One of the things we wanted to check off our to-do list before leaving Roatan, was the Shark Dive. It was something we wanted to do on our first trip, but somehow time slipped away from us, and we just never got around to it. When we were back this fall we made sure it was a priority.
Pretty much all of the dive shops or resorts on the island can book the Shark Dive for you, but if you’re short on time it might be a good idea to book this in advance, especially if you’re coming in high season, or on a cruise ship day. We purposely booked on a non-cruise ship day, and got really lucky as our group of 6 were the only ones scheduled for that day.
We arrived at Waihuka Dive Center on a beautiful sunny morning. We’d had quite a bit of rain over the previous few weeks, so the clear skies and calm waters only added to our excitement. After a few quick introductions we set up our gear and headed inside for a detailed briefing of the upcoming dive. The staff at Waihuka are professional yet friendly, and take their time to explain everything so you know exactly what to expect..
The dive site, Cara a Cara, which translates to ‘face to face’, is just a quick 10 minute boat ride from Waihuka’s shop in Coxen Hole. Usually there is quite a bit of current so a line is used to help you descend down to a sandy patch at the edge of the reef at about 18m (60ft), which backs on to a coral wall . The day we arrived however, we had near perfect conditions and no current at all, so we back-rolled in and descended without the line.
As we neared the sandy patch there were already several sharks swimming about. We all lined up, kneeling with our backs to the wall, snapping pictures as the sharks swam in front of us. After about 5 minutes the divemaster gave us the signal that we could swim freely among the sharks. In total there were about 12-14 Caribbean reef sharks swimming right up and around us, each about 2m to 3m long. It was amazing to see them swimming so calmly among us, and I could hardly believe how close they came, often within a foot or two before veering off in another direction.
After about 10 minutes or so of swimming among the sharks, the divemaster called us all back over to the wall, and the pulled the pin on the bucket of fish heads he brought down with him. This set the sharks into a feeding frenzy as they each tried to get in for a bite. One was so intent on getting a little snack that the bucket got stuck on his head. With in seconds it was all over and the bucket was empty. The lucky few who managed to get a bite darted off happily while a few others stuck around in hopes of more. As the sharks started to disperse we spent a few more minutes swimming around with them while the divemaster and Alex searched around the bucket looking for lost teeth. I was too busy getting in a few last minute pictures, but Alex managed to find two teeth and was nice enough to share with me.
As we ascended up towards the surface it was smiles all around. Our safety stop was filled with big expressions and enthusiastic double OKs, and as soon as we broke the surface, multiple cries of “Oh my god! That was awesome!” filled the boat. We all climbed back on board grinning from ear to ear enjoying the sunny ride back to Coxen Hole.
Posted by: Kelly