Fuvahmulah Shark Diving
Co-Existing with Tiger Sharks
My late great-grandfather used to tell me many stories about the various huge sharks they saw around the island. One of the stories I remember very clearly is how they would catch whale sharks by jumping into the water. They would then cut the gills to put the rope through the mouth and tow the sharks back to shore. The entire village would then come to help pull the shark onto the beach. They hunted whale sharks this way, over 120 years ago, to obtain oil from the shark liver. When applied to the boats, the oil protects the wood and make them last longer.
When speaking with fishermen and the elders, it’s clear that tiger sharks have been around Fuvahmulah, perhaps from the beginning. I’ve encountered tiger sharks since I was a kid when we would go catch lobsters at night or octopus by day.
Shark Diving in Fuvahmulah At Tiger Harbour
In 2003, our harbour was built and opened, as was the fish market. Initially, the fishermen would throw fish waste from the daily catch inside the waters of the harbour. Soon after, the tiger sharks started coming inside the harbour where the boats are parked. My first encounter of them in the harbour was around 2015, while I was fishing.
In 2017, the local council forbade fishermen from throwing fish waste inside the harbour. New regulation required them to discard fish waste outside of the harbour. It was then a local dive centre took the initiative to start throwing fish waste at the harbour entrance instead. As a result, many tiger sharks started to gather in one place and tiger shark diving in Fuvahmulah began. Initially named Tiger Zoo, this popular Fuvahmulah dive site is now called Tiger Harbour.
The harbour entrance is about 10 meters deep with a drop off that goes down to 65 meters. When visibility is good, it’s beautiful to see these amazing tiger sharks coming up from the depths to 10 meters. Sometimes over 15 tiger sharks gather at a time and you can lay at the sandy area to watch them. Tiger shark sightings are all year round in Fuvahmulah.
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Frequently Asked Questions
- Is tiger shark diving in Fuvahmulah safe?
Yes, tiger shark diving in Fuvahmulah is generally safe. As with any other scuba diving activity, there are risks especially since we are entering into the sharks’ environment and territory. Therefore, it is important to remember that we should always remain respectful of these apex predators and to follow instructions from our dive team. We also recommend that divers go shark diving with professionally shark safety dive team.
- How many tiger sharks are there in Fuvahmulah?
To date, dive centers have identified 248 individuals from one dive site, Tiger Harbour. There are many more other tiger sharks that are around the other Fuvamulah dive sites and in the blue. On a typical dive at Tiger Harbour, there are usually 6 to 8 tiger sharks and can be up to 15 or 18 tiger sharks.
- Do I need to be a certified diver to go tiger shark diving in Fuvahmulah?
Yes, divers need to have the minimum Open Water Diver certification before we take them to go tiger shark diving in Fuvahmulah. If divers are not certified, they have the option to do the dive course with us.