Swim with sharks: Sites for jaw-dropping sights
Get up close to sharks on your next trip
Think of yourself as a shark enthusiast? There's an entire week dedicated to sharks on TV and it starts on Monday.
Shark Week, which airs on Discovery Channel (StarHub Ch 422/Singtel TV Ch 202) from July 24 to 28 at 9pm, shines the spotlight on these fascinating creatures.
On its 29th anniversary this year, it returns with more jaw-dropping, compelling shark stories that will shed light on some of the most unique species of sharks.
Want an even closer look at these predators? Here is a list of destinations to consider.
Lord Howe Island Marine Park, Australia
This Unesco World Heritage paradise is a two-hour plane ride from Sydney or Brisbane, and offers plenty of popular offshore dive locations which are great for Australian Galapagos shark sightings.
The Galapagos shark is a reef shark found throughout the world in tropical or temperate waters.
But in Australia, they can only be seen on the reefs within Lord Howe Island Marine Park and are in abundance due to little historical impact from fishing.
The best sites to spot them include Admiralty Islands, Ball's Pyramid, as well as lagoon reefs like Comets Hole and closer to the shore at Ned's Beach.
Pulau Sepoi, Pahang, Malaysia
Getting to this islet near popular Tioman Island involves a three-hour car or bus ride, followed by two boat rides.
Many large corals are found at Pulau Sepoi and these make the perfect hiding spots for nurse sharks to take their afternoon nap. Slow-moving and bottom-dwelling, they are mostly harmless to humans.
Shark Bay, Koh Tao, Thailand
Also known as Thian Og Bay, this is a serene area with a beautiful white sand beach that makes for the perfect place to relax.
But if you are up for some diving or snorkelling, Shark Bay is a hotspot for blacktip reef and whale sharks.
There are shark nurseries as well and young sharks can be spotted at certain times of the year.
Belongas Bay, Lombok, Indonesia
Warning: Diving at Belongas Bay is challenging due to rough seas and strong currents so ensure that you have adequate experience and are well-equipped and prepared.
It is known for three famous dive sites - The Magnet, The Cathedral and Gili Sarang. The Magnet is perhaps the most oft-mentioned of the three, thanks to hammerhead shark sightings here.
These aggressive hunters tend to school from May till October.
SWIMMING WITH SHARKS: SOME DOS AND DON'TS
- Research, research, research
Get more information on the waters you will be in and its community of sharks. Other factors that can impact your experience include weather, time and season.
- Be mindful of what you wear
Sharks might mistake bright and shiny objects for fish scales so it's best to wear neutral hues and avoid bringing shiny equipment.
Sharks are also said to be attracted to the colour yellow.
- Steer clear of bait
On some dives, chum - bait consisting fish parts, bone and blood - is used to lure sharks. Keep a safe distance.
- Dive in a group
Sharks typically target lone individuals so as far as possible, dive with a buddy or two.
Source: Discovery Channel
Shark Week highlights
- Shark School with Michael Phelps, July 27, 9pm
What are some of the common myths and misconceptions surrounding sharks? How do you dive safely with sharks? Phelps joins Dr Samuel "Doc" Gruber and Dr Tristan Guttridge of the Bimini Shark Lab for a crash course.
- Shark-Croc Showdown, July 25, 9pm
Dr Mark Meekan and conservationist Paul de Gelder, both with their own missions, visit the "sharkiest" places in the world - a remote wilderness called the Cobourg Peninsula in Australia's Northern Territory. The former counts sharks and other marine species as part of Vulcan's Global FinPrint project, while the latter investigates if sharks and crocodiles truly fight over sea turtles there.
- Phelps VS Shark: Great Gold VS Great White, July 28, 9pm
US swimming legend Michael Phelps, winner of a record 23 Olympic gold medals, will take on the ocean's most efficient predator in this epic swim-off. Will he prove to be faster than a shark?