Holy shit I swam with sharks! And it was my fault, actually. After going to Hawaii for my birthday, I thought it was a very good idea to book a shark swimming activity while staying on Oahu (what on earth was going on in my mind? That was the exact question my roommate at that time was asking me but somehow I still thought it was the best idea ever). And it was!
Okay, so growing up in California and going on "shark swimming adventures" it might not be a big deal for other people. BUT FOR ME IT WAS. That is why I wasn't too sad when it seemed like I would miss our tour. But guess what - I didn't. And guess what - it was amazing!
Up to that point I didn't realize that you could swim with sharks so freely. I even thought being inside a cage was too much of a risk. And honestly - who would want to swim with sharks anyways? Like - in the ocean? Like - not even near the shore but 3 miles off the coast? I was super nervous as I had never even seen a shark in the wild before. And when I spottet them aboard I was convinced I wouldn't even make it into the water at all. That being said - it was one of the most amazing experiences I've had in my life and I would definitely do it again - and you should do it, too
I booked our tour with Island View Hawaii and they couldn't have been better guides. The family-owned pelagic dive tour company is located in Haleiwa, Oahu and lets you swim freely with sharks approximately 3 miles off the coast. That way you can see the sharks up close - or you know - whatever's hanging in the water just now (we were actually able to hear a whale when we were under water, too).
After boarding the boat in the Haleiwa Harbour we drove three miles out. On the way, we got to hear some interesting facts about sharks and of course some instructions for the actual shark swimming experience we were about to have. Our safety diver escorted us into the water and made sure we were okay and followed the rules during the swim. A second diver took pictures of our shark adventure so we were able to fully concentrate on our experience and didn't have to worry about taking good shots.
While in the beginning we spotted three to four sharks around the boat, we were surrounded by at least twenty at some point! Scary! The sharks came really close and moved really quickly sometimes. And you know how their mouth is never completely closed? That definitely made me nervous, even though our instructors gave us a lot of information about the behaviour of sharks and told us that this behaviour is completely normal.
It was great how much emphasis the crew put on giving us a better understanding of those animals. We learned a lot about sharks in general as well as the different kinds of sharks you can encounter along the Hawaiian coast such as sandbar sharks, tiger sharks, galapagos sharks or hammerhead sharks. I definitely have a better understanding of the ocean and its inhabitants than before.
Did you ever swim with sharks? Would you consider doing it? I am excited to hear your opinions!
Kate recommends: A shark adventure goes wonderfully with a copy of "Decompression" by Juli Zeh. The novel follows a couple - a privileged soap star and a middle-aged author - travelling to Lanzarote to get diving licenses. A love triangle with their diving instructor Sven develops and rapidly gets out of hand. As always - Juli Zeh is using a smart and intense language that makes her novels exciting and thrilling. She also is one of my favourite German authors of all time so if you happen to speak German, I would recommend reading the German version ("Nullzeit").