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Swimming With Sharks In Hawaii | Don't Ever Look Back

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Swimming With Sharks In Hawaii

Swimming With Sharks In Hawaii

We asked our readers to challenge us to step outside our comfort zone when we announced we were starting our round-the-world trip in Hawaii. One of the responses came from Amanda of A Dangerous Business who challenged the two of us to go shark cage diving on the North Shore.

Well, we’re not going to say no to a challenge, are we? Especially when our Hawaiian visit coincided with National Geographic’s Shark Week!

Hawaii Shark Encounters

Hawaii Shark Encounters.

So we organized with Hawaii Shark Encounters to take their Hawaii Shark Tour and hopefully have an experience of a lifetime! We set off from our accommodation before 5am and began the drive to Haleiwa on the North Shore for their 6:30am departure. The two of us definitely aren’t morning people, but the opportunity to swim with sharks convinced us to get out of bed before sunrise.

After arriving at Haleiwa Boat Harbor, we checked-in on the boat and met the friendly crew and 9 fellow passengers. Shortly after, we set off into international waters to Hawaii Shark Encounters’ shark cage which is located 3 miles off-shore.

Our Shark Boat - "Kainani".

Our Shark Boat - "Kainani".

The boat pulled up to the shark cage and within minutes, we had our first shark sighting as we spotted a fin of a Galapagos Shark darting through the water. Soon there were several more sharks circling the boat and our moment of truth had arrived – we were in the first group of 6 to get in the water and our guide told us that it was time to put our masks and snorkels on and jump into the ocean.

A Galapagos Shark

What we spotted after arriving at the shark cage!

Putting all fear aside, we plunged into the water and bravely put our heads under water to see what was going on around us.

We were surrounded by sharks!

Everywhere we looked, there seemed to be at least one shark, if not more! And these sharks were getting so close to the cage that we could have easily reached through the steel bars and touched them!

The two of us in the shark cage.

The two of us in the shark cage. See the shark on the right?!

Twenty minutes later, our guide informed us that our time in the water was over and it was time for the second group to enter the cage. We reluctantly climbed out of the cage, disappointed that our time with the Galapagos Sharks was finished – this was easily one of the coolest things we’ve ever done and we never wanted it to end.

Want to know what we saw in the shark cage? Check out our video below…

The two of us had hoped for the experience of a lifetime and our adventure with Hawaii Shark Encounters exceeded all expectations! If you ever have the opportunity to go swimming with sharks, don’t pass it up.

Have you gone swimming with sharks before? Or is it on your bucket list? Tell us in the comments!

Disclaimer: We received a complimentary tour from Hawaii Shark Encounters. A huge thanks to Rich, Cole and the rest of the team who made our day a once-in-a-lifetime experience. As always, all thoughts and opinions are our own.


  1. Posted September 26, 2011 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

    On the one hand, I’m tickled that you guys rose to my challenge! On the other, I’m super jealous that you got to see so many sharks!! I tried doing this same tour on the North Shore in February, and no sharks showed up. Not one. It was kind of a let down, and now even more so when I see what you guys got to experience! Awesome!

    Think you’d ever try it with bigger, meaner sharks?
    Amanda recently posted..All Lit Up – Can You Name These Cities?

    • Posted September 27, 2011 at 1:02 am | Permalink

      We were slightly worried that the same thing might happen after reading your post but we got really lucky and it was an amazing experience! If you ever make it back to Hawaii, definitely go on it again so you can see what we did!

      Not too sure about bigger sharks yet, but I think if we ever make it to South Africa we couldn’t say no to going in a cage with some great whites!

  2. Posted September 26, 2011 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

    You are either completely mad or very brave! That is more than I would of done. Glad you enjoyed though
    Natalie recently posted..Setting Off On My South Western Tour

    • Posted September 27, 2011 at 1:04 am | Permalink

      We thought we would be terrified too but once you’re in that water, it’s just incredible!

