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JAPANESE SHARK DIVING SAFARI 2018

 

Diving with sharks in Japan.

 

Our 2018 Japanese Shark Safari in a Nutshell:

Considering that Super-Typhoon Trami swept through Honshu the day before our Japanese Shark Safari was scheduled to start, I think the trip went rather well :)

We dove on all five days of the trip and enjoyed shark dives on four out of five days. Only once were the shark dives cancelled and even then we rebooked at a sheltered site where our guests were able to get in a couple of macro dives.

As often seems to happen, we got lucky!

 

Diving with banded houndsharks in Japan.

 

Houndshark

 

Japanese horn shark diving.

 

First Stop Chiba

After a quick meet and greet in Tokyo, we drove down to Chiba and settled into our hotel. It was a windy drive but the seas were predicted to flatten out over night so I wasnèt too concerned about the next days shark diving.

Sure enough we awoke to flat conditions and drove to the dive shop.

Visibility was not great but the sharks were waiting and we got our first taste of Japanese endemic sharks.

 

Diving with sharks in Japan.

 

The best visibility I have seen in Japan!

Our second day of diving went from good to great! By the end of the day the visibility was phenomenal and we made the most of the excellent conditions and abundant sharks.

 

Diving with a big school of sharks in Japan.

 

Banded Houndsharks

The shark feed is attended by hundreds of Banded Houndsharks. Although this species is also present along the coast of Korea and China, this is the only place where divers stand a chance of encountering one.
This is largely due to the patience of the dive shop owner who spent five years encouraging these timid sharks to come closer and closer until they were completely habituated to the presence of divers.

 

Diving with houndsharks in Japan.

 

Red Stingrays

The other elasmobranch species that we always see in abundance are red stingrays. Hundreds of these large rays congregate in the area to gobble up any scraps that the houndsharks fail to notice.

 

Diving with red stingrays in Japan.

 

Japanese Horn Shark

Also known as Japanese bullhead sharks, these reef dwellers live close to the area where the shark feeds take place so we were able to go visit them and snap a few images.

 

Japanese bullhead shark

 

Second Stop Izu.

After three days in Chiba we relocated to the town of Shimoda at the southern tip of the Izu Peninsula. It was a beautiful drive over the mountains but upon arrival in Shimoda we were disappointed to learn that the next dayès diving had been cancelled due to dangerous swells around Mikomoto Island; our intended spot for shark diving.

Undaunted, we drove over to the protected west coast of the peninsula and enjoyed two macro dives outside Tago Bay.

I was not really prepared for macro photography so my images leave a bit to be desired but here is pretty little anemone shrimp to give you an idea of what we saw.

 

anemone shrimp

 

On our other dive in Tago we dove to 30m to hunt for deepwater anthias; beautiful little reef fishes that usully live beyond recreational diving limits but come shallower in this one particular spot.

 

Japanese deepwater anthia.

 

Snow Monkeys or Sea Monkeys

On the way back to Shimoda, we stopped at a beach where Japanese Macaques congregate to eat algae and crustaceans.

More commonly seen in the mountains where they are referred to as Snow Monkeys, these mischievous primates were a nice addition to the trip so we will definitely visit them again in future years.

 

Snow monkeys at the beach in Japan.

 

Shark Diving Mikomoto Island

The local dive shop for Mikomoto Island told us that they expected the swells to die off over night so we prepped for a final day of shark diving.

Unfortunately, it was still bumpy close to shore so we couldnt search for Japanese wobbegong sharks but we were about to dive with schooling scalloped hammerheads.

We saw a school of around thirty hammerheads and a few grey reef sharks but try as I might, I could not get close enough to the hammers for good images. Proof of life will have to do!

 

Scalloped hammerhead, Japan.

 

Back to Tokyo

That night we celebrated a successful trip and packed for an early morning drive back to Tokyo. Upon arrival we wished fairwell to some of the guests but most stayed on for our Giant Salamander Expedition; a mini snorkelling trip in the Gifu mountains that went extremely well but more about that in the next trip report.
All in all it was a really fun trip that we are looking forward to repeating next year. Join us in 2019 for our next:
Japanese Shark Diving Safari

 

Diving with sharks in Japan.

 

 

A PORTION OF THE PROCEEDS FROM BIG FISH EXPEDITIONS FUNDS

THE PREDATORS IN PERIL PROJECT

predatorsinperil.org

 

 

 

 

American crocodile diving

Snorkel with Japanese Giant Salamanders

 

READ THE LATEST:

2018 Japanese Giant Salamander
Trip Report

 

Andy Murch Trip Leader

Andy Murch

EXPEDITION LEADER

Andy Murch is a fanatical big animal diver.

He has photographed and dived with more sharks than most people on this planet and he's very good at it.

Andy's images and shark stories have appeared in hundreds of books and magazines around the world from titles as varied as Canadian Geographic, Scuba Diving, FHM, Digital Photography,  and the Journal of Zoology.

Andy is the Creator of the ever expanding Shark and Ray Field Guide on Elasmodiver

 

When not running big animal expeditions or on photographic assignments, Andy lives and dives on Vancouver Island, Canada

 

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Predators in Peril

Andy is also the driving force behind the PREDATORS IN PERIL PROJECT which shines a spotlight on many endangered species of sharks and rays that are largely overlooked by mainstream conservation groups. Predators In Peril is entirely funded by Big Fish Expeditions.

 

Find out more here:

 

pip.org

 

Predators in Peril Project