Did you know that there are around 440 known species of shark around the world? This Top 10 Shark Dives In The World is a great starting point for you to check off those shark dives!
With so many choices of sharks out there, where do you start? For many divers, its the bigger, more commonly known species that entice them. With so many Top Dive Destinations out there, we thought it was time to pull together our Top 10 Shark Dives In The World. You will not be surprised to find these dives on the Scuba Leeds Dive Trips List.
So our ten amazing dive sites to add to your must-dive list for the best shark encounters in the world are:
- Blue Sharks – Cornwall
- Basking Sharks – Isle of Man
- Great White Sharks – South Australia
- Silky Sharks – Cuba
- Scalloped Hammerhead Sharks – Galapagos
- Great Hammerhead Sharks – Bimini
- Thresher Sharks – Malapascua
- Oceanic Blacktip Sharks – South Africa
- Oceanic Whitetip Sharks – Red Sea
- Bull Sharks – Fiji
10. Blue Sharks – Cornwall, United Kingdom
Shark diving in the UK I hear you say? Yes, and it really doesn’t get much better than diving with the beautiful and curious blue sharks off the Cornish coast. From June, you can head out and dive or even snorkel with Cornwall’s majestic blue sharks – the season typically lasts until September, although you should be prepared for anything as we all know how temperamental the British weather can be.
Snorkelling is by far the best way to see blues in the water, as they are very jumpy and tend to be spooked by bubbles. Once they arrive, they can stay for as long as a few hours and many people consider it to be one of the best wildlife excursions to do with the whole family, although 14 years old is the minimum age.
9. Basking Sharks – Isle Of Man
Every summer, from mid-May to mid-August there are particularly high densities of basking sharks at the Isle Of Man. However, if you wish to see them out of these months, you can actually snorkel with the second largest fish in the sea at several locations along the west coast of the UK, starting in Cornwall in the early summer and finishing in Scotland around September.
“Wow, just wow. Snorkelling with Basking Sharks on a surface interval between dives is absolutely stunning. The Basking Sharks are here at this time of the year because of the plankton, so the skipper drops you in the water upstream and you snorkel back towards the sharks….. Suddenly this enormous filter-feeding mouth appears in front of you. Nothing will prepare you for the size of this the first time it happens. Get yourself in the water off the Isle of Man. It’s UK diving at its best!” Alex Varnals, PADI Course Director
Basking sharks can be elusive creatures and despite their large size the weather often needs to be calm in order to see them at the surface. When the sea is calm and the weather settles, plankton concentrates on the surface of the sea and the basking sharks feed on this plankton as close as 1km inshore. If you are lucky you may even see shark courtship activity!
8. Great White Sharks – Neptune Islands, South Australia
Most people have on their bucket list the opportunity to cage dive with great white sharks – to see these amazing sharks up close is a real treat. They are the ultimate predator and to see them close and underwater is a true spectacle; however, if you want, you can always get a little bit closer, down at the bottom of the sea bed.
The Neptune islands are perfect for precisely this reason.
It is here that you can descend into the seabed, whilst on scuba and still in a cage, to see the sharks in a more natural environment as they hunt for seals. Up to three divers can go down with a dive professional to experience this awesome spectacle.
7. Silky Sharks – the Jardines De La Reina Marine Park, Cuba
Dive with beautiful silky sharks out in the Jardines De La
Reina Marine Park in Cuba. These sharks will regularly stay close to the
surface allowing for fantastic photo opportunities. The best bit about this
dive is that you can go on a regular dive and then chill with a silky shark on your safety stop. You can even spend the entire dive at just a few meters with the sharks if you prefer.
From July to November you often have the chance to dive with whale sharks as well, and as the dive sites are well protected from winds and currents, visibility has been recorded in the past as being close to 40 meters.
6. Scalloped Hammerhead Sharks – Wolf and Darwin island, Galapagos islands
Scalloped Hammerhead sharks are well known for schooling in vast numbers and your best bet for an encounter is only at a few locations. The Galapagos has an incredible variety of wildlife including eagle rays, mola molas, penguins, marine iguanas, sea lions, flightless cormorants, sometimes orcas and mantas. In 2017, it was discovered that the Scalloped Hammerheads have a nursery site in the Galapagos Marine Reserve, and for that reason, Galapagos topped our list of the best places to find these amazing creatures.
When you dive the islands of Wolf and Darwin, Hammerhead sharks are your constant companion. Despite their size, Hammerheads can be a bit skittish and whilst you’ll have no problem getting close enough to see them, taking videos can be tricky. The sight of schooling Scalloped Hammerheads is rarely forgotten by any diver who has been lucky enough to see them and the exact reason behind this schooling behaviour remains a mystery.
5. Great Hammerhead Sharks – Bimini, The Bahamas
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 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.
4.Thresher Sharks – Monad Shoal, Malapascua
Malapascua is one of the few places in the world where you can see thresher sharks because of the Monad Shoal. Monad Shoal is a sunken island at 16-32 meters whith sides drop off to 230 meters, and since Thresher sharks hunt in deep water it’s the perfect place to see them. Just like how terrestrial predators use vegetation and topography to ambush, most sharks like to hunt near drop-offs where they can surprise prey. This makes the Monad Shoal particularly popular with sharks and as there are a lot of cleaning stations nearby this can attract a multitude of life.
Large rays are often seen and even schools of devil rays. Other species of shark that have been seen using the cleaning stations at Monad Shoal include Hammerhead sharks, Grey Reef sharks and Whitetip sharks. January-April is especially good for Hammerheads, however, camera strobes and flashes are not allowed on any of the dives since it scares the sharks.
