If you are planning to visit the laid back North Shore of Oahu for a stroll through Haleʻiwa town in search of shave ice or perhaps, to see the big wave surfers in action this winter - I highly recommend booking a shark tour adventure for an experience of a lifetime.
Especially if you are afraid of sharks...and who isn't? Really. The tour begins with an exhilarating 15 minute boat ride, which gets your adrenaline pumping as brisk ocean water splashes into the boat from every angle (the further toward the back of the boat you are, the wetter you'll be).
Upon arrival, you will be greeted by dorsal fins cutting through the surface. This will likely be a moment when you reconsider, but as others start descending the ladder into the cage, you will see that it is, in fact, extremely safe. The cage has large Poly Glass windows for a view unobstructed by bars, which also makes you appear tougher & more adventurous in photographs.
The tour lasts about two hours and if you happen to be with a smaller group (eight or less) you will be allowed in the cage for the full duration, larger groups alternate in two shifts. The water is a little chilly and approximately 600 feet deep. It was the first time I had ever been in water so deep I could not see the bottom, which is both humbling and awe-inspiring.
There is plenty of room in the cage to swim around and see the sharks from different angles. Sharks are extremely curious creatures and swim right next to the cage, frequently making strong eye contact.
They do not bump against or attack the cage, as humans are not their natural prey. Seeing them in their natural environment is the best way to appreciate these incredibly intelligent creatures and helps to quell the fears many of us picked up while watching movies like Jaws.
Hawaii Shark Encounters provides snorkels & masks, but you may bring your own. I would recommend taking Dramamine in advance if you are prone to sea-sickness and wearing sunscreen, especially if your tour is during the afternoon.
The tour guides are extremely friendly & knowledgeable and happy to answer any questions you have. Safety is definitely a priority, but the only real concern is watching your step while entering & exiting the cage, not from the sharks.
Many people are content to watch the sharks from inside the boat, as it is not mandatory to enter the cage, though it is certainly more fun.
I cannot recommend this experience highly enough, as it is truly an adventure you will never forget and an educational tool for children & adults to help promote and further the cause of shark conservation.
Children (under 12) $75
Kama'aina and Military (Adult) $90
Kama'aina and Military (Child) $70