GREAT WHITE SHARKS
Neptune Islands, South Australia
Type of dive: Reef
Access: Boat, in a cage! (3 hours)
Minimum qualification: Open Water (Can also be done dry!)
Depth: 3-30 metres (10-100’)
Visibility: 10-30 metres (30-100’)
Water temperature: 18°C (65°F) – 21°C (70°F)
Best time to visit: April – July
Snorkelling: Yes, awesome!
Carcharodon carcharias is an awesome name for an awesome fish – the great white shark – the largest predatory fish in the ocean.
Great whites are probably the most feared animal in the world, a reputation not enhanced by movies such as ‘Jaws’! Their powerful jaws have over 300 triangular serrated teeth.
The average adult great white shark is 4.6 metres (15’) long and 1,100 kilograms (2,400lbs) in weight. They grow to 6 metres (20‘) and weigh 3,000 kilograms (6,600lbs) and females are, on average, larger than males.
At birth the pups are over one metre (3’) in length and independent. It takes four to five years to reach maturity and they can live for around 40 years.
Although sparsely populated, it is beleived there are less than 10,000 individuals worldwide. Great white sharks can be found in both hemispheres. They have been observed in the tropics but are mostly seen in coastal temperate and subtropical regions such as South Africa, New Zealand and Australia.
Great white sharks can swim at speeds of 24 kilometres per hour (15 mph) and tagged sharks have been known to travel around 10,000 kilometres (6,000 miles) in a 10 year period.
They are also capable of maintaining their body temperature up to 14°C (57°F) above ambient water temperature allowing them to have more speed and muscle power.
Their natural prey includes seals, sea lions, small whales, dolphins, rays, turtles and carrion (dead carcases) NOT humans.
Although they have been responsible for several attacks on humans, most attacks are thought to be a result of mistaken identity and are not fatal. Sharks appear to let go once they realise the mistake. Still, no comfort to the mistaken victim!.
Dangerous Reef and the Neptune Islands off Port Lincoln, on the Eyre Peninsula to the west of Adelaide, are two of the best places in the world to meet these awesome predators face-to-face in the wild. It is also the ONLY place you can admire the sharks from the bottom, swimming in their natural environment.
A great white shark encounter can be experienced either dry, as a snorkeller or on the bottom on scuba. Although an all year round activity, the largest sharks are usually encountered in late autumn to early winter (April – July).
Witnessing these apex predetors in the wild is an experience no diver should miss.
Copyright C 2015 Steve Sinclair
Other great dives to do while you are there:
Swim with tuna, Pearson Island sea lions, Point Lowly giant Australian cuttlefish and Port Hughes Jetty.
Phone: (+61) 8 8363 1788