DARE DEVILS looking for their next big thrill are creating a new wave of brave travellers who are tackling activities like shark diving on overseas holidays.
The increasing interest in dive holidays has prompted youth and adventure specialists at Student Flights to compile a list of the world’s top shark dive sites.
Student Flights brand leader Darren Lloyd said diving cage-less with sharks is undoubtedly going to give thrill seekers the adrenalin rush they’re after.
“Our consultants often get requests for extreme adventures or unique travel ideas, and in the past few years sharking diving has become increasingly popular with travellers keen to tackle a challenge on their next holiday," Mr Lloyd said.
“Shark dives offer an amazing perspective of these fascinating creatures and there are plenty of options for first-time or experienced divers, from a floating snorkelers’ cage to without a cage or simply viewing sharks from the safety of a boat.”
Mr Lloyd said there were certain regions around the world that were better known for having an abundance of shark species, mainly because the destination offers the right combination of weather and conditions.
According to Student Flights, the world’s most popular regions for shark dives include the Bahamas, Southern California and Rhode Island in the USA, Gansbaai in South Africa and Isla Holbox in Mexico.
Nassau attracts thousands of tourists every year who come to enjoy the corals and beautiful fish - but the desire to see something big has been increasingly on the rise. To satisfy shark seekers, many dive operations now guide curious travellers to locations where, after dropping chum to attract a crowd of white or black tip reef sharks, divers jump in and observe the feeding frenzy above them.
Southern California, USA:
California shark dives are offered by operators from the Los Angeles area, Catalina Island and San Diego. The dives vary but all involve long boat rides out to deep water. From the safety of a steel cage and armed with only a camera, divers can see great white sharks, makos, hammerheads and tiger sharks.
Rhode Island, USA:
Pull on a wet suit and jump overboard into the frigid waters off Rhode Island - about three hours offshore along the edge of New England's continental shelf. It is here that the migratory blue sharks prefer to linger. This is their preferred pit stop before shifting southward to Cape Hatteras and as far away as Africa.
Gansbaai, South Africa:
From Gansbaai, the 'World Capital of the Great White Shark', you can get on a dive boat to the infamous Shark Alley. Rumour has it that there are more great whites in this part of the ocean than anywhere else in the world. And at nearby Seal Island, you might even get to witness the astonishing sight of great white sharks leaping out of the water as they hunt seals. A variety of diving operations offer the chance to see the sharks underwater in a cage or to enjoy them from the relative safety of the boat. And many operators don't require you to be a certified diver either, so snorkelers are welcome.
Isla Holbox, Mexico:
This is one of the best places in the world to see the biggest fish in the ocean and the gentlest shark of them all, the whale shark. Called 'Dominos' by the locals - due to the distinctive white spots on their backs, these huge fish can grow up to 30 feet long. But they only eat plankton, so swimmers need not be concerned.
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