Say the words ‘great white shark’ and warm places come to mind, like Australia, South Africa and of course Guadalupe off southern California. But you might be surprised to learn there’s somewhat of a hot spot for great white sharks right here in the great white north.
Great white sharks in Canada. Yup, seriously, though it’s probably not where you think…
If you said Vancouver Island you’d be off by about 8,000 kilometres. You’re on the wrong coast for great white sharks in Canada – sorry folks – but you might see them off Sable Island.
Sable Island – Canada’s Own White Shark Cafe
Canada’s newest national park is a tiny sliver of an island about 300 kilometres south of Halifax. That’s in the maritimes, of course, which shark lovers will recognize as being the sight of several recent encounters with our angular toothed friends, including Lydia, a female who made headlines in 2013 when researchers tracked the tagged shark swimming from Florida to Newfoundland. It’s presumed she had a layover at Sable Island, like other great whites, who frequent the island for its plentiful pinnipeds.
Sable Island is also famous for its wild horses, introduced in the 1800s. But while the island has seen its share of shipwrecks and failed attempts at settlement over the past 300 years, it remains generally untouched – a narrow 42 kilometre sandpit of dunes just barely within Canadian waters.
Today it’s home to about 5 people – researchers mostly – though the number swells in summer with further scientists, tourists and those interested in learning more about this island steeped in maritime lore.
Can You REALLY See Great White Sharks At Sable Island?
If you were to camp out on the island and swim offshore every day dressed like a seal, you’d probably see one. The island is famous for sharks – including said great whites and greenland sharks – though you’d be promptly kicked off the island if you even tried that feat because it’s a national park. You’ll need time and money to get there too. It’s an island way off the beaten track, so you’ll need to fly charter ($6,000+) or cruise there with Adventure Canada.
The latter will set you back at least $2,700 and take eight days of your life.
So yes, it’s safe to say we have a ‘relatively’ active hot spot for great white sharks in Canada. Admittedly, you won’t see them if you make the journey to Sable Island. But they’re out there. That’s good enough for me.