Q: Do you run the same length of tours all year round?+-A:
No, we tailor our tours to give the absolute best chance of great white success.
With our 50 years + experience, we have found the greatest success by running a variety of itineraries that take daylight hours, typical weather and likely shark activity into consideration. With daylight saving (October to March) in Spring and Summer, we offer our 2 Night Adventures and 3 Night Expeditions. Typically the weather is more favourable at this time of year and the beautiful long summer nights are just a joy!
The shark activity is very strong at this time with mainly male great white sharks that are part of the the new springtime shark influx from late September.
If you want to see the BIGGEST sharks, then Autumn and Winter is the time for you. Early April to August is the time of the super giant female great whites. At a genuine and impressive 5m+ these impressive leviathans of the deep are a 'must see' for many. Our tours at this time take into consideration, the shorter days and typical weather, so to give best chance of success we run our 4 Night Expeditions. This additional night onboard gives us flexibility as to when we depart, allowing us to dodge the worst weather and get down to the sheltered anchorage of the Neptune Islands.
Q: When is the best time of year to see sharks?+-A:
This is an often asked question that does not have the same answer for everyone! Please read through the information below and put together by Andrew Fox with his extensive and unparalleled experience of over 40 years diving with white sharks. In short, Andrew Fox’s current favourite shark viewing month for a whole combination of factors including shark reliability, shark size, weather, water temp., water visibility and photographic productivity, is during the month of April. He also personally enjoys various elements of most other months
Read on for info. on the whole year. With our 52 years of cage-diving history, Rodney Fox Shark Expeditions has experienced many changes in the seasonal patterns of shark activity at the various locations we have operated. We now work exclusively within the Neptune Islands Marine Park including both North and South Island Groups.
The Neptune Islands are a unique location in the world in actually being able to reliably produce great white shark diving throughout much of the year. With our multi-day itineraries and ocean floor cage facilities Rodney Fox Expeditions enjoys the industries highest success rates in successful year round productivity with great white sharks.
Great white shark abundance is still difficult to predict, and while many months do enjoy near 100% reliability of sightings for many years on end, sharks just cannot always be completely guaranteed.
Below we look at details including monthly trends in shark numbers, sex and size of the sharks, their reliability, and the prevailing environmental conditions throughout the year. This information will help you choose the best time for your needs. Please note that in regards to both the monthly shark activity and elements of the weather, that we do experience exceptions to these general rules.
During the last 30 years of our history, we usually find the mid year months of April to mid-July to produce the most shark numbers, and most reliable shark activity at the Neptune Islands. However in more recent years, the months of September to January have also frequently delivered record high numbers of sharks, and super high reliability.
The calmest, and brightest sunny weather at the Neptune Islands is experienced between the months of October and April. It is predominately male sharks that we see at this time. The warmest water temperatures for the Neptune Islands lag behind this a little and found between January and May.
Offshore currents maintain temperatures from 15-20C throughout the year.
The very largest sharks seen are usually mature female sharks which can measure over 5m long. These super giants are most likely to be seen between April and August. Females in general can be seen as late as September.
Large adult male great whites ranging from 4-5m arrive year-round at the Neptune’s and these old boys are often more consistent and "photogenic" than the typically more cautious giant females.
March has proven to be the most unreliable month for shark sightings over the last 20 years. Ironically March is also the best and most productive month for weather. However in the last couple years March has delivered satisfying sharks.
A regular seasonal influx of large sharks usually starts in April. The clearest waters are often found from August to October.
Apart from the shark viewing activities, and depending on each group wishes, nearly all summer itineraries, and most tours taken between September and May have more favourable conditions for both swimming with Australian sea lions at Hopkins Island, and/or allowing shore party landings at the Neptune Islands themselves during the tour. There is also a higher chance of seeing Mako Sharks and Bronze Whaler sharks at this time.
Most dates outside our summer months have a minimum length of 3 days duration so to allow for the shorter daylight hours experienced, and to help overcome the potential for the chance of poorer weather at this time.
Trips of 3 days or longer give us the wonderful flexibility of avoiding any possible bad weather and significantly avoiding the need for frustrating cancellations that might otherwise compromise shorter length tours in our winter months.
The fairer weather and longer daylight hours in summer allow us to confidently and successfully run shorter itineraries and still achieve the high level of satisfaction we are renowned for.
As a current update Late July 2017 is performing well this year with up to 4 sharks a day being enjoyed which heralds an even better August. There are still remaining spots to join in August. Please see our booking page for available dates.
