An Overview Of Sharks and Scuba Diving In Cozumel
By Dennis Anderson
At Villa Deja Blue, we help travelers enjoy Cozumel scuba diving in a relaxing atmosphere leveraging information from our experience living on Cozumel Island.
Cozumel is an island paradise for divers with incredible reef and wall diving, fantastic snorkeling spots and an idyllic island lifestyle – not too far from Playa del Carmen’s lively nightlife scene either!
Every summer, whale shark migration patterns bring thousands of these gentle giants to local waters, where they can be observed during snorkel trips between May and September.
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The whale shark is the largest fish in the sea and largest shark ever documented, yet remains relatively docile among shark species – frequently observed scuba diving off Cozumel year-round. An essential component of ocean ecosystem, whale sharks play an integral part by eating up massive quantities of plankton that otherwise would cause disbalance in marine ecosystems.
While many scuba divers fear being attacked by sharks, whale sharks do not consider humans appetizing prey; consequently attacks from sharks on scuba divers are rare.
When is the best time of year to see whale sharks? From May through September is often when whale sharks can be spotted nearby; however, this does not guarantee seeing one, since these migratory fish may show up elsewhere at different points throughout the year.
Swimming with whale sharks is a favorite excursion among visitors to Cozumel on vacation, and SEMARNAT/SECTUR-approved whale shark tour operators should be chosen so as to guarantee an enjoyable and safe experience.
Whale shark tours can be found with many dive operators in Cozumel. As there are limited spaces, booking early is advised as there may be limited spots available. Whale shark sightings tend to peak between July and August but they can still be spotted elsewhere throughout summer.
Expect to spend approximately four hours in the water during this excursion, including snorkeling and watching whale sharks from your boat as they swim around. Keep in mind that touching or holding these aquatic giants could harm them and must not occur.
As there are laws in place to protect whale sharks in this region, local communities take this aspect of whale shark encounters very seriously; thus ensuring many visitors enjoy them when visiting La Paz and nearby. Whale shark sightings can frequently occur just beyond La Paz’s statue-lined seawall.
The Hammerhead shark (Sphyrna mokarran) is an iconic species with its signature mallet-shaped head and distinctive appearance, giving them their distinct name. While they may look intimidating, these fish are actually top predators and only rarely attack humans. Their wide heads give them access to highly sensitive sensory organs which aid them in finding prey quickly – including “ampullae of Lorenzini”, organs which detect electrical fields produced by prey like stingrays as their favorite meals!
Hammerhead sharks are predatory fish species, preying upon both their own kind as well as bony species such as groupers, sea catfish, tarpon and sardines. But they especially enjoy hunting stingrays by pincer-ing them down and biting into pieces – an exceptional hammerhead has even been found with fifty broken spines of various fishes stuck into its skin or jaws from past attacks! Thus remaining immune to any potential venomous attacks.
Hammerhead sharks can reach lengths of nearly 20 feet (6 meters). These powerful fish are commonly found in warm temperate and tropical waters along coastlines or shelves worldwide; most commonly found in the eastern Pacific from Southern California to Ecuador and Peru.
Hammerhead sharks inhabit the deep waters of continental shelves, reaching depths over 1,000 feet (350 meters). Although predominantly bottom dwellers, hammerheads are capable of vertical movement as well. Furthermore, these sharks migrate between different areas in search of food sources.
Cozumel is an ideal destination for scuba diving with hammerhead sharks due to the variety of dive sites where they congregate. Scuba divers can also spot them at Socorro Island in the Revillagigedo Archipelago where they typically gather between March and May; here they feast upon an abundant supply of manta rays and other types of rays that provide sustenance – making these amazing predators easily visible at depths between 125 feet (30 meters).
Bull sharks can reach 11-feet in length and are one of the largest members of Family Carcharhinidae. Their coloring varies between gray on top with white underbelly and broad snout; males are distinguished from females by having shorter first dorsal fin and larger eyes; these sharks feed on various bony fish species as well as marine mammals, birds, and terrestrial mammals for sustenance.
Sharks may seem harmless at first glance, but they are dangerous when entering their habitat or swimming too close to them. Therefore, only experienced divers should venture into controlled dives with bull sharks in mind. Bull sharks can be found throughout western Atlantic Ocean waters as well as nearshore waters of United States and Mexico.
Sharks tend to be found alone, though small groups up to three individuals may occasionally be observed. Although they typically avoid interaction with humans divers, they may chase smaller fish for food. Opportunistic feeders such as sharks may consume turtles, birds, sea mammals and even other sharks as food sources.
Bull sharks are found throughout the Gulf of Mexico and coastal rivers of Florida and Georgia, capable of living both saltwater and freshwater environments, and have even ventured hundreds of miles inland via coastal river systems. Bull sharks are viviparous; females store fertilized eggs until it’s time to give birth – usually giving birth tail first with 1-13 young born each time! Females typically reproduce every two years for 23-28 years of lifespan.
But diving with sharks needn’t be terrifying or hazardous; in fact it can be very safe as long as you follow an experienced guide’s guidance. Koox Diving’s bull shark dive experience features professional shark wranglers in the water with your group who will divert any overly curious sharks, take pictures and ensure your experience is safe and enjoyable! Once the adrenaline-pumping deep dive with sharks has concluded, relax by doing a shallower reef dive to take it easy on emotions before doing another adrenaline pumping deep dive with sharks before doing a shallower reef dive to relax and regroup emotions afterwards!
Nurse sharks are among the most abundant shark species found in Cozumel waters, typically taking up residence as slow-moving bottom-dwellers up to 14 feet long. While harmless to humans, nurse sharks are well known for being curious and opportunistic, eating shellfish, fish, shrimp and squid. Female nurse sharks give birth in April-June each year with 21-28 young.
Sharks are nonmigratory species, hunting in the same waters throughout the year. They favor lagoons and coral reefs where there are deep overhangs for them to hide under. Their brownish-gray color helps it blend in with sandy sea floors. A typical shark features long cylindrical body with short eyes and two fleshy extensions at its snout called barbels; its mouth contains many small teeth.
The shark’s snout is home to numerous sensory organs, including gill openings and an anus, that help it detect potential prey items and find its next meal. After hunting, these sensory organs allow it to replenish itself by pumping water over its gills – this process is known as “refueling.”
Nurse Sharks spend much of their day resting in crevices and ledges on the sea floor, looking up toward the sky while reflecting upon life. Nurse Sharks are social animals that may rest together in groups of up to 40 individuals.
At night, they become quite different animals; often found roaming the seafloor in search of food. Sifting through seagrass meadows for crustaceans and mollusks with their long, recurved snouts creates an audible “slurping” sound when looking for food at depth.
Nurse Sharks are usually very non-aggressive toward humans, with only 44 recorded attacks ever being recorded throughout history. When provoked, such as being kicked or prodded by divers, Nurse Sharks may strike out. Los Arcos dive site north of Playa del Carmen features several stunning swim-through reefs home to Spotted Drums, Large Groupers, Green Moray Eels – as well as Nurse Sharks!!
Be sure to book your trip with Villa Deja Blue and enjoy your stay on the beautiful island of Cozumel.