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Where To Dive With Great White Sharks

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Duh duh… Duh duh…Welcome to scuba diving with Great white sharks – the king of the underwater world!

The most famous of sharks to the non-diving community, they’re world-renowned for their utter jawesomeness, mostly because of that movie you might have heard of… JAWS!

For some people, the very thought of encountering these sharks underwater is terrifying, but for a lot of the scuba diving community, the thought is utterly thrilling.

Even the most seasoned divers will likely experience a feeling of vulnerability when they first dive with the ocean’s most intimidating predator.

While the media has given them a bit of a reputation as human killers, Great white sharks aren’t as badly behaved as the news likes to report.

On average, shark fatalities are limited to 2 per year, and that’s across all species, around the whole world. Notably, humans kill 100 million sharks every year. You are in fact far more likely to be killed by a coconut, your flip-flops, or a vending machine.

Nonetheless, most people choose to dive with great white sharks from the safety of a cage. Read on to hear all about the best places in the world to do it!

Diving with great whitss_ andrew cox

What Is Shark Cage Diving?

Shark cage diving is diving inside a metal cage, which gives divers (and non-divers!) a safe space to be underwater with minimal risk in the presence of sharks! Most often Great whites.

You can either go in on scuba, hookah or as a snorkeler during surface shark cage diving and on scuba or hookah in bottom cage diving on the ocean floor. In some locations, chumming, or shark baiting is used to attract sharks.

Keen to take the plunge?! Check out our list of the best places to go diving with Great white sharks.

Diving With Great White Sharks In Isla Guadalupe, Mexico

Isla Guadalupe is undoubtedly the best place in the world to go diving with Great white sharks.

This uninhabited volcanic island is a solid 150 miles (240 km) off the coast of Baja California. This beautiful but remote island is only accessible by a few epic liveaboards.

Departing from San Diego in the USA or Ensenada in Mexico, most liveaboards offer 5 or 6-day trips with a whopping three days of goosebump-inducing cage diving!

The water ranges from 21-24°C and notoriously the vis often soars above 30m! That’s pretty warm and clear in the world of Great whites. The tour is suitable for all levels of divers and non-divers alike.

Cruise over from July to November for a chance to witness this insane wildlife encounter. The juvenile males turn up early for the chance to mate, while larger more established males rock up from September onwards.

The females appear later in October, and while this is when the weather starts to change, it’s a great time to visit with sharks en masse! Nearly 300 Great whites visit Guadalupe every year so the stats are in your favor for an epic experience.

Great Whites in Mexico_ISLA GUADALUPE

Diving With Great White Sharks At The Neptune Islands, Australia

Deep in the Southern Ocean lies the Neptune Islands, a rugged place that seriously puts South Australia on the map for Great white shark diving.

The Islands lie in the Spencer Gulf, a three-hour boat ride from Port Lincoln, just west of the capital, Adelaide.

It’s the only part of Australia where you can get face to face with the ocean’s biggest apex predator shark.

The best time to go is from May to October when juvenile seal pups first start testing out their swimming skills, although the operators run year-round and peak season is over the Christmas holidays.

The best thing about Port Lincoln is there are a couple of operators offering both day tours and longer liveaboards.

They even offer the unique opportunity to do ocean floor shark cage diving. Most shark cage diving is one at the surface by hookah or snorkeling, but these operators offer this with both hookah and scuba diving.

The great thing about this is the sharks are relaxed when cruising the seafloor, versus at the surface when they’re investigating the cages or feeding. All operators here do use chumming techniques. 

Australia is actually the home of shark cage diving – giving an authentic experience to witness these incredible creatures in their homes.

Take note – you may notice a running theme here that Great whites like cold water – temperatures drop to 14°C in the winter.

The liveaboard operators actually helped take the footage for the infamous JAWS movie, and all operators are involved in research of the animals, transparently documenting their sightings of the Pointers they see on tour.

A big bonus of this location is the chance to swim with the endangered Australian sea lion.

Of course, this is done in a safe place away from where the big sharkies like to hang out. Known as the puppies of the ocean, it’s a very different experience from swimming with sharks, but just about as fun!

Diving With Great White Sharks At Farallon Islands, USA

A mere 29 miles from San Francisco’s beautiful Golden Gate Bridge lies the Farallon Islands. They’re a National Marine Sanctuary, home to an impressive five species of sea lion and seals. The elephant seals seem particularly delicious to migrating Great whites, who stop for a snack on their journey to the mid-Pacific.

The sharks appear from July to January and you could be lucky enough to hang out with some of the 100 individuals who pass through each year. Including some of the largest Great whites to have ever been recorded! This is the only place in the USA you can consistently find and dive with the Greats.

The best time to dive is from late September to the end of November during the peak hunting festivities. Beware though – you shouldn’t be so scared of the sharks but of the water temperature! It’s usually a chilly 12-14°C!

The nice touch about diving with Great whites at Farallon Islands is that they used mammal-shaped decoys to attract sharks, rather than chum or shark bait. From a conservation perspective, this significantly reduces the environmental impact of the activity and limits interference with normal feeding.

From an ethical and sustainability standpoint, this is one of the best places in the world to dive with Great white sharks. The operations allow these magical creatures to thrive and exist relatively undisturbed. They also support vital research and it helps raise public awareness of these incredible creatures, dispelling myths around how dangerous they are and how we can coexist alongside them in harmony.

Diving_with_great_whites_USA_Andrewfox

Diving With Great White Sharks In Western Cape, South Africa

Dyer Island

South Africa’s most southwestern tip was colloquially known as the Great white shark capital of the world. Home to a 200 mile stretch of coastline between Gansbaai and Mossel Bay, peppered with the big dogs of the ocean. A few miles out from Gansbaai is Dyer Island, populated with 60,000 Cape fur seals and many penguins, which attracted what was once the densest congregation of Great whites.

Shark Alley is the infamous dive site, although since 2017 the number of sharks has dropped off a cliff. It’s thought Orca predation pushed the population downwards, and now the area has been taken over by Bronze whalers.

The area is very accessible and popular as you can access the sharks by day trip, even to non-divers, which is much easier and more affordable – however, less exclusive. 

You can dive with sharks here all year, but the best chance of sightings is between May and October. It’s a bit chillier down here, with water temperature dropping to 14°C in July and reaching 23°C at the end of January.

False Bay

False Bay is easily accessible just off the coast of Cape Town. Just 35km south is Seal Island, which was once known as another of the Great whites hotspots. The sharks used to ‘fly’ to the surface to attack their prey.

Diving with great whites in the Western Cape province of South Africa is possible all year round. The coast is calmer during the winter months of June to August, although you can expect the colder water then too. 

Operators still run in both Dyer Island and False Bay, although the shark sightings have dropped off, it’s not to say they won’t return in the future. 

false_bay_great_whites_mikebolton

Dive In With The Greats

Do we have you convinced that diving with Great white sharks, the scariest fish in the ocean is a great idea? People wouldn’t do it if it wasn’t a good idea, right? So dive on in and tell us about your experiences in the comments below!

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  • Welcome

    My name’s Austin, and I created OtterAquatics to help readers become better divers, help them buy their first gear, and plan their next dive vacation!




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