Swim with Sharks | North Shore, OAHU
by Mariam Beard • Last Updated: November 2022
Have you ever wanted to swim with sharks? Well, you can do just that here on Oahu! In this article, we’ll take you through the shark cage dive experience and provide you with all the information you need to know to make the most of your experience.
What is a Shark Cage Dive?
A shark cage dive is a tour that takes you out to the North Shore of Oahu, where you can observe and swim with sharks. The tour begins at Haleiwa Harbor, where you check in at the kiosk and board the boat. The boat then takes you a few miles offshore to where the sharks are.
Once you arrive, the crew sets up the cage and you can already see the sharks from the boat. The sharks are huge! The first group will hop in the cage and they’ll get about 20 minutes of time in the shark cage. You get provided with a snorkel mask to check out the sharks underwater. After the first group is done, the second group will hop in and have their turn.
How to Get There
Haleiwa Harbor is about 36 miles from Waikiki. The best way to get out to the shark cage is by driving out to allow for traffic and parking. I recommend giving yourself at least 1.5 hours to get up there.
If you don’t have a rental car, there is also an add-on Transportation option.
The tour runs throughout the morning and early afternoon. We did the 7:30 a.m tour and I’m so glad that we did. In general, early morning tours have the calmest ocean conditions.
There is also an option where you can go as an observer. This means that you’re paying a lower price to be on the boat and you’re not getting in the water with the shark cage. This is also a good option if some people in the group want to swim with sharks and some people don’t.
This was such a fun tour! My adrenaline was all over the place seeing the sharks from the water on the boat and actually getting in the shark cage to see them up close. It’s pretty humbling to see such majestic creatures. They were absolutely huge! The water is also so deep that you can’t see the bottom.
What to Wear and Pack
Main things to bring and wear:
- Wear your swimsuit underneath your clothes. This makes it super easy once you get on the boat.
- Bring a GoPro with a float handle. This way you don’t have to worry about dropping your GoPro and it’s sinking to the bottom of the ocean.
- Bring a snorkel mask. A snorkel mask is included, but I always prefer to bring my own gear.
- Bring polarized sunglasses.
- Bring a hat.
- Bring a refillable water bottle.
- Bring a towel and change of clothes for after snorkeling.
- Bring a dry bag. This keeps everything in one place and it’s super easy to make sure nothing gets soaked.
The number one thing that I would highly recommend that you bring is some sort of waterproof bag. People are getting on and off the boat, they’re wet, and water is dripping from them. If you have something valuable that you don’t want to get wet, such as any camera gear or cell phones, it is an excellent idea to get a waterproof bag.
My favorite waterproof bag is a 25 liter in mint green. It’s padded, has clips to make it comfortable, and it’s completely waterproof. It’s also big enough to fit a towel, cell phone, hat, and whatever else you need. It also has a clip section to clip on your sandals, flip-flops, or slippers, so they don’t get misplaced. There’s an outside zipper for you to put more things, but this is not waterproof. On the inside of the bag, there’s an inside pocket where you can put your wallet and cell phone.
Size: 25L, Color: mint green
When I’m doing underwater shots for snorkeling, I’ll use a red filter to grab more colors. Although the GoPro 10 is waterproof, I like using the underwater housing (with or without the red filters) to keep it clear of any saltwater. If you opt to use the GoPro brand red filter, you’ll have to use the underwater housing “shell” to attach it.