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Is it possible to dive with sharks in Lanzarote?

Updated: Mar 3, 2023


While I was researching for this post, I read a lot about sharks in Lanzarote and in the Canary Islands.


The vast majority of the posts talk about its danger and the risk of attacks.

I guess that's what comes to everybody's mind when they hear (or read) the word "shark".

But we're divers and our interest in sharks goes further than that.

The feeling of being next to such a magnificent animal is indescribable, and you know it is... even if you have not dived with one yet.

I'm sure that, like most divers, you love sharks and can't wait to have encounters with them.

Am I wrong?

That's why I'm going to tell you which species live in the waters of Lanzarote and the Canary Islands, and which ones it is possible to encounter.


I hope you find it interesting.



 
 

Are there any sharks in Lanzarote?


Of course, there are.


Lanzarote and all the Canary Islands are surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean and that is why in its waters you can find many marine species and among them several species of sharks.


The Atlantic Ocean is in fact the habitat of many undiscovered marine species.

So it is quite possible that there are many other species apart from the ones I am going to name in this post


I'm not going to get into whether they are dangerous or not.


I am talking to you and if you have come here it is because you are a diver, or you are interested in being a diver.

And I have a feeling that, as a diver, there is a good chance that you want to dive with sharks.

Because that is what the vast majority of divers want.

Because those of us who really love diving, the ocean, and marine life don't stop to think about it:


We divers don't ask: Are there sharks? Are they dangerous?


No. No way.

We divers say… There are sharks!!!

Hurry up and get your gear on!!!

Let's go into the water!!!!


I am going to tell you about the species of sharks that live in Lanzarote and the Canary Islands.

But I am afraid that you will not be able to encounter all of them.

I am sorry.

In fact, it is very difficult to encounter most of them.

Yes, I know what you are thinking… but don't worry.


The Canary Islands is home to a shark species that you can encounter on a regular basis. If you come at the right time and if you come here, to Lanzarote.


What are the species of sharks that live in Canary Islands waters?

1. Basking Shark.


It is a shark that grows to a large size but is totally harmless as it feeds on plankton.

It is the second-largest fish in the world, after the whale shark.

It can grow up to 10 meters long and weigh up to four tons.


Definitely a very interesting little fish.


Our friend passes through the Canary Islands in the winter months and encounters with it are very rare, although some have been seen.



2. Whale Shark.


In case you don't know, let me tell you.

It is the biggest fish on the planet.


An animal that every diver wants to encounter at some point.

It can reach between 12 and 16 meters and weigh more than 15 tons.

The little critter.


Like the basking shark, it also feeds on plankton and is completely harmless as long as you are not a microscopic shrimp.

It is an animal of great beauty, which is undoubtedly accentuated by its large size.


Encounters with them in Canarian waters are more likely to occur in the warmer waters of La Palma and El Hierro.





3. Common Smooth-Hound.


A common shark in the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea.


It is easy to see in Madeira and Canary Islands and lives between 5 and 600 meters, although it almost always stays between 5 and 50 meters.


It can reach up to two meters long.


In spite of being a shark, it only occasionally hunts fish.

It feeds mainly on crabs, lobsters, shrimps, and hermit crabs. It scours the sandy bottom for all these crustaceans.




4. Short Fin Mako Shark.


Known in the Canary Islands as "Marrajo común".


We are already talking about a potentially aggressive shark.

In fact, it belongs to the family Lamnidae and is therefore a close cousin of the Great White.


It can grow to a length of 4 to 5 meters and weigh up to 750 kg.

Its diet ranges from small fish such as horse mackerel and jacks to dolphins and turtles, as well as large fish such as tuna and marlin.


A curiosity about this shark is its incredible speed. It can reach 124 km per hour, making it the fastest ocean fish.


It has perfect hydrodynamics and a powerful muscle mass, allowing it to make sudden starts and jump very high out of the water.

And yes... I know what you're thinking. Like its cousin, the Great White Shark.


Still, encounters with Makos while diving are not common, as it is a shark that does not usually come close to the shore.

However, there have been encounters of makos with spearfishers due to the fishing they carry with them and also because they don't blow bubbles when they dive.







5. Hammerhead Shark.


In the Canary Islands, they are called "Cornudas" and inhabit two of the nine species that exist on the planet.


They are also in serious danger of extinction due to accidental fishing and because they are highly valued for their fins.


They can measure between 3 and 5 meters and weigh up to 350 kg.


As its name suggests, its head is hammerhead-shaped and its eyes are located at the ends of the head, a characteristic that, according to scientists, gives it 360º vision.


It is a viviparous fish and feeds on rays and other sharks.

It can also hunt other fish, crustaceans, and cephalopods.

It is also difficult to see them diving. They are quite shy.



6. Angel shark.


In the Canary Islands, we call it "Angelote".

It is a shark that at first sight looks like a stingray.

A beautiful fish that is in danger of extinction (as is the case with most shark species).

But in this case, it is the most endangered shark species in the world, according to the Species Survival Commission of the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) and the ZSL (Zoological Society of London).


But it is here in the Canary Islands where it has its refuge and where it can be found on almost any dive.


Diving with this shark in Lanzarote is almost a daily routine when we go into the water.

In the autumn and winter months (from November to February) they come up to shallow water to mate.


It is very common to see them on any dive in Playa Blanca and Puerto del Carmen.


Another place where they can be found and even seen snorkeling is at Jablillo Beach in Costa Teguise.

A place where they have also been seen mating.


Another dive site where it is very easy to see them is Charco del Palo. In the north of the island.

There on the white sandy bottom, at a depth of only 20 meters, I saw 15 on my last dive.


In the spring and summer months, you can see young ones as big as a hand burying themselves in the sand.


It is definitely the King of the Canary Islands species and a real treat for both experienced and beginner divers.


And Lanzarote is one of the most ideal places to meet and observe.


Another place where they can be found and even seen snorkelling is at Jablillo Beach in Costa Teguise.

A place where they have also been seen mating.


Another dive site where it is very easy to see them is Charco del Palo. In the north of the island.

There on the white sandy bottom, at a depth of only 20 meters, I saw 15 on my last dive.


In the spring and summer months, you can see young ones as big as a hand burying themselves in the sand.


It is definitely the King of the Canary Islands species and a real treat for both experienced and beginner divers.


And Lanzarote is one of the most ideal places to meet and observe them.




7. Great White Shark.


You didn't think so. But yes.


The Canary Islands is on the Great White Shark route.

This shark moves around the world from Australia to Mexico and South Africa and also passes through the Canary Islands.


However... The Canary Islands is not the place if you want to dive with Great White Sharks, as they do not come close to the shore and tend to stay in deep water.


Great whites come to the surface to hunt, and their favourite prey are seals and penguins. Species that are not very frequent in our Islands.

I wish it were possible... but it is not.


I assure you I would be in the water every day.



Let us know what you think and if you would like to dive with sharks in Lanzarote.






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