Sharks are one of nature's most revered predators. Since the beginning of time man has waged a battle with these creatures for undisputed rights to the top slot at the summit of the food chain. While man has long since figured out methods of neutralizing the threat of sharks with technology, the fact still remains that without these tools the shark is still a very real threat. This primal fear makes it that much more of a rush to be able to interact with them in the wild and I think that is one of the reasons why the shark cage tour is so popular with our clients.
I started the day in downtown Honolulu with an early wake up call to ensure that I had adequate time to make my early 6:45am check in time at the Haleiwa Boat Harbor on the north shore. As soon as my alarm went off I snapped into action grabbing my gear, making a quick cup of coffee and then loading into the car. As I turned the key to start the car I couldn't help but to think about how crazy this day was going to be.
The ride to the north shore was fairly uneventful, as I passed the Schofield Barracks there was a tremendous amount of traffic from the soldiers checking in for morning duty at the base but as soon as I passed the base it was free and clear for the rest of the way to Haleiwa. I turned into the harbor and then made an immediate left to and parked right next to where the North Shore Shark Adventures boat was moored with the massive cage strapped to the back.
As I reached for the door handle I hesitated for a moment as I shook off the last few butterflies that were bouncing around in my stomach. My fingers popped the door open and as soon as I gathered together my equipment I made my way to the boat to check in.
It wasn't long from when I checked in before were out of the harbor headed for the old crab fishing buoy where the crew of North Shore Shark Adventures travels to everyday to drop their cage in with the sharks that swarm the area. I talked with one of the crewmembers on the way out and he explained some interesting things to me about the history of their dive site.
For years crab fisherman have visited this shelf off the north shore to drop their crab pots. There are large populations of crab that reside in the area that have provided a stable food source for the fisherman over the years. The fishermen however are not the only ones that feast on the abundant supply of crab; Galapagos sharks also swarm the area feeding on the crustaceans living on the bottom. When the fisherman come to the area the bait their traps before they heave them off of the boat into the water. This bate normally deteriorates on its journey to the bottom leaving chum like trails streaming out behind the traps as they descent towards the bottom. The Galapagos Sharks keen sense of smell alerts them of this as soon as it happens, they react by swarming the area to figure out what's it going on. Over time the sharks have been conditioned and they will begin to make their way to the area as soon as they hear the hum of the motors coming into the area.
I thought to myself that it seems like a likely story, but I really wasn't going to believe it until I saw it for myself. Sure enough, as soon as we pulled up to the buoy it wasn't more then 30 seconds before we saw our first dorsal fin break the surface. Soon after the first there was a second fin, then a third, and a fourth until there were about 30 sharks swarming around the boat.
The crew hastily lowered the cage down into the water, went over some last minute instructions and then started loading people in. There were floats on the top of the cage so the swimmers could get away with just using snorkel gear and did not need to bring SCUBA gear into the already crowded cage. They broke the group up into two teams. We were in team two so we got to observe the others before it was our turn to get into the cage. I vigilantly watched group one, at first I was trying to figure out which part of the cage would give me the best chances of seeing the most sharks. After observing for a minute or two I realized that the cage was completely surrounded and one spot was just as good as another to see the sharks.
As soon as we got into the cage and I put my face into the water I quickly realize that the sharks I was able to see from the surface were actually only the tip of the ice berg and the majority of the sharks were actually swarming under the cage, hidden from view from above the surface. For the first minute or two I was in the cage I forgot that I even had a camera in my hand. It wasn't until a wave slammed me into the side of the cage that I realized my camera was in my hand and started to film.
Being this close to these sharks was like nothing I have ever experienced in my life. As I bounced around in the cage I experienced a constant dilemma of whether or not to wrap my fingers completely around the bars of the cage. Having my knuckles on the same side of the cage as the sharks was too much for me to bear when the swarm of sharks was even remotely close to the cage. After what seemed like an eternity in the cage I could hear one of the crewmembers shouting for us to get out. After lifting my head from the water I could see the others making their way to the ladder at the edge of the cage. After getting back on the boat the reality of what I had just done began to sink in. I had just gone swimming with a swarm of sharks, in their own environment, with nothing between us but the steel bars of the cage. What an amazing adventure!
The Royal Kona Resort Luau is located in the heart of Kona town in-between Ali'i Drive and the ocean. When we pulled up to the check in I could hear the waves crashing against the rocks at the edge of the luau grounds, we were given leis and made our way to the bar to sample their specialty drinks.
Sailing is something that has always interested me. It's ability to tap into a renewable energy resource that has the ability to take you around the world brings with it a certain allure.
I was standing on the porch of our vacation rental watching the sunset when I reached into my pocket for my schedule so I could check and see what I had planned for the following day.
The Waipio Valley on the Big Island is estimated to have once been the home to a city of over 50,000 Hawaiians. The amount of history and beauty that exists in this place is unbelievable and if you have enough time to make it up here on your visit to the Big Island, you should.
Kualoa Ranch is one of the premiere attractions on the island of Oahu. It is a 4000 acre working cattle ranch that was established in 1850. Stretching from the mouth of Kaneohe Bay to the adjacent Kaaawa Valley, its' beauty has not gone unnoticed.
We showed up to our pickup location about a ten minutes earlier then they requested just in case we ran into any issues finding the pickup area. We were to meet a bus that was going to take us to the Aloha Tower Marketplace where we were to meet the Star of Honolulu.
It was a typical bright sunny day in South Maui as we headed down to Makena to go for a sunset sail with Kai Kanani Catamaran. As we walked along the grassy path to the beach we saw the beautiful catamaran coming towards the shore.
The Twogood Kayaks van pulled up to pick us up in front of our hotel in Waikiki. The van driver go out of the van, introduced himself, then opened the door and invited us in.
Swimming with the dolphins in the wild is something that can be easily arranged by Tom Barefoot's Tours for anyone vacationing on the Big Island.
Are you looking to do something a bit out of the ordinary during this trip to Hawaii? If so you're in luck! We have all kinds of different activities that are a bit unique, so if you're looking to come back home with some different kinds of stories to share with your friends then you should check out some of are blog articles we've written about some of the more "Unique" trips we've experienced.
Kimberly Munoz Victorville California