Q: How do I get to Port Lincoln?+-A:
Port Lincoln is situated on the beautiful Eyre Peninsula in South Australia.
Adelaide International Airport is Australia's fastest growing airport. It is serviced directly from many international destinations and all major Australian cities.
For those with a little more time, Premier Stateliner offer a return bus service from Adelaide to Port Lincoln.
For those driving, it is an approx. 7 hour drive from Adelaide to Port Lincoln with some stunning views on the way.
Q: How do you attract great white sharks to the boat?+-A:
To attract sharks we use a natural tuna fish mix. Although the Neptune Islands are a natural feeding ground for great white sharks, we have found that a form of shark attractant is still required. Over our 50 year history, we have tried many things and the natural tuna scent is what gives us the best results. All interaction with the sharks is carried out by our trained crew and a strict code of conduct is adhered to.
Q: Why are great white sharks at the Neptune Islands?+-A:
The Neptune Islands Marine Reserve houses Australia's largest fur seal colony. Several thousand New Zealand fur seals along with a small number of Australian sea lions and many other bird and reptile species call the islands home. And it is the seals that brings the great white sharks to the islands. The sharks do not live at the islands, their presence can be for a few hours to a few weeks at a time. Their appearance is also seasonal and with our research and shark identification we know that the same sharks return to the islands at the same time of year from their vast migrations around Australia. In summer, the seal pups are born and the bull seals arrive to breed. This is the only time of year we see the bull seals, as after breeding they leave the islands for their solo lives. Left behind are the pregnant mums with their newly born seal pups. It is throughout the winter months the seal pups learn to swim in the sheltered shallows around the islands. We often only see specific sharks in summer or winter, very seldom both.
Q: What chance do I have of successfully seeing a great white shark?+-A:The Neptune Islands are home to thousands of long nose fur seals which provide a significant natural feeding source for great white sharks making this location a reliable year round destination to view great white sharks. We understand it’s unreasonable to expect great white sharks to always appear assoon as we drop anchor (though this does sometimes happen) and we also understand there is different weather and shark seasons throughout the year. To better ensure reliable viewing we offer different itineraries for different seasons of the year. Our famous multi-day overnight tours utilise both ocean floorand surface cage dives, giving our expedition members superior diving advantages including the highest success in seeing great white sharks and in achieving quality images and video. We get to enjoy the entire expedition with sunrises and sunsets, as time is spent actually out on location with no wearying daily transfers. In addition to this, while onboard the industry's largest vessel, we carry a maximum of just 12 guests, allowing plenty of un-rushed and un-crowded cage time for everyone. In many months we do enjoy a success rate approaching 100% most years, however some months tend to have more reliable long-term success than others. Please see the Best Time of Year section here for more details.
Q: I can't dive, can I still come onboard and see great white sharks?+-A:
Absolutely! There is no diving experience required for surface cage diving or of course, viewing the sharks topside from the boat. We have qualified dive professionals onboard who look after all our new surface cage diving guests. Our dive crew will ensure you are briefed and comfortable before getting in the cage. Plus, with our small guest numbers, there is no per-determined time that you must get in the cage. Guests can relax, watch the sharks from the surface and then when YOU are ready, we'll get you in the water. Surface cage time is unlimited and we look for all guests on-board to get fair and equal shark time. Our pricing also reflects your activities on-board, so you can join us as a 'topsider' or a 'surface cage' diver. You can even upgrade on-board. Have a chat with the Rodney Fox office team if you have anymore questions.
Q: Do I need to bring my own diving equipment?+-A:
You are very welcome to bring your own diving equipment but all diving needs for diving with the great whites can be hired onboard. This can be ordered at the time of booking.
Q: What do I need to bring on a Rodney Fox Shark Tour?+-A:
For a Great White Night Expedition, this is your what to bring checklist:
□ Warm clothing – Fox Expedition clothing available for purchase on board
□ Comfortable flat shoes
□ Dive certification card (divers must show qualification to participate in the ocean floor cage dive)
□ Dive gear – can be hired onboard, see website for more info
□ BCD if wanting to dive/not snorkel with Australian Sea lions
□ Sunglasses – polarized recommended
□ Batteries – for cameras
□ Sunscreen and hats
□ Personal medical and toiletries
□ Seasickness tablets
What you do not need to bring:
□ Towels for personal use and diving
□ Please do not bring any alcoholic beverages onboard as we have a 'Ship's Bar Only' policy.
□ Food/snacks - Snacks are provided complimentary
□ SCUBA tanks, fins or weight belts