Baited Shark Dive

A Shark Diving Adventure!

Christopher Bartlett, Freelance Travel Journalist

The boat pulls up 10 metres from the buoy. You’ve been through the usual checks, and tucked any dangling gear away. And then you think “Am I nuts?” The oke in the water has just said that there are four Tiger sharks under the buoy and 30-odd blacktips and yet you’re pulling on your mask, holding your reg’ in, and listening to the skipper count down. You’re on auto-pilot now. Usual drill: Three, two, one, go! Hot tub, signal, orientate, extend hose, equalise, descend, look down and towards the bait box, bounce eyeballs off inside of mask! It’s shark soup down there. Woooohoooo! Awesome!

Hanging at eight metres, level with the bait box full of sards , you can observe most people’s idea of certain death for over an hour. Halfway through we had no less than seven Tigers, averaging four metres in length, enjoying a mid-morning snack, and no need for zoom lenses on this dive, these girls come closer than you’d let your boss tomorrow after a few celebratory post-dive foamies.

I have dived extensively around the southern hemisphere, and this is the best dive I’ve ever done; better than 30 minutes of mantas, better than whale shark snorkelling, better than qualifying. Sure, it’s over a thousand bucks, but, by Captain, it’s worth it.

Ok, so now you are thinking – “I wanna do that !!! Tell me more…..”

Aliwal Shoal is one of the few places in the world where divers can enjoy the extreme thrill of diving with both Oceanic Blacktip sharks all year round and Tiger Sharks in summer season, in the open ocean with NO cage.

These apex predators can be found in the warm waters of the Indian Ocean just a 20 minute boat ride from the launch site on the Umkomaas River.

Launches on our 8m RIB are scheduled for early morning, up to 8 or 9 divers (or snorkelers) will launch with a highly experienced Shark Diving Divemaster and a boatload (!!) of shark bait.

Upon arrival at the optimum position for attracting the sharks the bait drum is lowered into the water, and whilst you wait for the stinky fish to take effect you will receive a very detailed briefing of the morning’s events.

You will learn a lot about the Ocean Blacktip and Tiger Sharks’ habitat, feeding habits and behaviour.

Once the sharks arrive, usually Oceanic Blacktip sharks are the first to be sighted, it is kit-up time and everyone enters the water following the Divemaster’s stringent instructions.

The rest is an adrenaline rush like no other. You can expect to be in the water for around an hour, surrounded by anything of 6 up to 30 sharks, whilst hovering at 8 metres or so. Your encounters with these incredible sharks will definitely be of the ‘up close and personal’ kind !!!!!

If this kind of thrill rocks your boat – give us a call – we can make it happen.

Travel agents and standard tour operators email us at dive@aliwalshoal.co.za for Standard Tour Operators Rates.

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