The cageless shark dive terrifying Australia

Allison Yee
Senior Lifestyle & Entertainment Producer

If you can’t listen the theme song to Jaws without breaking out in a cold sweat, the Shark Dive Xtreme might just be worst nightmare.

Launching this week at Sea Life Sydney, adrenaline junkies now have the chance to do a cageless swim with not one, but five Grey Nurse sharks measuring up to a whopping 3.2 metres long.

While they might have innocent sounding names like Mary Lou, Napoleon and the slightly more sinister Striker, this dive takes you about as close as you can get to these enormous predators.

Scared of sharks? This dive will make you face all those fears. Photo: Be

Be suited up to stare these sharks straight in the eye – and it was definitely one of the more heart-pounding, anxiety-inducing things we’ve ever done.

After being fitted by the lovely instructors in scuba gear, it was off to a quick training session in the pool. Thankfully they teach you the dive basics, like the all-important “I’m not OK!” signal when the shark attention gets too much.

No dive experience is necessary for the 30 minute dive. Photo: Be

Forget about fending those inquisitive sharks off though, touching isn’t allowed and if curious sea animals head your way, it’s all about staying still and letting it do its thing.

Forget any cages, there’s nothing between you and the shark. Photo: Be
Five Grey Sharks live in the aquarium, with the largest measuring up to 3.2 metres long. Photo: Be

“Due to anatomy of the Grey Nurse shark’s, teeth they must swallow their prey whole, which limits the size of prey they can eat,” Alex Kessell, Shark Dive Xtreme Co-ordinator tells Be.

“Luckily for us, humans are far bigger than what Grey Nurse sharks are capable of swallowing, so they don’t view us as potential prey! Sharks also have predators of their own.”

You’re at their mercy as sharks swim past. Photo: Be

It’s not just sharks that’ll keep you on your toes. The dive will also get you up close to hundreds of other sea animals, from Port Jackson and Wobbegong sharks, to two huge female Tasmanian Smooth Rays, Stumpy & Big Mouth.

“Stumpy is a rescue and has no tail, and Big Mouth, as far as we know is the largest smooth ray in human care in the world,” says Alex. “She is about the same diameter as a queen size bed. We estimate her to be around 50 plus years old.”

Sharks, rays, turtles and a huge array of fish can be found in the tank. Photo: Be

Thrill-seekers will absolutely love the experience. With your heart pounding in your ears, sharks making a beeline your way, and the feeling of helplessness as they slowly cruise within inches of you, it’s a dive like no other.

And those looking for the ultimate shark experience can combine it with other high-adrenaline activities.

“[We’ve had] dozens of underwater proposals, and an underwater wedding,” says Alex.

Find more info on the shark dive here.


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