North Shore Shark Adventure has been featured on the BBC Outdoors in England, ESPN Outdoors, Canadian Wildlife Television and on The Travel Channel (Extreme Beaches). North Shore Shark Adventures is the very best of the few Shark Encounter Tours in Hawaii. In June, 2009, I took this Shark Encounter Tour at 8:00 am. I must tell you, this is the most thrilling things I have ever done. It is the most awesome experience to be able to experience the beauty and excitement of 18 - 20 sharks swimming right next to you in their own native waters. Watching these sharks rise from the depths is an unforgettable experience that not many people will get to do in their lifetime. The sharks you will see on this shark encounter include the gray reef Galapagos, sandbar and hammerhead sharks.
The Hawaiian word for shark is Mano and sharks are still central to the culture of the native Hawaiians. In Hawaiian legend, each island has it’s own shark god. The king shark god of Oahu is Kamohoali’i. Kamohoali’i is the top shark god and older brother of the fire goddess Pele. He lives in an underwater cave just off of Pearl Harbor and is the provider of the canoe which brought Pele from Tahiti to Hawaii. Ancient Hawaiians hunted sharks for their meat, teeth and skin. Heiaus (temples) were built to honor shark gods. Many Hawaiian families had their own personal shark Aumakuas (guardian spirits).
We started our North Shore Shark Adventure when we arrived at the small Haleiwa Harbor at 7:30 am and boarded the Kailololl, a custom 35 ft Anderson boat. The tour is limited to 6 passengers which makes it very comfortable on the boat. We enjoyed beautiful views of the north shore coastline and mountains on the 15 minute 3 mile ride to where the shark cage is lowered into the beautiful clear ocean waters. The moment the shark cage was lowered into the cobalt blue sea, the sharks seemed to come from the depths of the ocean to the surface to greet us.
These were Galapagos sharks and ranged from 6 - 12 feet in length. We put on our snorkel gear and were instructed on how to get into the cage safely. This cage had large poly-glass windows on either side for viewing. The poly-glass seemed to disappear as it submerged into the water. Once in the cage, I could not believe that I was only inches from these amazing creatures. There were about 18 sharks which came right up to the cage. My heart was pounding. I never thought that I would have the nerve or get the chance to be in a shark cage and swim with sharks. This thrilling adventure profoundly changed my feelings towards sharks. I was told by one of the skippers that often on the way to the shark area, you will see dolphins, the Hawaiian green sea turtle and in the winter months, the famous humpback whales. The two skippers, Tim and Larry were a lot of fun and very knowledgeable about sharks. These two guys were really great and told us a lot about sharks and the ocean. We had a lot of fun with a huge bird that kept flying by to steal the fish that was being thrown to the sharks. When we came out of the cage, this huge bird was sitting on the cage just above my head. At the beginning of the tour, you are given very good snorkel equipment and offered to have a DVD made of your shark adventure. At the end of the tour, they give you a sticker showing that you swam with the sharks and offer a variety of really nice t-shirts for sale. I got two of them. North Shore Shark Adventure is truly and adventure of a lifetime. I just can’t believe that it took me more than 40 trips to Hawaii to discover this amazing adventure. I highly recommend that everybody do this Shark Encounter!! After this adventure, spend some time in the town of Haleiwa and visit the surf museum and get the best Shave Ice in Oahu. Below I have put together a slide show from my adventure in the shark cage.
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