London lifestyle & travels with kids and babies
Swimming with sharks may stir curiosity, excitement, anxiety and lots of questions. Over the last 14 years of diving, we got to love these majestic creatures and swom with many of them in a variety of places. So here are our 7 suggestions for the best places to dive with sharks.
Hawaii in a nutshell: sharks in abundance and superb diving. One of our most memorable trips before kids were Christmas in Maui and New Years Eve in Oahu. 1. Many dives in Oahu were by the beach and it was shocking to see the number of reef sharks hanging out by the piers, nearby swimmers and surfers.
Needless to say my surfing attempts got less enthusiasm in the sea and more in the evening – lounges and beach bars only! Dining, wining and clubbing aside though, Hawaii is one superb swimming, snorkel and dive destination. In Native Hawaiian culture, sharks are considered to be gods of the sea, protectors of humans, and cleaners of excessive ocean life.
2. Maui is lush, green, wet and filled with rainbows – sometimes we counted over 10 per day! Diver paradise as well, this is the only place where we met the majestic but shy hammerheads.
The trip was quite something – by far the most technical difficult dive we’ve ever done. The boat sails to the junction of 3 oceans – currents are mad and one needs to jump with the boat moving in circles and dive immediately below 5 metres – where the currents are more tamed. The encounter with the hammerheads redeemed the tough ride but my excitement of the actual encounter pleased less our diving instructor. Here I was in front of everyone else, fluttering my shiny underwater camera to get a picture of my hammerhead ! He came about 10m staring at me and the bunch of divers behind and then went away, shy and considerate.
Few other hammerheads but at a comfortable distance – made an out of the world dive trip. In the Native Hawaii culture the hammerhead sharks are thought to be the birth animal of some children; they are also rarely seen through the waters of Maui and when spotted are considered a sign that gods are watching over the families and that the oceans are clean and balanced.
3. Scotland. In a nutshell: much closer geographically to us, clear waters full of sealife, some stunning beaches. The catch? Freezing water temperatures – welcome to Scotland!
The isle of Mull and Iona have been a pure treat, especially that we managed one sunny day with over 22 degrees. White sand Caribbean looking like and blue crystal waters! But the day we took the Mull boat trip, the weather was less pleasing – showers, winds and rainbows all day long. Adventurous day to see basking sharks, puffins and seals!
4. Honduras. Swimming with sharks, more precisely diving and watching the dive instructor feeding them – very questionable practice ! Best introduction to Caribbean is cruising around and hopping on and off various islands. We knew from the moment we embarked in Puerto Rico we wanted to dive with the sharks in Roatan.
I did not expect though to actually question myself so seriously thereafter. My only dive where I lost my 4kg weights and half in had to go back up for a repeat rapid descent – no space left with the back protected but full action – 1.5m away from the feeding bucket…Diving and feeding sharks in Honduras is not for the faint hearted!
Also it’s not something I plan to repeat anytime soon.
Most of shark incidents are also closely linked to fishermen cleaning fish or surfers being confused as seals – so bucket feeding surely not a great idea or link to humans. After the dive, I have also read about a couple of incidents – something any parent will bear in mind! For a lovely article on Honduras with kids head to Oregon girl around the world.
5. Thailand. Koh Tao. Very topical, we stayed in Shark Bay at the stunning Haad Tien.
Life is beautiful in Koh Tao – Thai gem of an island. Aside our fantastic tales of me being asked to lead a dive and being forgotten in the sea!
Bull sharks and more often reef sharks can be seen in here. And here are some of the therapies required post such dives where one is forgotten…
6. Maldives. The shallow crystal waters of Maldives shores are incredibly deceiving when it comes to the real picture between the Reefs. The locals and dive instructors call it the ‘washing machine’ – the currents are incredibly strong, one needs to hold firmly with one hand the regulator and the other hand a piece of reef / corral. But the washing machine has a beautiful secret – once you are in and holding with a firm grip your stone, there’s a visual feast – they call it television. The sharks, turtles and fish are riding the currents – just like in Finding Nemo! Stunning dive and finds, technically difficult but this is one of best places to dive with sharks.
At Banyan Tree Angsana Velavaru in December 2017 we have been spoilt also with baby sharks by our beach every day and their parents whenever snorkelling. And swimming with sharks in Maldives has been a favourite pastime – 2 our favourite clips in here: little ones and slightly bigger 😉
7. For young kids like ours in easy distance, there’s also London aquarium. My kids are already fascinated by sharks – baby songs and documentaries. Having seen them in the Aquarium twice, my eldest seems to understand well that sharks are beautiful and far from the Hollywood clichés, not to be feared.
