When eyeball to beady eyeball with a 10-foot-long sand tiger shark, I have two thoughts: This is not smart, and this is the coolest thing ever. As it glides by, just feet away, I'm treated to an extreme close-up of its snaggleteeth, shaped like long medieval daggers.
Thanks to its wily grin, it is, hands down, one of the most sinister-looking types of sharks around. But here I am, dive gear on, regulator in mouth, and I'm making a heart shape with my hands. The safety diver next to me, holding a "shark wand" for my protection, agrees with a nod.
As I flipper-kick my way through the 500,000-gallon tank at the
I fully appreciate every facet around me. Especially the sharks. That said, if you're anything like me, every year you look forward to Shark Week on the Discovery Channel (starting Sunday).
With that in mind, we asked a few Shark Week experts to reveal their favorite shark-infested waters. Just remember: "Don't shark dive in murky water, don't shark dive alone, and don't act like prey, or they will treat you like prey," says Shark Week cinematographer
"Not only can you jump into the bountiful Cape waters (cage strongly recommended) with dozens of smiling great white sharks at the same time, you can also watch them go fully airborne in their acrobatic ambush breach attacks on Cape fur seals," Casagrande says. "There is no other shark on Earth quite like the great white and no other place on the planet like
If you're not up for being in the shark-infested water, visit during the annual sardine run, when millions of the tiny fish migrate northward and great whites, copper sharks and dolphins are in hot pursuit. You can watch by land or boat, and if you're lucky, you'll spot humpback whales, too.
"Tiger sharks are the star attraction at this dive spot," says
"The great hammerhead shark has to be one of the weirdest and coolest sharks on Earth to dive with," Casagrande says. "And the best place to find them is just off the beaches of the small island of Bimini in the
"The diving here is accessible via a beach entry, so no boats are required," Martinez says. "A short swim away, it is possible to find sevengill sharks during the summer months. During the fall season, it is possible to find huge schools of leopard sharks, tope sharks and the occasional angel shark and horn shark." For the truly adventurous, go about 10 miles offshore to hang out with blue and mako sharks -- the latter are the fastest sharks in the ocean.
"The biggest shark in the ocean is the whale shark, and the best place to dive with these gentle giants is
"Through the summer and fall, blue sharks and mako sharks can be found traveling the Gulf Stream waters past the shores of
"If you are a beginner to shark diving, then the perfect place to start is in
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