SCUBA DIVING WITH COW SHARKS IN CAPE TOWN - INTRODUCTION
Why sit in a cage and see sharks through metal bars if you can swim next to them near Cape Town?
Don’t worry; the sharks in question are usually not aggressive. Cow sharks, (sometimes referred to as the Seven Gill Cow Shark, or the Spotted Cow Shark) are one of the most primitive shark species in the world. They are also one of only two species that have 7 gills and their sizes range from about 1.4 to 3.5 meters. It is interesting to note that they do not possess the dorsal fin that is most commonly associated with sharks.
They are generally very inquisitive fish and have been known to rub up against scuba divers as they glide by. They are usually not aggressive towards divers, and are normally quite sluggish – but, as with all creatures in the ocean, they should not be teased or provoked.
This scuba experience takes place in the kelp forests near Simonstown in the Cape, where we go in search of our colony of cow sharks. They are social feeders and group together which makes for an excellent experience. As much as 18 individuals have been seen together at a time.
When we go scuba diving with Cow Sharks the channel that we dive in is about 12 meters deep. This makes for a truly unique experience, as Cape Town is one of the few spots in the world where you can scuba dive with them in such shallow water.
As they swim up and down the channel you will have ample opportunity for photos and by the end of the scuba dive you should be able to identify individuals by their colour, bite marks and other features.
There are also some other things to see on this dive near Cape Town. The dive happens in a kelp forest with abundant life – it is quite common to see the endangered Red Roman here, octopus, jelly fish, Pajama Sharks etc – the list if virtually endless! We occasionally also spot the short tail Sting.
Cow Shark Scuba dive facts
- Depth – 6 to 14 m
- Boat/Shore – Can be done as both
- Minimum Qualification – Open Water
- Possible night dives? – No
- Additional equipment? - Torch, compass, camera
- Best time to go? – May – October