Diving with Mako and Blue sharks - Azores
Minimum certification: PADI Advanced Open Water Diver (or equivalent)
Seasonality: From 20th July to 31st October
Water temperature: 22-24°C
Visibility: 20-30 metres
Success rate: 100% (Blue shark), 30% (Mako)
The Blue and the Mako shark are found offshore. Reaching the dive spots takes about 1 hour to navigate and the dives occur in deep water, far from coastal recreational activities.
To undertake these 'blue water dives' requires excellent buoyancy control as there are no points of reference from the sea floor or a wall. Divers must therefore pay attention to their depth, orientation and dive profile.
All participants are required to first undertake a check dive prior to going out on this dive. Prior to each trip all divers are briefed on how to conduct themselves in the water, as well as how to recognise potentially dangerous behaviour from the sharks.
Diving with sharks is a fantastic experience, but extreme care is essential. In order to avoid any negative impact on the sharks, divers are required to follow the dive centre staff instructions closely.
• Touching and feeding the sharks are strictly forbidden.
• Chumming techniques that keep the amount of food, blood and oil in the water at a minimum are used.
• Should the behaviour of the sharks or divers warrant it, each dive may be terminated at the divemaster's discretion.
The Shark Expeditions last up to 5-6 hours and the duration depends on the time needed to attract the sharks, as well as the shark's behaviour while around the boat.
BLUE SHARK (Prionace glauca)
Average length: 2.2 metres
Maximum length: 3.8 metres
The Blue shark belong to the Carcharhinidae family. Its slender body, sensitive snout and long pectoral fins are perfect adaptations for cruising the open ocean. It inhabits deep pelagic waters and feeds mainly on cephalopods. The Blue Shark is highly threatened by long-line fishing, both as a target and as bycatch. In the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources) Red List is classified as Near Threatened.
Although widespread in all temperate and tropical oceans few divers ever see them because of their preference for deep water.
Blue sharks are potentially dangerous but worldwide very few attacks have occurred and no fatalities. During our encounters the sharks are very curious and approach closely, they do not act with aggression.
MAKO (Isurus oxyrinchus)
Average length: 3.2 metres
Maximum length: 3.8 metres
Stocky and muscular, the Mako belongs to the Lamnidae family which also includes the Great White Shark.
The physiology of the Mako enables it to maintain a body temperature up to 8°C higher than the environmental temperature. This allows it to be very fast and active, indeed the Mako is the fastest of all sharks. It is mainly found in pelagic waters at depths from about 150 metres.
The Mako is a frequent target and bycatch of long-line fisheries and also a target in big game fishing. It is classified as Vulnerable in the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources) Red List.
While aggressive behaviours have not been displayed during our encounters, the Mako is potentially very dangerous and diving in its presence requires extreme caution and heightened awareness.
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