print dive site review | contribute site info / photo
Shark Cage Diving out of Padstow and Bude, Cornwall, England, UK, Europe
Dive Site: Cage diving with blue sharks and porbeagles
Location: 15miles out of Pastow and Bude, North Cornwall , UK
Description: Shark Cage Diving
Depth: 1 metre (3 feet)
Visibility: 10 metres (30 feet)
Cage diving…. in Cornwall?!
When I first heard about cage diving in Cornwall I thought it was going to be dubious. I pictured a day spent on rough seas feeling sick and definitely not seeing any sharks. But as ever, the draw of sharks was strong and I decided to book it anyway. It appeared everyone else thought I was mad too; I got comments along the line of “You won’t see a thing” and “You’ll be lucky if you see a dogfish!” Half believing my ever positive friends, I dumbed down the trip beforehand as just a nice weekend away in Cornwall with some mates. I hoped we might see a basking shark on the way out or maybe even a sunfish. As it happened, I – along with everyone else – was so, so wrong!
We started the day with a leisurely departure from Bude and a spot of mackerel fishing so we would have plenty of fresh supplies to create fishy wafts in the water to tempt the sharks. After pulling in a number, we set off out to sea to a destination I can’t reveal because of the risk of fisherman coming in to plunder the shark populations. Almost straight away we saw a pair of porpoises. The relief I felt was staggering – now at least I had some comeback for the doubters that thought I’d see nothing!
We set down the boats anchor about an hour later in our chosen spot, the chum was prepared and we waited. The sun was shining, the water looked beautiful and I wished I’d got my dive kit with me. After a bit of idle banter, a shout from the crew alerted us to the presence of a shark on the chum tube at the stern of the boat. We all grabbed cameras and dashed to the back of the boat and there, sure enough was a beautiful blue shark. He (or she) took a while to build up confidence and come close enough to investigate the source of the smell. Perhaps an hour later the first of us slipped quietly into the water to get a shark’s eye view of things.
Then came a tinge of disappointment. A pod of dolphins came into the area, barely audible or visible from air, but their calls were evident underwater. They freaked the shark, a much smaller animal than a fully grown common dolphin, and it swam off. We cursed the dolphins – who’d have thought it – but we were assured that wasn’t it for the day.
After a spot of lunch and drifting slightly in the current, we began to wait again. A different blue shark appeared this time, bigger than the previous and definitely a male. All of us got a great view of it from the boat as it crisscrossed under our hull. One by one we got in the water, spending only a few minutes at a time so we all got a turn in case the dolphins came back. As time went by a second blue shark and then a third appeared. They showed no sign of leaving and if anything they were getting bolder and bolder, coming in so close. We all got a substantial amount of time in the water with them and were so excited we were like children at Christmas. One of us was particularly fortunate to be in the water when a seal, presumably also attracted by the smell of mackerel, came to investigate and chased one of the blue sharks for a minute in typical playful seal manner before swimming off.
In the end we had to leave the sharks as it was getting late in the day, rather than them leave us. On our return journey we came across the same group of dolphins that had frightened our shark of earlier. There must have been forty to fifty individuals jumping and twisting through the water. Some of them played in our bow wave, including a mother and juvenile dolphin. All was forgiven for earlier as this was the most amazing aggregation of dolphins I had seen either in the UK or abroad.
All of us on board had a phenomenal experience that we can’t stop talking about months on. Blue sharks are stunning creatures, particularly beautiful because of their blue colour, their skin shimmering as it catches the light. I can confidently say this is in my top 5 life experiences full stop, let alone those in the water.
For more information on shark diving in Cornwall visit:
For information on shark conservation, donations and campaigns visit:
Do you have any comments on this dive site?
print dive site review | contribute site info / photo | top of page