  3. Posted September 26, 2011 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    Shark diving during Shark Week?!?! now that is just asking for trouble!! haha
    that must of been really cool, were they feeding the sharks while you were in the water with them? I probably would of freaked out! 🙂
    Cailin recently posted..What should I do in San Francisco?

    • Posted September 27, 2011 at 1:07 am | Permalink

      Haha yeah fortunately we went swimming with sharks BEFORE we watched any of the specials on Shark Week. We may have chickened out if we had seen them beforehand!

      I don’t think they did feed them – their website says that the sharks are just curious and check out anything floating in the water such as a boat and will congregate under floating objects.

    • Posted September 28, 2011 at 3:16 am | Permalink

      When I was there, someone in our boat asked about feeding the sharks (or “chumming” them). The crew said it’s illegal in Hawaii for a boat to lure sea life with food, unless it’s being used specifically as bait for fishing. So these sharks are legit just curious!
      Amanda recently posted..Road Trip Day 18-19: The End of the Road

  4. Posted September 26, 2011 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

    That’s wicked! I’ve wanted to go swimming with sharks for a while now but was contemplating doing it in Port Lincoln, South Australia – I think the Hawaiian waters would be a much nicer place! 🙂

    • Posted September 27, 2011 at 1:11 am | Permalink

      It really was fantastic – if you can do it in SA, go for it! You might even see a Great White!

      The Hawaiian waters were still pretty cold in the early morning and the warm water shower we had on the boat after our swim was the best!

  5. Posted September 27, 2011 at 3:15 am | Permalink

    That’s so cool! I looked at shark diving while we were in Hawaii, but in the end we didn’t have time. Sounds like you had a great experience!
    Emily in Chile recently posted..Celebrating Chile at Parque Intercomunal

    • Posted September 28, 2011 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

      That’s a shame you didn’t have time to go swimming with sharks – we did have a great experience. Hopefully you’ll get to do it somewhere someday. 🙂

  6. Posted September 28, 2011 at 8:15 am | Permalink

    Ahhh y’all brought back a million memories for me. I did this same tour when I was in Hawaii… I loved it so much. Glad yall did it & enjoyed it~ Lucky yall got it for free… wish I had had my blog then…lol jk~
    Jaime recently posted..Chefchaouen, a town with a million shades of blue “in photos”.

    • Posted September 28, 2011 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

      How great was the tour?! So glad to hear so many happy people who have done it – you really don’t expect it to be so good until you get out in the water.

      And haha, we may have been comped but the post and video took plenty of time to put together!

  7. Posted October 1, 2011 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    Awesome! My ex and I looked at doing a cage free shark dive in Fiji while we were there earlier this year, but we didn’t have the time and I totally regret it. I think I’d be a tad more comfortable with a cage though :-p
    Chris recently posted..Guest Post: Waking Up in Belfast

    • Posted October 2, 2011 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

      As placid as these sharks were, I don’t think I would’ve been going into the water without that cage to protect us. There’s just something that’s reassuring about being separated from them by thick steel. 🙂

  8. Posted October 3, 2011 at 2:55 am | Permalink

    I would be petrified, but it looks like these sharks were pretty calm. I bet it is an experience you will never forget!
    Suzy recently posted..24 Hours of Ambling Around Asheville

  9. Posted December 14, 2011 at 10:42 am | Permalink

    I’ve swum with dolphins but sharks would be a whole different kettle of fish – literally! I reckon it would be awesome though.
    Spencer recently posted..Today’s Super Hot Hotel Deals for the Dominican Republic!

  10. Posted March 4, 2012 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    There’s a 99% chance I’ll be going to Oahu for spring break next week. And if I do, I am DEFINITELY doing this! Looks like a truly amazing experience. And I love sharks! 🙂
    Claire recently posted..Castles

  11. Posted May 3, 2013 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

    What a TERRIFYING thought!!
    This is up there with jumping out a plane for me!
    Sam D – Travellingki recently posted..Best of Bangkok (PHOTO BLOG)

  12. Posted December 5, 2013 at 12:54 am | Permalink

    This must have been some type of experience! I can tell from the pictures that you guys had a great time!

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