How to Dive with Oceanic Whitetips — and Come Back in One Piece

Many would consider diving with Oceanic Whitetips a suicide mission.

In fact, these sharks are known to cause more human deaths than Great Whites or Hammerheads combined. In 1945, after the torpedoing of the USS Indianapolis, Whitetips were believed to be responsible for the deaths of up to 800 sailors.  In WWII, 1,000 passengers from a sunken Nova Scotia ship were believed to have been killed by these underwater predators.

So who would be insane enough to dive with these deadly creatures of the sea? A diver named Elly Wray. She recently shared with Scuba Diving her pro tips to diving with Oceanic Whitetips, and come home in one piece.

First, be sure to remain shallow. “Oceanics are most territorial — i.e., more likely to come 
in close — from zero to 10 feet. This is also the sweet spot for surface reflections, or dappled light on their backs,” Wray writes.

You must also remember to keep your body language in check. Sure, be alert and keep your eye on the Whitetip from time to time but break your gaze away too. Wray says that “showing too much confidence might prevent a close encounter. Break eye contact from time to time. Letting your guard down (just for show) should bring them in”.

Next is to never go after these sharks. Pursuit will only ignite their fear, which can result to something gruesome. Wray says: “The electrical field emitted by your strobes should attract their curiosity.”

Bringing back documentation? Be mindful of your camera-to-shark distance. Ray advices us to “Be prepared to reposition and change the output of your strobes from close to camera at low power for a dome-bumping pass to wide set at high power when they’re farther away.”

image source: