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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 humans. On the contrary, once you are out there, surrounded by these beautiful creatures, you will see how majestic they really are.
Are Bull Sharks Dangerous to Divers?
Bull sharks are not dangerous to humans. Yet, 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, thus 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 for migration. Accidents like this do not happen when scuba diving with bull sharks in the ocean. 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, o f 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, being knowledgeable about these creatures and their behavior. This is why shark diving in Mexico is allowed in the first place, it is controlled and done by trained professionals only. They are just big fish and do not pay any attention to us unless we intend to feed them. Plus, shark diving in Mexico is done in the oceans, in the environment where they are relaxed.
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 longer and bring them closer. A baited dive allows to get closer interaction with the sharks, it is also good for studying them and of course, getting some good photos. Close interactions with sharks also is a great educational point and can help sharks improve their reputation as they are vital in our ecosystem.
On the other hand, baited dives is not a natural environment. 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 but 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 baited way, 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 and thus not recommended for beginners. These dives often have a strong current. Also, do not forget you are still surrounded by big predators and thus confidence and good dive skills will make the dive go smooth.
When is the Best Time to Dive with Bull Sharks in Playa del Carmen?
The bull sharks are arriving at Playa del Carmen between November to March. Each season is different as the sharks are not following a strict time table. 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 less trouble with booking your adventure.
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 to see the bull sharks is called Jardines Deep that has the largest number of bull sharks in the area. 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 and away from feeders in case of a baited dive. 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. 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 we can show you how to safely and responsibly dive with these magnificent sharks.
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