The famous Tiger shark bait dive is definitely one of the top dives in the world and this is part of the dive packages offered. The baited dive takes place on the southern tip of the Aliwal Shoal which takes 15 minutes to reach by Zodiac. Once on site the crew add chum to the water and this drifts with the current to create a chum slick tot he boat which hopefully the Tiger Sharks will follow.
We would normally wait any time from 30 minutes to an hour or two until a Tiger shark appears. It is important to wait for the Tiger sharks to arrive as they must be comfortable with the boat before the divers enter the water. During the wait you will receive a briefing to help you to understand the shark’s behaviour and how we behave to prevent any incidents from happening. Tiger Sharks are inquisitive and intelligent animals but also shy and over the years the crew have learnt how to read them underwater to enable relatively safe diving conditions.
There are strict rules to follow underwater and the dive masters are on watch all of the time during the dive to see if the rules are being followed by the clients. This is a serious dive for the experienced and all divers must follow the guidelines to ensure that the dive is safe and enjoyable. The Tiger sharks need to be respected for what they are and as long as you behave accordingly around most Apex predators then you will remain safe in their environment.
As well as the Tiger Sharks you will experience many other Black Tip Sharks as well as Dusky Sharks depending on the time of year. In the summer months you may even be lucky enough to see a Manta Ray or dolphins on the dive.
Oceanic Blacktip Sharks
The Oceanic Blacktip Sharks are resident at the Aliwal Shoal. There are many to see normally on the baited dives and they are usually the first to come to the boat even before any bait is put in the water. These sharks are relatively safe to dive with and are a pleasure to watch, photograph and interact with underwater. The Blacktips are also seen on many of the reef dives and the dive masters use their own special techniques without using bait to bring the sharks in.
Ragged Tooth Sharks
The Ragged Tooth sharks are normally around between April and November but recently over the last few years there have been a few found in certain places around the shoal year round. The Ragged tooth sharks are probably the most famous of all as they are the menacing goofy toothed shark that populate most aquariums worldwide. There are a couple of very popular spots for Raggies around the Aliwal Shoal and these are Cathedral and Raggies Cave. Both dive spots have many Ragged Tooth sharks in season and sometimes up to and over 80 at a time.
Bull Sharks (Zambezi Sharks)
Bull Sharks are normally seen on the reef dives south of the Shoal. As many of the dives in the week are on reefs there will be plenty of opportunities to see Bull sharks on the dives. The Bull shark is one of the most notorious sharks in the ocean and responsible for many shark attacks worldwide. Like all sharks in the ocean as long as you know how to dive with them then there should not be a problem having a good positive experience. The dive guides work hard on all dives to attract sharks to them and it is not uncommon for groups to go away at the end of the week seeing over 5 species of shark
Our dives with the Hammerhead Sharks take place normally during the summer months on the outside edge of the shoal. We will normally find the Hammerhead sharks in mid water away from the reefs when drifting in the blue.
Dusky Sharks visit Aliwal shoal normally in the winter months from May to October. The sharks are very similar in appearance to Black Tips. They behave similar to Black Tips but some tend to be a little more bold. More care is required when interacting with the Dusky Sharks as they have been known to bite divers in the past that have not followed the diving protocol.
The Guitar Sharks are found in the summer months on sandy patches resting on the bottom. These sharks are calm and you should be able to get up close to have a good look at them and have a photo taken with them.