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The Ultimate Guide to Diving with Bull Sharks in Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Are you aching to do something adventurous and maybe out of your comfort zone? You have thought about diving with bull sharks but still not sure if it would be a good idea? Don’t worry, we can help you out!
Many people would think that diving with sharks is a crazy and dangerous idea, but in reality, sharks have no interest in attacking humans. On the contrary, once you are out there, surrounded by these beautiful creatures, you will see how majestic and peaceful they really are.
Are Bull Sharks Dangerous to Divers?
Bull sharks are not dangerous to humans. We do not belong to their food chain and they are not there to hunt us. We are to them as dog food is to us. We do not like it or eat it as our daily meal but under tough circumstances, like facing starvation, for instance, we would eat dog food. Shark attacks on divers are extremely rare. Divers do not need to worry about scuba diving with bull sharks as they do not pose any threat to us. They are considered among one of the most aggressive sharks due to their characteristics, together with their cousins the great white and tiger shark. The bad reputation of bull sharks comes from the rare cases of attacks against humans when migrating through rivers. Bull sharks are amongst the only sharks that can be in freshwater, they also use rivers to migrate. In the murky, brackish water with low visibility, the sharks are feeling stressed, and in case of bumping into something their first reaction is to bite it without questioning it. For example, they use the Mississippi River or the Amazon River in South America during migration. Accidents like this do not happen when scuba diving with bull sharks in the ocean in Playa del Carmen due to the amazing visibility. They attack big prey but not humans. You have a better chance of finding a pot of gold underwater than getting attacked by a shark. And in the end, humans are a way bigger threat to sharks. There are some more bull shark facts you might want to know.
Are Bull Sharks Friendly Then?
Yes, of course, you can’t look at them the same way you look at puppies; it is a fact that they are wild predators. But you can dive with them without any problems by following safety procedures and being knowledgeable about these creatures and their behavior. In our case, we get only pregnant females and some juveniles during our Bull Shark season in Playa del Carmen, they are in breeding mode and the more territorial males are far away from our coastline at this time of the year, creating the perfect environment for us to dive with them.
What are Baited Dives?
A baited dive is when the sharks are attracted to the area by using a bait that is different types of fish or fish products. This will make the sharks stick around and bring them closer.
On the other hand, baited dives are not a natural environment encounter. It can affect the sharks’ behavior and if not done properly the sharks can start to see us as a free food opportunity and forget about their natural food source. It is important that sharks get their food independently and do not rely on humans for that. This is why many choose to dive with bull sharks freely without any other interaction than the occasional picture.
At Koox Diving, we prefer to observe them freely without unnatural interaction, the females we dive with in Playa del Carmen, for instance, will change behavior as soon as they sense fish therefore we think it is safer to not feed them. We are not opposed to baited dives, in the end, it is all about how it is done. If it is done responsibly, it will help towards shark conservation and provide economic value. Often after diving with sharks, either bated or not, divers start to see sharks differently and get more passionate about protecting them.
What Certification is Required to Dive with Bull Sharks?
To dive with bull sharks, you will need to own an Advanced Open Water Certification. Firstly, it is a deep dive exceeding the limit of the Open Water Certification. The depth of this dive is 65 – 100 feet (20-30 meters) and their favorite spot is around 90 feet (27 meters). Secondly, it is not an easy dive as sometimes there can be a current present and we need to do smooth descends and ascends as a group. Don’t forget that you are still surrounded by big predators and thus confidence and good dive skills will make the dive more enjoyable. You can always refine your buoyancy control and breathing techniques by completing a Buoyancy workshop with us and you can always extend your bottom time if you dive with Nitrox Enriched Air.
When is the Best Time to Dive with Bull Sharks in Playa del Carmen?
The bull sharks visit us at Playa del Carmen from November to March. Take into account that each season is different as the sharks are not following a strict timetable. Some years they come for a longer period of time and some years they prefer to leave earlier. The highest chance to see them is in the middle of the season but this is also the high season when most people want to go. If you are visiting at the beginning or the end of the season you will risk not seeing them but on the other hand, you will have them all for yourself if you do.
Where to Go Diving with Bull Sharks?
Koox Diving can take you directly to the dive spot in Playa del Carmen where a lovely boat is waiting for us. The dive site that has the largest number of bull sharks in the area is called Jardines Deep. After the adrenaline rush, a shallower, local reef dive is done to relax and gather your emotions.
Good Practices for Scuba Diving with Bull Sharks
Before going on a bull shark dive it is important to know and follow all the safety procedures. Firstly, you will be required to wear a dark full-length wetsuit and will not be allowed to wear any shiny, flashy objects with bright colors. The group always needs to stay together. The instructor will tell you the arrangement of the group and ask you to stay in a line. If you get separated from your group, return to them or join any other group nearby as soon as possible. Bull sharks are sensitive to noise and it disturbs them so it is very important to enter and exit quietly and respectfully. Underwater cameras are allowed but please do not use a selfie stick or any other long underwater camera stick as they might think you are trying to feed them. Also please do not use flash when recording or taking photos. Always stay calm and observe the sharks with minimal disturbance. And lastly, do not forget to closely follow your professional instructors’ briefing before the dive.
In Koox Diving, we follow a seminar on how to dive with bull sharks every single year to keep ourselves updated and properly trained for these dives. We have years of experience diving with these beautiful creatures without any problems occurring. Join us for this adventure and let us show you how to safely and responsibly dive with these magnificent sharks. What are you waiting for? Ko’ox!
Bull Sharks – 2 dives (November – March)
Prices in USD
Get this tour
Bull Shark Diving – Advanced Open Water from Tulum
1-4 people small group visits – every day, meeting points available: Tulum, Playa Del Carmen, Cancun
Prices are fixed, regardless of the number of people in the group.
All prices include equipment rental: – diving gear, 2 tanks, a wetsuit, fins, etc
Free Nitrox 32 is available upon request for tech certified divers – please let us know in advance Advanced Open water certification or equivalent is required.
Please mind that Bull Sharks Season is from November to March.
As we do not feed the sharks, it is common to see 4-5 sharks during the dive Please mind that we might change the date of the tour, to make sure you will get to see bull sharks or in case of bad weather
For private diving tours, please contact us, so we can provide an exclusive offer for you.
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