Water. Isn’t it great? Not only is it essential to survival, it’s bloody good fun too. Whether it’s ocean rafting, cage diving with sharks, riding a monster wave or jumping down a great big water-filled hole, there is plenty of water-based fun to be had on this wonderful blue planet of ours. With that in mind, here are some of the best water-based adventures around…

1. SWIM WITH THE FISHES

Is bungee jumping beginning to bore you? Skydiving leaving you high and dry? Then why not try swimming with sharks? It’s an adrenaline rushlike no other and an ever-popularholiday past time.The main cage diving spots include South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula and California’s Farallon Islands, but it is South Africa’s Shark Alley that is one of the best places in the world to get close to these stunning creatures in their natural environment. A two-hour drive from Cape Town to the small fishing village Gansbaai,Shark Alley is a deep channel between Dyer and Geyser islands where great whites come to munch on the islands’ 40,000 fur seal inhabitants. As well as cage diving, most companies offer tours to watch breaching (sharks jumping out of the water), predation (sharks hunting seals) and surface viewing, where you can see the magnificent beasts from the comfort of the boat if you’re too chicken to get into a cage and see Jaws. The peak season runs from April to October, when sharks are particularly active in their feeding behaviour and so are more likely to be spotted. Dolphin and whale swims, manatee hugging and all manner of other fishy tours are becoming extremely popular the world over too, and why not? Not only is it the thrill of a lifetime, but you’ll also come away with a new found respect for some of nature’s finest work.

white-shark-diving.com

2. SCUBA DIVING

There are many amazing dives all over the world. Barracuda Point in Malaysia, the USS Spiegel Grove shipwreck in Florida and several great dives in Thailand… but the one that stands out is, of course, the Great Barrier Reef. Our favourite dive is Cod Hole on the Ribbon Reefs because of the giant, well, cod. They’re so friendly that they come right up to your face. And they won’t eat you, which is a bonus. 

divethereef.com

3. WAITOMO’S BLACK HOLES

Wet adventures aren’t all about sun and sea. You could dive into Waitomo Caves in New Zealand, which are full of waterfalls and pools. The Legendary Black Water Rafting Company are the ones to go with: what began as a special treat for a brave few has developed into a spectacular tourism attraction that gives visitors the chance to abseil, weave, jump, climb, and float through a subterranean wonderland. 

waitomo.com/black-water-rafting

4. WINDSURFING/SURFING

Mauritius is one of windsurfing’s best-kept secrets. It has more than 300 days of wind per year and draws in enthusiasts the world over, especially during winter – the best time to go. South Africa is another crowd pleaser.If you crave waves not wind, you are spoilt for choice. For gnarly surf head to either Hawaii’s Honolua Bay, Maverick’s in California or Supertubes in South Africa.  

learn2surf.co.za

5. SEA RAFTING

If you prefer to stay above water and relatively dry, but you still want the feel of the fresh ocean air in your hair, then sea rafting is a good option. With Ocean Rafting you’ll speed around the stunning Whitsundays, stopping off for talks about the flora and fauna. It is the only tour operator to have direct access to the stunning and iconic Hill Inlet beach and special snorkel sites at Hook Island and Border Island.

oceanrafting.com.au

 

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MY EXPERIENCE

STUART SHIRRA ON SHARK CAGE DIVING

WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO TRY OUT THIS EXPERIENCE ? 
Ever since seeing Jaws as a  child I was fascinated by sharks, especially the Great White, and the idea of being in the water with them went straight to the top of my bucket list. It involved setting off early from Cape Town and heading to Gansbaai, having a bit of a briefing and breakfast at the base station, and then we boarded the boat and bounced our way out (take your sea sickness pills). It didn’t take long for the sharks to turn up  although it was technically the off-season, no one told them and we saw 10 sharks that day!

WHAT WAS THE BEST BIT?
The whole experience is so incredible, but the first time you see the shadowy outline below the surface takes your breath away.

WHAT WAS THE LASTING IMPRESSION?
The power of them. When they swim past you in the cage you can feel the pulses from the water hitting you.They”re the alphas in that environment…

3. WAITOMO’S BLACK HOLES

Wet adventures aren’t all about sun and sea. You could dive into Waitomo Caves in New Zealand, which are full of waterfalls and pools. The Legendary Black Water Rafting Company are the ones to go with: what began as a special treat for a brave few has developed into a spectacular tourism attraction that gives visitors the chance to abseil, weave, jump, climb, and float through a subterranean wonderland. 

waitomo.com/black-water-rafting

4. WINDSURFING/SURFING

Mauritius is one of windsurfing’s best-kept secrets. It has more than 300 days of wind per year and draws in enthusiasts the world over, especially during winter – the best time to go. South Africa is another crowd pleaser.If you crave waves not wind, you are spoilt for choice. For gnarly surf head to either Hawaii’s Honolua Bay, Maverick’s in California or Supertubes in South Africa.  

learn2surf.co.za