What better way to kick off a trip in Hawaii than going shark cage diving in Oahu?
Everyone’s all settled in and still not over the fact that less than 24 hours ago, we were just in Alaska. But no time for rest. I made it known to them that bright and early tomorrow morning, we have to head towards the North Shore for Event #4. I didn’t tell them anything about the event, except to wear swim gear and bring waterproof cameras if they had them. We packed the rental car and took off early in the morning to the North Shore of Oahu. Our destination? Haleiwa, HI.
Event #4 of 5 – Shark Cage Diving Oahu
Before we left, I woke up Veronica around 6am to take a couple motion sickness tablets. She gets as sick as I do so we both took them early in preparation. She didn’t know yet why she needed them, but she didn’t hesitate to take them. Once we pulled into the Haleiwa park and saw the sign for “Hawaii Shark Encounters” she then knew exactly why she needed the tablets. “We’re going shark cage diving!”
The boat for our dive came about 15 minutes after we arrived and we got on board with seven other divers along with two instructors. One of the instructors let us know that the type of sharks we would be seeing were Galapagos sharks, which can grow up to 3.3 meters (11 feet) in length.
We rode the boat about 20 minutes out into the sea where we found our cage attached to a buoy. Thankfully, the weather was especially welcoming and the waters were of a comfortable temperature, unlike my previous shark cage diving experience in South Africa. Already we could see sharks swimming below our boat, much to the elation of everyone. Once anchored, we put on our wet suits and snorkels masks and climbed down into the cage which was now securely attached to the boat.
I was feeling a tad sick from the boat ride–just a tad, but going underwater made it feel a little better. Just in time, as I was able to concentrate and focus on capturing awesome footage with my GoPro.
The Galapagos sharks look vicious, but are actually mild in comparison to Great Whites. These sharks aren’t fond of humans as a meal, but instead will let you swim freely around them once they grow comfortable and realize that you are not a threat. If I’d known that this was a thing, I would of had all of us free dive with them instead of cage dive, but baby steps. I wasn’t sure how Veronica, Katelin, and Sean would fare but they ended up loving it! As far as Chris goes, per usual, he is game for literally anything at anytime.
The cage was big enough to fit six people comfortably, but still we would bump into each other. No one paid mind though. The sharks captured all of our attention as the crew members baited them and we watched them chomp all around us. They swam so close to our cage that you could touch them. In fact, I think my GoPro caressed one as it swam by with little reaction from the shark. Without notice, my camera-free arm and feet would dangle outside of the cage at times. That’s how comfortable I was in that cage and how comfortable I was with those sharks, to not mind my limbs dangling freely (sometimes). Now if these were Great Whites, that would be another story.
After awhile of nonstop shark action, I began to feel nauseous again. I felt like I could vomit in the coming moments, so I exited the cage early. But just a couple minutes after I climbed out, the crew decided that we were in long enough anyways and they had everyone climb out.
“Look out into the horizon,” said one of the crew members to me, knowing that I was feeling sick. “You’ll start to feel better.”
And so I did. I’m not sure if it was just a mind game or what but I actually did begin to feel better by just staring out into the distant shore of Haleiwa. Veronica was feeling sick to so I told her to look out into the horizon as well.
On the way back to the dock, a pod of dolphins swam in sync to the waves our boats’ engine created behind us. This is the first time I’ve seen dolphins in the wild and so many of them at the same time! The cherry on top of this neat excursion.
That’s half of The League of Eight Extraordinary Events down, another four to go!
What next could I possibly have in store for my crew of clueless globetrotters?