Save jaws: swimming with sharks in hawaii

Swimming with sharks in North Shore Oahu: a great experience to raise awareness about the fact that sharks are not monsters but apex predators.

The sun was rising over the range of the North Shore and my heart was beating fast when we left the harbour in Haleiwa. “Am I crazy?” I thought. I was going to free diving with sharks. What does this mean? No cage, open ocean, wild sharks. Which type of sharks? Well, it depends on which ones show up. Can be Sandbar, Galapagos, Tiger or even Great White. It’s pure wilderness and so, unpredictable.

When we arrived miles away from shore and we stop the boat engine, several Galapagos and Sandbar sharks surrounded us. We located in a deep channel when the sharks use to rest after the dawn hunting action. They were so elegant and all the fear was suddenly replaced by pure charm for these creatures and a great excitement to get in the water with them.

Was it scary? Not at all! It was like being in a live nature documentary and it’s gorgeous to watch this animals behave in their natural habitat.

We free dived with 8-10 Galapagos sharks of 4 to 12 ft of length. The dominating female was pretty big and was swimming closer to the surface compared to the other smaller sharks to establish the hierarchy in the group. It’s very important to keep eye contact with the sharks to make clear that we are not preys and to always stay above them to establish our hierarchy too. Sharks were actually not really interested in us, but they got pretty excited when a school of tunas made its appearance and some little victims got in the mouth of the Galapagos. That was actually super exciting to watch and will definitely remain as one of the most wonderful experiences of my life.

I joined the Pelagic Shark Program with One Ocean Diving, the research educational company run by sharks conservationist Ocean Ramsey and sharks photographer Juan Oliphant. All the researchers and guides of One Ocean Diving are really passionate about sharks and about what they do. They share knowledge and help people to better understand sharks and safely interact with them.

Sharks are often defined as monsters, but they are not. It’s sad to see how they have been demonised and for this reason culled. It’s time to share knowledge and protect them!

Did you know that every year there are more victims due to coconuts falling compared to sharks attack? But still, sharks represent one of the most threatened marine animals on the planet. Their number has declined by approximately 90%, and if we continue on the current path many species will go extinct very soon. As apex predators, they play a key role in maintaining the health, biodiversity, and productivity of the ocean.

One of the biggest things we can do to help is taking action in our daily life to be conscious consumers. Don’t support businesses that sell shark or shark derived products like shark meat, cartilage, shark fin soup, shark leather, teeth, pet products, etc. Support sustainable fisheries rather than commercial sources. We would also need the state governments to ban the right to fish for sharks recreationally and commercially, as well as to ban the selling and shipping of sharks, shark products and their fins.

We really need a global perception change for those gorgeous creatures!

Sharks were not interested in us at all, however please keep in mind that they are still wild animals. Make sure you purchase your travel insurance before taking part on this experience. World Nomads Explorer Plan covers every type of extreme activity!

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