The Selachimorpha species, commonly known as sharks, are among the most feared creatures on the planet. Warner Bros. Pictures is bringing back the big toothed fish on the big screen with its latest film The Meg. The story follows expert deep-sea rescue diver Jonas Taylor (Jason Statham), who is recruited to save a crew trapped inside a deep-sea submersible in the Pacific. The crew has been attacked by a prehistoric, 75-foot-long shark called the Megalodon. Taylor, who has encountered this creature before, along with a Chinese oceanographer (Winston Chao) face their fears and take it upon themselves to save the crew.
The Megalodon may be a fish from past, but in many spots around the world, one can dive in for a rendezvous with its living descendants.
The island group of 700 islands is touted for their resident sharks—from tiger sharks at Tiger Beach to hammerhead sharks at Bimini and Caribbean reef sharks all over. Most tour services take brave hearts into areas filled with sharks. Divers jump into the crystal blue waters and swim freely with the sharks. This is usually followed by a shark feeding dive wherein professionals feed the sharks while the diver is in close quarters. Some tours also take enthusiastic divers around a shipwreck that has turned into a haven of biodiversity—Nassau grouper, angelfish, blue tangs to schoolmasters and sharks. Bimini and Tiger Beach also provide cage diving opportunities.
With the temperature being great through the year, the Bahamas are the best place all year round for a shark diving experience.
A fishing town in the southernmost tip of Africa, Gansbaai’s popularity has risen in recent years, primarily because of the presence of the Marine Big Five. The term originated in Gansbaai and indicates a large population of great white sharks, dolphins, whales, penguins and seals along the coastline.
Right by the famed Dyer Island is Geyser Rock, which is the breeding ground for a pod of 60,000 Cape fur seals. The strip of sea between Dyer Island and Geyser Rock is fittingly named ‘Shark Alley’, as the seals who reside here are a constant food source to the sharks. Shark sighting, shark cage dives and whale watching are frequent activities here.
Shark cage diving is among the more popular tourist attractions in Gansbaai. Travellers sail to Shark Alley with their tour guides. Those who don’t wish to take the plunge with the cage, can view the sharks from the deck, as this narrow stretch of water is abundant with great whites. The more adventurous visitors can jump into the specially designed shark diving cage. Submerged in the water, they can simply watch the shark swim by or watch it engage with bait.
Various tour operators offer this full-day activity, which usually begins at Cape Town before heading to Gansbaai or Gansbaai Harbour.
Four small islands located south of the Eyre Peninsula, the Neptune Islands present a safe and comfortable dock and a stunning backdrop for a shark cage diving adventure. The best time to visit is from mid-September to late-January and then again from April to June each year.
These islands are the only islands in Australia where cage diving with great white sharks is allowed. It is also home to a huge colony of over 45,000 New Zealand fur seals—these furry creatures are the primary reason the great whites visit the Australian coast.
During the expedition, divers are put in a cage that is dropped down to around 60-80 feet, where it hovers along the kelp-covered sea floor. Face-to-face shark encounters along with views of the seabed filled with marine life can be witnessed during these dives.
The small volcanic island, located in the Pacific, off the west coast of Mexico’s Baja California peninsula, Gaudalupe has ideal shark-seeing consistency and conditions; it boasts of clear blue waters with visibility of 100-150 feet. Just this July, there were sightings of Deep Blue, a 20-foot-long great white, which was caught on video by the coast, by some travellers who were cage diving.
The Guadalupe season for shark cage diving is from August to October, when the ocean is at its calmest. Since there are no dive sites at Guadalupe, cages are lowered into the water at different spots around the island. Experienced operators gauge the conditions each day to figure out the ideal spot for maximum viewing.
At 30 feet underwater, sharks can get as close as 50 feet. The cages are secured and very safe, designed for maximum protection. Additionally, divers make sure that the sharks are never affected or injured during their interaction with humans.
The Meg opens in theatres on August 10, 2018.