Xtreme Shark Dive at Kelly Tarlton's Sea Life Aquarium
Auckland, New Zealand
- Nice to meet you: You're a guest in the home of more than 20 sand tiger, school, wobbegong, and broadnose sevengill sharks; they eye you warily as they glide by.
- Welcome to the neighborhood: Other residents include colorful fish from New Zealand coastal waters and short-tail stingrays weighing up to 400 pounds.
- Tanks for the memories: Your Xtreme experience in the shark tank includes photographs taken by aquarium staff, a post-dive debriefing, and a certificate for all participants.
- All of Sea Life: Enjoy all the exhibits included in general admission – the Antarctic Ice Adventure, the Shark Tunnel, Stingray Bay, Jurassic Seas, the Seahorse Kingdom, the Fish Gallery, Shipwreck Discovery, the Southern Oceans Discovery Zone, the Shipwreck Shores kids play area, and Scott Base, a replica of the 50 x 25-foot hut from Robert Scott's 1910 South Pole expedition.
About This Auckland Tour
"Sharks aren't as dangerous as people think," says Matt, a Kelly Tarlton's staffer who feeds them from a bucket of fish while sitting on the sand at the bottom of the tank. "If they're really hungry we have to be careful, but we've never had anyone bitten in 25 years of doing this."
Caution is certainly appropriate. Hand-feeding requires training staff on the individual personalities of tank residents, and recognizing which ones are "really hungry." Matt points out that sand tiger sharks have a jaw reflex 25 times faster than any movement humans can make, and then points out, almost in passing, that they "hate humans."
Good to know, Matt! You mean hate like some people hate pineapple on pizza, or personal animosity with possibly painful consequences? He doesn't elaborate.
Considering that this was a feel-good promotional interview, and that Matt is a Kelly Tarlton's employee, it's safe to assume he wasn't trying scare people out of the "Xtreme" experience. And, indeed, the footage shows various shark species coasting just feet from wet-suited guests with apparent indifference.
Of course, sharks always look indifferent. Their eyes are cold, black voids that reveal nothing. As for the humans ... well, you can't see their eyes because they're wearing scuba masks. They occasionally flash a thumbs-up or "okay" sign for the camera, but they mostly kneel motionless in the sand, trying not to wear out their welcome. Imagining yourself in their fins, you know you'd be anything but indifferent.
I'm hungry, bro!
Despite its fearsome appearance, the sand tiger shark is among the more relaxed shark species, with no confirmed human fatalities. A cousin of the great white, it dines mostly on bony fish, crustaceans, squid, skates – and other sharks. In the womb of its mother, the most developed embryo will feed on its siblings, a reproductive strategy called adelphophagy: "eating one's brother."
Please make your way to 23 Tamaki Dr, Orakei, Auckland to begin your experience.
All divers must be able to speak English. We regret for health and safety reasons we are unable to allow non-English speakers to dive with our sharks.
No personal underwater cameras are permitted on the shark dive.
Certified divers must bring their dive certifications with them.
All participants must complete and sign both the Kelly Tarlton's SDX Terms and Conditions which includes a Statement of Understanding and Assumption of Risk Agreement and the Medical Declaration. If applicable, a doctor's medical clearance must be displayed to the adventure guide.
Participants must follow instructions given by the guide.
Participants must be able to quickly exit the pool area unassisted.
Participants must be competent swimmers/ able to swim unaided.
Participants must have controlled motor movement.
Participants are not to travel in an aircraft or international flight for 24 hours from the completion of the dive.
Maximum four (4) people per session.
Kelly Tarlton's SEA LIFE Aquarium reserves the right to cancel or cease a Shark Dive Xtreme encounter or to ask a participant to leave the encounter if the participant does not follow instructions given by the guide or is likely to endanger themselves or others.
This program is designed for swimmers from intermediate level and up. This tour is not wheelchair accessible due to the nature of the activity.
Tour Participation Requirements
This experience is rated strenuous. Travelers must consider their physical fitness level and medical history when determining whether this tour is appropriate. Travelers with pre-existing neck, back, knee and/or shoulder injuries, cardiac conditions, asthma, diabetes, epilepsy, other heart or respiratory conditions or any other medical condition must take particular caution when selecting a tour categorized as "strenuous". If you have concerns, you must consult with your personal physician before engaging in any activity that may be too strenuous for you.
Suitable for travelers 18 years of age and older.
Special Medical Restriction
If you are pregnant you will not be allowed to participate in this Animal Adventure.
Participants with asthma or any medical conditions listed on the Medical Declaration form must have a doctor's medical clearance to dive.
Non-refundable if canceled within 24 hours of requested services.
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