On The Water
Once arriving at the aggregate zone the marine biologist/divemaster will enter the water first to survey the pelagic species, ID specific individuals present, determine the most dominant individuals and number of pelagics present for the research data set.
After the initial information is shared with the captain on board, the first three individuals will don their snorkel gear and walk down the swim ladder and into the water to float on the surface while the sharks and other marine pelagic species swim around the boat. The marine biologist will constantly monitor the sharks and other pelagics, and public program participants for changes in behavior and social dynamics. Your in-water guide will periodically relay information to the captain or one of the research interns on board for the research data set. After the initial 20min the first three people will exit the water and the second group of three will enter (sometimes it is possible to rotate in water based on current conditions and animal behavior). Depending on the animal’s behavior, current, water conditions and individual persons comfort and snorkeling abilities it is sometimes possible to allow more than three persons in the water at a time. After the first rotation both groups will switch and have an additional 30 min each in the water (depending on weather conditions, animal behavior, commuting to and from site and groups showing up and leaving on time, donning and adjusting gear/getting in and out of the water, the average person spends 45-95 minutes in the water).
Once you come back on board you will likely have a completely different view of sharks, a realistic and most likely a calmness and excitement about just how incredible they are. You will get to see for yourself that they do not look at humans as a natural prey item and you’ll get to see just how beautiful they are for yourself.
While on board between rotations you will be able to talk about your interactions, what specific behavior you observed, which specific individual sharks or pelagic fish, dolphins, or whales were present. The rotations also give you a great opportunity to be able to adjust dive gear, camera settings, and to talk to the captain about what you experienced, the current plight of sharks and conservation efforts and needed around the world. This is a major highlight of the program, to be able to talk to the experts in their field and help get involved with the change we hope this program inspires.
The surface time is also a great opportunity to look for whales and dolphins *Whales are seasonal in Hawaii November to May/during the winter months. Dolphins are seen year round but not as frequently on the north shore as the west side of Oahu.
After everyone has at least two rotations we will make our way back in towards the harbor keeping an eye out for other pelagic life like dolphins, flying fish, seabirds, whales, and we can even stop by a Honu (turtle) cleaning station where you can sometimes see up to 15 turtles getting cleaned by small fish. Your marine biologist/safety diver will talk with you about which species of pelagics you saw and specific behavior you encountered on your adventure. The marine biologist will share information about the current research, population trends, plight or threats to sharks, sea turtles and humpback whales globally!
Before arriving back at the dock you will be given a hot peppermint and tea tree oil face towel to freshen up with and cards with great information about how you can #HelpSaveSharks and protect marine life.
We hope you will come out and experience this one of a kind, life-changing experience with us very soon. Mahalo nui loa (thank you so much) for supporting shark and marine research and conservation. Aloha