So you’re planning a trip to Oahu which means you’ve probably seen photos of shark cage diving. As cool as that sounds, the only thing cooler is cage-free shark diving in Haleiwa. “Cage-free?” you ask. Don’t worry, it’s perfectly safe! This surreal Oahu shark dive experience brought us up close and personal with countless Galapagos Sharks and is undoubtedly one of the most epic things to do in Oahu.
WHERE CAN YOU SHARK DIVE IN OAHU
To experience an Oahu shark dive, you’ll need to head up to Haleiwa (Hale’iwa) along the North Shore. It’s around an hour’s drive from Waikiki to Haleiwa, but if you’re staying in North Shore then you’re in luck. Your Oahu shark dive tour will depart from the Haleiwa Boat Harbour right in the centre of town.
HOW TO BOOK AN OAHU SHARK DIVE TOUR
There are dozens of Oahu shark dive tour operators in Haleiwa, but we chose to book our shark diving experience with Deep Blue Eco Tours. We booked their Snorkel with Sharks Eco Tour for $140 per person which covers boat transfers, up to 45 minutes in the water as well as snorkel and fin rental. If you don’t have your own underwater camera, you can pay Monet – one of the crew members – to take your photos with her camera.
As a small boat tour operator, Deep Blue Eco Tours offers an intimate and personal experience and their crew of marine biologists share their knowledge not only of sharks but of their conservation efforts. They prioritise environmental sustainability, so we were stoked to have found a company that was in line with our own personal ethics. To book with them you can visit their website or message them on Instagram. FYI, they also offer sunset cruises and whale watching tours!
WHAT TO BRING SHARK DIVING IN OAHU
Prepare for your Oahu shark dive with our must-have travel essentials.
Waterproof backpack & phone case: Earth Pak 35L or 55L Heavy Duty Backpack, IPX8 Waterproof Phone Case Included (click for price)
Quick-dry microfiber travel towel: Wise Owl Outfitters Camping Travel Towel (click for price)
Insulated water bottle: Hydro Flask Vacuum Insulated Water Bottle (click for price)
Snorkel, mask & fins: Cressi Adjustable Mask, Fin & Snorkel Set with Carry Bag (click for price)
If you’re interested in photography and/or videography this is the gear we can’t live without:
To see our complete camera gear read this post here.
BEST OAHU TOUR PACKAGES
WHAT TO EXPECT DURING AN OAHU SHARK DIVE
We met the Deep Blue Eco Tours crew at the Haleiwa harbour and took the boat out around 15 minutes off shore. Since it’s only a small boat, we only had a group of 7 including the crew which made our experience really personal. Heads up, you’ll want to take some seasickness tablets before you board, as it can get pretty choppy out there.
The entire crew made us feel super safe and told us everything we needed to know about diving with sharks, not only for our safety but the safety of the sharks. With years of experience under their belts, we were advised not to swim head-on or underneath sharks but to follow them or swim alongside them. As careful as you are, sometimes they can still get a little close so if you want to put some distance between you, just stick up your fins and create some space.
We spent around 30-45 minutes swimming with Galapagos Sharks, which are known for being inquisitive but calm. Occasionally Tiger Sharks will show up, however we didn’t spot any while we were there. In case there are Tiger Sharks, you’ll need to hang onto a safety line and take turns taking photos with them.
Our Oahu shark dive with Deep Blue Eco Tours was such a surreal experience and we couldn’t have picked a better tour operator. If you ever find yourself in Oahu, you definitely want to add this to your itinerary.