The Broadnose Sevengill Cow Shark
This is an amazing shark to dive with with it’s prehistoric looks and calm slow movements. This shark can be seen in Cape Town in the shallows and in the stunning protected reefs in the Kelp forests along the Cape Peninsula marine reserve. The Seven Gill Cow Shark as named has 7 Gill slits rather than the standard 5 Gill slits most shark species have. They have a large round body with broad wide nose and comb-shaped teeth. These beautiful sharks are ancient with evidence linking them back to the Jurassic age from over 150 million years ago so diving with them is a real treat just for this reason alone.
The sharks are active hunters and predate on Rays, smaller Sharks and Seals and are known to hunt in packs when taking out large prey. Just try to remember this when you look around and see no one else near you except for 4-5 Cow Sharks circling you 🙂 This was my first experience and a memorable one. These sharks are very relaxed around divers and a joy to dive with as they (like Ragged Tooth Sharks) swim right up to and over the divers within very close proximity.
They are the perfect sharks for photos as they swim up and down the channels between the kelp allowing divers to lie at the bottom of the channels in wait for a close pass. The dive itself is a stunning dive with an abundance of colours and interesting lighting with the sun piercing through the branches of the long kelp.
Where to see them
The best place to see Sevengill Cow sharks is in False Bay, Cape Town, South Africa. The sharks roam in the kelp forests along the cape peninsular coastline close to Millers Point. These sharks are still present in Japan, China, Australia, New Zealand, Argentina and South Africa and the best place to see them is South Africa in the Shallows (10-12m)
Diving Locations: Cape Town