A Guide to Oahu’s North Shore Shark Adventures
One of the coolest tours you can experience on the island of Oahu is North Shore Shark Adventure’s shark cage diving tour. It’s one of the best experiences I’ve had on the island and I’ve gone twice – once in 2014 and once in 2021!
The words “shark” and “diving” may seem a bit intimidating but don’t worry – you won’t actually be diving in the ocean. You leave the North Shore on Oahu and travel 3 miles out to sea (about a 30 min. boat ride) and hop in a cage while Galapagos sharks swim around you.
Some things to note:
- North Shore is a bit of a drive from Waikiki Beach area, typically a 1.5 hour drive.
- Transportation is available from the Waikiki area for an added cost of around $75/person for a round trip. They have buses that can pick you up from your hotel, and run a few times a day. You can learn more about transportation on their site.
- Shark sightings are a 100% guarantee. You may also encounter dolphins, Hawaiian green sea turtles, and humpback whales (November through May) on your trip. The first time I went, the tour was earlier in the day and we saw plenty of dolphins swimming with our boat as well as a humpback whale. The second time I went, we took the last tour available at 4pm and didn’t see any other marine life. However, we were the only boat on the water at the time, so we were able to see more sharks.
- If you tend to get sea sickness or motion sickness often, I would highly recommend taking motion sickness medicine like Dramamine, as the boat is relatively small and it gets pretty rocky. They don’t sell food on the boat, but you can bring snacks such as chips or ginger bites to help with motion sickness as well.
- If you chicken out of getting in the cage, you will still be partially charged for riding the boat out into the ocean.
- You can bring your waterproof phones, cameras, or Go Pros on the tour. I highly recommend having somewhere to store your camera while getting into the cage as the waters are a little rough while entering and exiting the cage. If you have some sort of wrist or body attachment or a small pouch to carry it, that would be ideal. I was able to stuff my Go Pro into my swimsuit (one-piece) to securely hold it while I was getting in and out of the cage.
Sharks have existed for over 350 million years, long before the time of the dinosaurs! On this boat tour, the types of sharks you may encounter include the Gray reef, Galapagos, Sandbar, and Hammerhead sharks. The most common type of shark you will see on the tour are Galapagos sharks. They recognize the sounds of the crab-fishing boats taken out on the tours and come up to the surface of the water for the promise of crab.
Galapagos sharks are bottom feeders and usually dwell in deeper water ranging from 200-800 feet (60-244m). They usually eat prey from the ocean floor such as crabs, bottom-dwelling squid, fish, and octopus. Galapagos sharks are found in tropical seas near islands.