If anything, our 4 years old also knows that humans are doing much greater damage to the sharks compared to the isolated accidents where sharks hurt humans – slowly but surely chipping away nature’s equilibrium. We started them young as I truly hope in 20 years time we will still dive together and find colourful reefs and sealife!
For more wildlife adventures, check our articles on our favourite places in the world to snorkel with wild dolphins , the Manatees by Key Largo or best places to see turtles. Happy playful swimming all!
Very interesting places to dive with sharks.
Thank you Paul 😉 Glad you liked it and thanks for stopping by!
Such stunning locations and photos. I love the fact you are giving your children an understanding of the ocean life too
Thank you and yes, absolutely, our kids understanding the ocean is crucial into my eyes! I’m also glad to see Octonauts cartoons and how catchy it is with their generation – I am truly hoping will be diving together in few years!
Not something I’ve ever felt inclined to do, but I really enjoyed watching your videos from a distance!
Hehe Lucy 😉 Very funny you say that, I got so much adrenaline and heart racing even last editing the videos & wrapping up the post 😂
Wow – this is so brave. Not something for me but amazing to watch!
Great to hear, thank you Katy!
I have never tried anything like this before. Such beautiful places to visit 🙂
Thank you Claire!
Wow what incredible pictures, I’m not sure I’d be brave enough to do this!
I know, feeding and diving is surely questionable!
You’ve been to some beautiful places! Koh Tao has been on my list for years and I’d love to visit the west coast of Scotland. Amazing that it looks so much like the Caribbean although decidedly more chilly! I’ve snorkelled with sharks but I’m not brave enough to dive with them. Thanks for sharing with us on #FarawayFiles
To be fair I prefer diving with the sharks rather than snorkelling – they are definitely then getting the full picture and not interested ! Pleasure as usual to link in Clare!
It looks like you have been to some amazing places. I have a huge shark phobia and avoid the sea at all costs so this is not something I would ever personally do x
Thank you, I promise sharks are well behaved – much more than humans towards them for sure! X
Ok I just have to get it out front – I have a serious shark phobia! I’m fascinated by people who swim/dive with sharks because I could never. So I will do it vicariously through you…that hammerhead photo sent chills up my spine. Thanks for linking up with #farawayfiles
That hammerhead turned out to be so shy and well mannered 😉 pleasure to link in as usual!
What an amazing experience. This is top of Hubby’s wishlist and we hope to swim with sharks one day
I hope you both get to try soon -pls keep me posted Kara! And thanks for stopping by!
Wow what amazing diving experiences you have had. We have recently returned from the Maldives where my husband dived with reef sharks. I’m a snorkeller rather than a diver but love the experience of being part of the world under the sea, even if I am only looking down on it!
Hi Angie, snorkeling in Maldives is most of the time as amazing as snorkelling! I bet you and your husband loved it, where about did you stay? We can’t wait to go back ! 😉
Wow, you’ve captured some great moments! And been diving so many places! We aren’t divers but it was cool to see some of your experiences. Even the ones that may have been less enjoyable like Scotland because it was so freezing. Great post!
Thank you guys, glad you enjoyed it! Maybe you’ll also get hooked to diving one day!
Cool! I am actually terrified of sharks but I did think about going to see the great whites (from the boat) when I was looking into Cape Town adventures.
The great whites are a different ball game, indeed fom boat is best! Cape town has been so long for our list! Thanks for stopping by!
I have never gone shark diving. Would love to one day.
I hope you get to try soon and do keep me posted!
Oh wow, definitely wow! another one of a kind adventure that I would love to do! One of my bucket list for next year!
Great to hear Miranda, keep me posted! X
These are all such amazing experiences – wow – I don’t know if I am that brave. Su #KCACOLS
Thanks Su! I reckon my shark dive and feed are also gone – but probably for the best as it’s quite a questionable practice! Otherwise looking forward to seeing the baby sharks in the shallow waters of Maldives! Fingers crossed! Thanks for stopping by!
What a cool adventure, you’re definitely building some amazing memories with your kids. I’d love to do this!
Thank you David! Hope you get to soon as well, thanks for stopping by!
Shark diving would be one of my worst nightmares!! Love the locations otherwise though lol Thanks for linking up to #KCACOLS hope to see you there again.
Now shark diving I can get on board with. Dolphins are jerks but sharks are misunderstood. Love it. #kcacols
Haha, great summary, glad you like sharks better 😉 And thanks for stopping by! There’ll be more round ups on sea life, very interested to hear your verdict!
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