage is quite fun.. there are bars to hold onto inside the cage so you don’t need have any hands or limbs hanging out. The open water 3 miles off shore is a little wavy and the cage bumped against the boat from time to time. If you’re prone to sea sickness as one of the people on our boat was you might find yourself sick. At the time everyone in the cage with me was too busy having an amazing time to notice. Check me out below trying to get the perfect shot while holding on tightly!
Responsible Ecotourism and Conservation
As a lover of the ocean and sea life it’s important to me to participate in tours with companies that have a good reputation for doing things with minimal impact on the environment and local sea life populations. Hawaii Shark Encounters’ cage keeps tourists and sharks safe from each other and gives you the opportunity to observe sharks in a natural way. They’re also part of shark conservation efforts, and give back to the local community through several programs. These are the kind of people I feel good about supporting and allow all of us to have fun responsibly and with a good conscience. If you’re visiting Oahu don’t miss this amazing experience!
It’s estimated that 100 million sharks are killed every year; many needlessly caught in fishing nets, by illegal trolling or inhumanely slaughtered for their fins. Tours like these help raise awareness that sharks are an important part of the marine ecosystem and not simply mindless killers.
Want to see more photos from this thrilling tour?
View the Shark Cage Photo Gallery Here
- Tour length: 25 minutes in the cage. Under 2 hours start to finish.
- Tour Price: $105 for adults, $75 for children (under 12)
- Website: www.HawaiiSharkEncounters.com
- Take motion sickness prevention pills before going out.
- Wear a swimsuit.
- Bring a towel, it can be cold after getting out.
- Take the early tour if you can, the water is calmer in the morning.