A Guide to the Best of Southern California : EXCURSIONS : Chumming Around
Being corralled 15 feet under water in a cage festooned with bleeding tuna heads isn’t everyone’s idea of fun. But Catalina Scuba Shark Diving Adventures is doing quite nicely in this recreational niche. For four years the company has been bringing sharks and certified divers, who pay about $250 for the pleasure, up close and personal.
Guides take the would-be Cousteaus out to sea on a diving boat, chum (attract sharks with blenderized mackerel) for 30 minutes, then load patrons into a 5-by-8-foot--presumably shark-proof--cage.
Anywhere from a handful to three dozen sharks--blues, makos and threshers but so far never a great white--respond to the chumming. (Plus those tasty fish heads tied to the cage.)
Although divers are typically most impressed with the sharks’ docility and polite dining habits, owner Steve Whitaker, who has never lost a client, says they also gain an appreciation of the fish’s ability to “really whack stuff.”
Catalina Scuba Shark Diving Adventures, by appointment only; (800) MR SHARK.