Delightful Distractions – The Shark Dive Adventure

The Oahu, Hawaii North Shore Shark Adventures dive was undoubtedly a distraction – but I cannot say it was a delightful one!

Oahu North Shore Shark Adventures dive

It all started with a promotional brochure

Dive into the natural world of the sea’s most glorified predator from the safety of a shark diving cage. Galapagos & Sandbar sharks, as large as 15 feet, will surround the shark cage providing an experience unlike you have ever felt before. A definite far cry from watching Shark Week from the comfort of your living room couch. North Shore Shark Adventures has been doing this for a long time, all year round so you can expect a safe, amazingly fun shark tour!

Sounds fun! We read on…

On average, the sharks that you will see will range in size from 5 to 15 feet. Up to eight people can fit inside the cage, so your entire family can see the sharks at once. Since the sharks are interested in the sound of the motor, we do not have to use any chumming to get the sharks interested. Pack your underwater camera or buy one on the trip to photograph the sharks up close.

How could we resist? We purchased tickets.

The Bumpy Ride Out

The promotional material also advised, “We strongly encourage you to take the earliest time available to take advantage of the calmer morning conditions…”

We took the later tour, which was 10:30 am. I watched the 9:00 tour folks exit the boat and wondered why none of them were smiling.

As we got on the boat, we were instructed to remove our shoes and put them in a box for retrieval after the event. Reason? To keep people from tripping over them.

There were about twelve of us, along with three crew members. The waters were extremely rough. A crew member warned us about seasickness, “It’s real on these boats.” I guess so! Almost immediately, one of the young male passengers became ill. He hung on to the side of the boat while his mom stroked his back. Poor guy.

Circe and I enjoyed the bumpy boat ride three to three miles offshore. Then we saw it. THE CAGE. Bobbing up and down in the water like a cork on a raging sea. And sharks were circling it.


The Dive

The boat stopped near the cage and tied it close to the boat. Masks and snorkels were handed out. We were instructed to climb into the cage and hang on to the bars. If we could, we were to stand on the buoys or bars for feet, as to avoid kicking our fellow adventures in the head.

“Whose great idea was this?” I started to tremble. “Whose great idea was this?” I asked Circe. I knew the answer….mine.

Masks and snorkels were handed out to the first group to enter the cage. Circe and I watched somewhat apprehensively as the cage floated about 20 feet from the boat. I was debating whether to skip this and get my money back. But Circe was the first in the second group to bravely lower herself into the cage. If she did it, so could I. I climbed in slowly, clutching my waterproof camera. The crew had their hands on my arms until I entered the water.

Getting in was not too difficult. Water temperature was okay. Not warm, but certainly not cold. Hanging on to the cage was very difficult. The water was extremely, extremely rough. My camera flailed about as I tried to get a grip on the bars and steady myself. The bars for the feet were too low, so I had to crouch my entire body on the top bars. Not exactly comfortable, but better than having my legs and feet float outside the parameters of the cage!

I got some excellent views of sharks. That was inspiring. Our time in the water was about 15 minutes – which was more than enough for us! We thankfully climbed back into the boat. By the time the ship reached the dock, all but four passengers were heaving off the back of the boat. That explained why there no one was smiling from the first tour!

After thoughts

Back to the promotional material.

“Featured on BBC Outdoors, the Travel Channel and many other shows, North Shore Shark Adventures is one of the most unusual experiences you can have in Hawaii. “

Unusual. I’d say so! I’m glad I did it, but I would not do it again. And I would not recommend it to anyone unless the waters are super calm and you take some sort of motion-sickness medicine or wear a patch.

Some people swim with dolphins, but true adventurers swim with the sharks!

Next time, I’ll take the dolphins, thank you. Here a video that helps explain why…