I was also concerned that after paying for a tour, I would only see a couple of sharks...and then I worried that the water would be freezing... and I hate being cold. The North Shore of Oahu was the perfect place to do my first dive because not only did we see a ton of sharks, but the water was WARM!!!
I chose North Shore Shark Adventures as our tour companu after reading some Trip Advisor forums. The staff were fun, punctual, informative, and had a GoPro movie service for an additional fee. The footage on this post is from their movie, which I then turned into still shots/short clips and edited via iMovie.
We reserved an 8am slot and headed out. It was a clear and already hot day, so the boat ride out to the cages felt great, though the water was rough and made for some queasy stomachs.
I don't know what other tour companies do, but the NSSA company does not chum for sharks. Chumming is when you throw fish parts and blood into the water to attract sharks. It works, but makes for gross swimming water and attracts more sharks into the bays. This company takes you out to where the crab catchers keep their nets, a couple miles into the open sea. Every morning, when the crabbers go out to collect their catch, they throw back all the smaller crabs per regulation. The sharks have learned that if they just hang out by these nets, they eat good every morning! Oahu makes an ideal spot to do a dive; not only are there a ton of sharks just hanging out on any given day, but the sharks have recently been fed and have no interest in human consumption!
Like I said, the water was rough, so getting into the cage itself was precarious and didn't do anything to set my mind at ease. I was the first one in, so I had to manuever around to the back of the cage. In doing so, my leg shot out between the bars as one big wave knocked the cage around. Since I had yet to stick my face into the water and see the proximity of the sharks, this didn't cause me much concern. However, a moment later when I decided to take my first look and saw a shark within an arms distance from me, I was counting my lucky stars!
Once I stuck my head under the water, I forgot all about the rough sea! I was mesmerized by the world below, by these awesome creatures. They didn't seem concerned about us at all.
Trying to keep balanced- Me on the far left
Most of the sharks here were Galapagos sharks. The ranged from 8-10 feet long and many of them were pregnant (we were told, I certainly couldn't tell).
The sharks often swam within touching distance
There were so many sharks!
Everything was going fine! We had gotten use to being so close to the sharks and were feeling at ease with our situation...until the Barracuda showed up. According to our guide, this guy was close to 5ft long, the biggest he had ever seen! Though he was long, he wasn't very wide and could have easily fit through the bars of the cage had he wanted to.
This isn't a great angle to show how big he was, but it was the best shot I could get from the footage. Barracudas are known for being voracious and can get up to 27mph when attacking. Thank goodness this guy was in a good mood!
What an awesome experience! So glad we did this, it was a great way to start our 2 week trip! I love pushing the limits of my comfort zone!