Best places to scuba dive with hammerhead sharks
Along with whale sharks and manta rays, hammerheads are probably one of the most coveted additions to a divers log book. They are however also one of the most elusive, preferring difficult to reach areas to those that most people can get to. Below we have a breakdown of the best places to see hammerheads and to start us off its Malaysia
Layang Layang, Malaysia
Rising from the deep, Layang Layang island sits on top of a huge pinnacle which is great for pelagics. Scalloped hammerheads can often aggregate here to mate between March and May each year and with often 100+ sharks slowly cruising by it can be an incredible experience.
Protea Banks, South Africa
During the summer months shark species often outnumber divers as they gather on the famous fossilized Protea Banks. Although they keep their distance, divers regularly encounter schools of scalloped (Nov-Jan) and individual Great and Smooth Hammerheads here.
The best dive site for an encounter is considered by many to be at Ponto do Ouro in the south. Here large schools of scalloped hammerheads transit through the shallow water between October and May, while smaller groups are found a little deeper.
The Avatoru and Tiputa Passes are fantastic dive sites. They are regularly full of pelagics due to the strong currents as the waters move in and out of the lagoon. Dolphins and schools of grey sharks are regularly seen and great hammerheads can be seen here annually.
Malpelo Island, Colombia
Nowhere else will you encounter so many shark species in such abundance and close proximity. Encounters are frequent and walls of hammerhead and silky sharks often exceed 300 individuals. A must for shark enthusiasts!
San Salvador, Bahamas
Your best bet of a scalloped hammerhead encounter off the coast of this remote island. The sharks can be seen at many sites, cruising in the blue as you also enjoy the magnificent walls. From December to February represents the best time to visit for hammerheads.
As well as the stunning sight of the Iseki stones, experienced divers will be overwhelmed by the large numbers of breeding hammerheads that congregate around this exposed island in the far southwest of the country from December to March each year. An incredible adventure!
Cabo San Lucas
Cabo San Lucas is considered one of the best places in the world to swim with smooth hammerheads. The sharks here live close to the surface and the smooth hammerhead sharks migrate to Cabo San Lucas in large number in March for mating and feeding.
It is at Cabo San Lucas that the Northern California current, the Southern California current create a strong coastal upwelling work together to create a marine environment with an incredible biodiversity.
North Ari, Maldives
If it’s hammers you are hoping to encounter here, then you must dive Madivaru Corner. It will be an early start from a resort or liveaboard in the north Ari Atoll, but the experience is truly unforgettable.
Cocos Island, Costa Rica
From May to November, schools of scalloped hammerheads visit the waters surrounding Cocos Island. This remote Pacific Island is reached by ten night liveaboard from Costa Rica.
Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
Seen year round, larger schools are more common in the warmer months around Wolf and Darwin islands. From individuals to solid walls of sharks, hammerheads are a constant here and great place to capture the experience on camera.
This is an epic dive! There are very few dives where you can get so close to such a large shark without a cage. Some of the great hammerhead sharks can be over four meters in length and you can get over 10 sharks on some dives. it is a very relaxed experience and the Bahamas offers clear, warm blue waters and excellent visibility. This is a shallow dive giving you plenty of time to spend with the sharks.
Bimini has emerged as one of the best places on the planet to encounter these amazing predators. They have evaded scuba divers for years with most just getting a distant snap of a shark like shadow rather than anything close to what is on offer here. You can only dive with great hammerheads from December to April as this is the only time these elusive giants come up close, so we recommend booking well in advance.