I do watch some, though, because I am fascinated by these creatures. Someday I'll check off that bucket list item of swimming with them. I got this idea in my head while in Tahiti a few years ago. The islands offer some fantastic opportunities to dive with sharks - black tipped reef sharks, lemon sharks - the "friendly" ones, mind you. Not like the big guy above.
From extreme adventures to more benign experiences, "Shark Week" reminds me of the numerous opportunities around the world to swim with sharks, whether its scuba diving or snorkeling, from a cruise ship or a day trip.
In Australia, the Neptune Islands are the most well known venue in the region for great white sharks. Located about 40 miles off the coast from Port Lincoln in South Australia, the marine reserve is home to over 50% of the areas great white population. The best time to visit is either during the Australian summer (end of November through February) when the fur seal pups are being born or in the winter (May through October) when one has the best chance to see the big females - some over 20 feet long!
Closer to home, Guadalupe Island, Mexico and the Farallon Islands, California, offer exceptional experiences as well. Guadalupe Island, a volcanic outcrop, is located 160 miles off the coast of Baja. In fact, some say this area offers some of the best, if not the best viewing in the world due to its crystal clear waters. Peak season is summer to late fall (August through October). Note - most trips are overnight excursions, not day trips, due to the distance. The Farallon Islands are located 28 miles off the coast from San Francisco (and are still considered to be within city limits). These barren islands are not inhabited and are a national wildlife refuge. Peak time is between September and November when the elephant seals are at their greatest numbers.
As stated early, I fell in love with the idea of diving while on a Paul Gauguin cruise. The diving excursions are designed for all levels of experience, and one can even get PADI certified while on board. What an inspirational place to learn!
- Western Australia - Ningaloo Reef (March - July)
- Yucatan Peninsula - Quintana Roo / Holbox Island (July - September, July and August peak times) This area has the largest known gathering of sharks at one time.
- Honduras - Utila (Sightings year round, peak March-April)
- Belize - Gladden Spit (March - June , peak April-May)
- Galapagos Islands - Darwin Island (June - November)
- Philippines - Donsol Bay (November - June, February - April peak times)
- Thailand - Koh Tao (April - June)
- Seychelles - Mahe (August - November)
- Maldives - - Ari Atoll (Year round)
- Mozambique - Tofo Beach (October - March)
- Saudi Arabia - Al-Lith, Red Sea (Late May -late July)
- Qatar - Al Shaleen Oil Field (June - August)
- Djibouti - Gulf of Tadjoua (January)