Shark Diving in Australia

Australia has some of the most diverse scuba diving destinations available anywhere in the world, making this vast island nation undoubtedly unique.

With it's combination of the Great Barrier Reef and tropical marine life that it supports in the north, along with the temperate diving zones and the temperate marine life of the south, Australia offers some of the most diverse scuba opportunities available anywhere.  A visit with the great white sharks near the Neptune islands of southern Australia may be the pinnacle of a diver's career, while a chance encounter with a grey nurse shark on the Great Barrier Reef may be the ultimate experience for another!

The Neptune Islands

The Neptune Islands provide an ideal habitat for great white sharks.  Great whites like rocky outcrops and volcanic islands because the shear drop-offs around the edges of the islands into cool, deep water provides the sharks with the temperature and depth that they need, while the seals and other animals that live on the islands provide an easily accessible food source.   The great whites can arise easily from the depths to feed and escape just as quickly away.  The Neptune Islands sit on a shelf south east of Port Lincoln, South Australia, and provide just such an ideal habitat.   This small group of rocky islands, composed of grey granite and coastal loam,  supports a large colony of seals as well as a colony of endangered Australian sea lions.  Underwater footage for the movie "Jaws" was shot here because the waters around these islands are a natural feeding area for Great Whites, and are also one of the single best great white dive destinations in the world.

The Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef is not just one reef, but actually a collection of reefs, comprised of over 2,700 smaller reefs, and dotted with hundreds of islands.  Considered one of the seven natural wonders of the world, the Great Barrier Reef forms a chain hugging the north-eastern coast of Australia for thousands of miles, running all the way from Bundaberg in the North, down to the tip of the Cape York Peninsula in the South. The reef plays host to numerous organisms and marine life, including over 350 species of coral, thousands of species of fish, molluscs, and crustaceans, birds, sea snakes, and turtles.
All together, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park covers an area as big as California. 

Sharks on The Great Barrier Reef

Two of the sharks most commonly encountered on the Great Barrier Reef are the black tip and the white tip reef shark.  These sharks, like other fish-eaters, have small, pointed, needle-like teeth, perfect for catching fish and small prey on the reef.  As long as they are not harassed or provoked, they normally pose no threat to divers, and chance encounters with these shy, timid sharks are the exception rather than the rule. The grey nurse shark can also be encountered on the reef, and just as with the reef sharks, divers who keep a respectful distance from them are more likely to have an enduring encounter rather than just a fleeting glimpse.

Conservation Efforts for the
Grey Nurse Shark

In recent years, experts have feared the population of grey nurse sharks has reached a critical stage.  Once prolific in the waters of Australia, these sharks were harmed by over-fishing, as they were hunted for their flesh, oil, skin, and fins.  They were also killed in large numbers by recreational fishermen, largely due to the fact that their ferocious appearance creates the mistaken impression that they are dangerous to humans.  Their slow reproduction rate makes it especially hard for this species to rebound from a population decline, and although amazing to dive with, interaction between divers and these sharks has to be regulated to protect the sharks.  To minimize the disturbances of their feeding and breeding activities, a code of conduct has been developed for diving with grey nurse sharks. For more information on this topic, visit:

Australian government Department of
Environment page for the grey nurse shark

Top Shark Diving
by Region

Bahamas

In the early to mid-seventies, ironically at the height of the popularity of the movie "Jaws," the Bahamas became known world-wide as a pioneer in shark diving and shark feeding dives!  With it's clear, pristine waters, and dive sites including great wall diving and blue holes, and its abundance of reef sharks, the Bahamas have become known as one of the world's best places for divers to encounter sharks in their own natural environment.  Sharks can be found in literally all waters around the islands, and a number of experienced dive operators can assist you in shark encounters around the islands. 
Click here for more
about the Bahamas.

California

In the past 20 years, researchers made startling discoveries about California waters.  One is that they discovered that great white sharks were returning to the Farallon Islands and Ano Nuevo Island, off San Francisco and Santa Cruz,  year after year, to make dinner out of the resident population of seals there.  And another was that the remote Isla de Guadalupe, 200 miles south of San Diego, was home to a population as well.  
Click here for more
about California.

South Africa

Undoubtedly one of the top shark diving regions of the world, South Africa offers everything from shark diving with raggies to the ultimate experience of cage diving with Great Whites!  With an enormously long coastline, South Africa offers an array of diving opportunities.  With it's warmer waters in the north, tropical and sub-tropical species inhabit the reefs, and whale sharks, turtles, dolphin, and ragged-tooth sharks  (another name for what we call sand tigers in the U.S.) can be seen on occasion in specific places.  Temperate waters to the south provide opportunities to dive in magnificent kelp forests, as well as the chance to dive in a cage surrounded by great whites! 
Click here for more
about South Africa.

This is your year to meet "Mystery" at Isla Guadalupe
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