Thresher sharks can be seen throughout the year and (since
they often visit shallow water in the early morning) the best time to dive with these animals is between sunrise and 9am. Thresher sharks themselves are easily startled and as they are so deep it is often recommended that you dive with a double tank or nitrox to get the best out of the dive site.
3. Oceanic Blacktip Sharks – Aliwal Shoal, South Africa
On this dive you can get anything from 20 to 40 Blacktip sharks on any one dive, and that’s considered normal! Aliwal Shoal is one of the most well-known areas for diving in South Africa and is renowned for its sharks. You can dive with sharks at Aliwal Shoal all year round and with such an interactive dive it is easy to see why this dive makes our list.
If you choose to go, we would strongly recommend going with Scuba Addicts. Both Craig and Shona take daily shark dives to the Aliwal Shoal and depending on the season they will select what site is best for scuba diving with sharks, which can include tiger sharks, ragged tooth sharks, blacktip sharks, bull sharks (also known as Zambezi Sharks), dusky sharks, hammerhead sharks, whitetip reef sharks, guitar sharks and sometimes more! The Aliwal shore dive is a scent trail dive starting on either the southern end of the shoal or on a reef called Castle depending on the current. They create an odour corridor to attract them before entering the sharks to dive. Just see what one of our staff thought about it in the comment below:
“I have never been a fan of baited dives, Craig and Shona offer scent trail dives instead. I have never been in such a large group of sharks in one place at one time. Oceanic Blacktips and Tiger Sharks everywhere. It’s a site to be seen. If you like sharks, then this needs to be on your Bucket List of destinations before you hang up your fins!” Alex Varnals, PADI Course Director
One of the main reasons we recommend Scuba Addicts is that
before the scent trail shark dive, they will give you a full briefing on the shark’s behaviour and how to behave in return. Most sharks are very shy but they can be very inquisitive and intelligent animals which is why they are one of the ocean’s apex predators and deserve the highest respect.
Oceanic whitetips are a very curious species of shark that will come in close to have a look at divers underwater. The Brother Islands offer fantastic diving and a great opportunity to see large sharks in a location where you can also dive local reefs and wrecks. Here you can either stay under the boat and wait for the sharks to arrive or, if you prefer, you can go on a fun dive and hope to see them on your safety stop.
The Brother islands are situated at the northernmost part of
Egypt’s offshore marine park and are made up of two islands 60km away from the coast and 140km south from Hurghada. Big Brother Island (complete with a lighthouse from 1883) is 400 metres long with a spectacular plateau on the south-east corner which is dotted with coral mountains well known for thresher and grey reef shark sightings. The western side of the island has two impressive wrecks which both lie almost vertical on the side of the reef. The most spectacular is the Numidia. A large cargo steamer which sank in 1901 which now lies on the tip of the island between 10m – 80m covered in soft corals and frequented by large pelagic predators. The smaller island, whilst only a little over 200 metres long, hosts an incredible concentration and variety of marine life. There is a pristine fan coral forest, a massive collection of hard and soft corals and compelling fish life with regular sightings of hammerhead, thresher, grey reef and oceanic whitetip sharks.
“There are loads of places in the world that offer great interaction with sharks. But over the past few years shark sightings in the Red Sea have been growing and growing. In October 2018 during our Simply The Best trip with Scuba Leeds we were fortunate enough to come face to face with sharks on nearly every dive. There is something incredible about being face to face with an Oceanic White Tip that is cruising along the reef wall at dusk.” Melanie Schneider, PADI Divemaster
The reason this dive site always delivers is that its location in the middle of the Red Sea means so many pelagic sharks come here to feed and clean. The spot offers multiple species of sharks including grey reefs, makos, threshers, oceanic white tips, mantas, whalesharks and even hammerheads. It offers pretty much everything most recreational or technical divers look for in a dive.
1. Bull Sharks – Beqa Lagoon, Fiji
This is one of the most famous dive sites on the planet and is top of most divers wish lists if they want to see sharks. The lagoon is famous for divers being able to encounter as many as eight species of shark in a single dive. It also has a long history of a feeding program run by the Shark Reef Marine Reserve, which is a marine park created specifically for the research and conservation of sharks. The lagoon itself is purpose built out of rubble, with a wall to separate the divers from the sharks and the shark feeders. This is incredible beneficial for the divers and the reef as the divers can clearly see where to go so as not to damage it.
“The only thing better than watching 60 bull sharks feeding right in front of you is watching them back up to the edge of the reef in distance the arrival of the massive multiple massive tiger sharks that call Beqa Lagoon home. While the feeding of the bulls are a spectacle that every diver should see, nothing compares to several 5 meter plus tiger sharks cruising out of the dark to feed and in the process showing everyone who the real masters of the reef are” Padraig O’Grady Divemaster
Whether Beqa Lagoon can claim the title of the world’s number
one shark dive is a matter of opinion, but for us the sheer density of life, shark and otherwise means this dive site undoubtedly deserves its international reputation as the number one shark dive. Beqa Lagoon is in fact such an interactive shark dive that it is famous for changing visitors’ perception of sharks. Many divers approach the lagoon’s shark dive as a challenge, expecting an adrenalin high, but after completing the dive most have replaced fear with respect and leave Fiji as loyal advocates for shark conservation.
If you have any interest in any of these dives and want more information please don’t hesitate to contact us below and we’ll get back to you with more details.