Shark Week is in full flow. What started as a series of shark-themed programmes on Discovery Channel 26 years ago, to raise awareness and build respect for sharks, has grown into a multimedia frenzy of shark-themed stories, posts, games, pictures and videos.
The underlining message: we need to save these powerful creatures, which are vital to the eco-system, as they are almost extinct. Sharks as a species are older than dinosaurs, yet in recent years humans have nearly killed them off by fishing for their fins. Just to put that into perspective, the world’s shark finning industry is worth more than the world’s illegal drugs trade.
Help spread awareness this week by getting involved in the online shark love fest, then get up close to the powerful beasts in our top five cracking locations…
For hammerheads: Cocos Island, Costa Rica
This world-famous island is where Jurassic Park was filmed. Just off the coast, at the Bajo Alcyone dive spot, divers will find hundreds of scalloped hammerheads and white tip reef sharks cruising past. Quite a sight.
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For nurse sharks: Great Blue Hole, Belize
This deep submarine sinkhole is one of the most spectacular places to spot sharks. The varying levels and karst limestone ledges make this a haven for marine life, including our blue finned friends. Resident nurse sharks, Caribbean reef sharks and bull sharks cruise through this natural wonder on a daily basis. However, get to the site early, throughout the day they are scared away by all the big commercial boats.
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For guitar sharks: Palawan, Philippines
More than 300 different types of coral, plus 379 species of fish, make this the perfect habitat for a shark. The exceptionally clean water ensures top visibility and a good chance of spotting black tip reef sharks and guitar sharks amid the slopes, crevices and caves in the area.
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For whale sharks: Surin Islands, Thailand
Dubbed a ‘whale shark magnet,’ Richelieu Rock, near Khuraburi Island is the place to clap eyes on the most docile sharks in the ocean. But these plankton-eating beasts certainly look threatening enough – they’re the size of a double decker bus and have mouths up to 1.5metres in size with 350 rows of teeth inside.
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For white tip reef sharks: Maaya Thila, Maldives
Small, slender and grey, white tip reef sharks may look ferocious, but they are unaggressive towards humans. Among the 1,192 paradise atolls divers will find Maaya Thila, known by the locals as the ‘White Tip Reef Shark Capital of the Maldives’. They best way to spot them is at night, when they’ll be lurking in the shadows.
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