The Neptune Islands consist of 4 small Islands located approximately 15-20 nautical miles from the mainland, south of the Eyre Peninsula, South Australia. Being 40 NM from Port Lincoln, travel time to the Islands is approximately 2.5 hours.
The Islands are divided into the North and South Neptune Islands. The Neptune group and surrounding waters is a Marine Conservation Park under the protection of the South Australian Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources ('the Department'). The islands provide a safe and comfortable anchorage and a spectacular back drop for your Shark Cage Diving adventure.
Calypso Star Charters are licensed by the Department to conduct tours in the Neptune Island Conservation Park. A per passenger levy is charged by the Department, this is incorporated into the price of the tour. We are currently lobbying the Government for more of the money to be used to expand the current CSIRO White Shark research project at Neptune Islands.
Great White Sharks, or 'White Pointers' as they are commonly known, visit the Neptune Islands as a reliable source of food. With over 4000 New Zealand Fur Seals born on the Islands each year, the surrounding waters are an important stop off on the shark's nomadic migratory travels through the Southern coasts of Australia. The Seals give birth to their pups in November/December each year. The size of the seal colony has been steadily growing over the past 2 decades and the Neptune Island colony is by far the largest breeding colony in South Australia.
We are 1 of only 2 companies that are permitted to use natural fish berley to attract Great White Sharks. This permission to berley is tightly controlled by the Department of Primary Industries ('Fisheries') and as such we are limited by the type, amount and condition of the berley and bait that we use. Our berley consists of Southern Blue fin Tuna offal sourced locally, after all, Port Lincoln is not only famous for Big Sharks but also Big Tuna. While you are visiting Port Lincoln, why not Swim With The Tuna!
Being permitted to berley (chum) provides us with the best possible chance at a shark sighting; after all, Great White Sharks are the ultimate marine predator. With skilful use of the baits we are able to lure the sharks close to the dive cage to give you the most intense cage dive available. The use of bait also provides spectacular viewing from the boat. You don't have to be in the water to experience the thrill of a Great White Shark!
Our trip out to the Neptune Islands is spectacular. The raw power of the Southern Ocean has shaped the coastline and islands to what they are today. Several of the Islands in Thorny Passage were named in memory of sailors lost at sea on the expedition of Matthew Flinders in February 1802.
Once at the Island, your captain chooses the best position to anchor based on both weather conditions are recent shark behaviour. No anchorage is 'better' than the next and it will simply depend on the conditions of the day. While the islands are a Marine Park, we are still permitted to drop a line in while we wait for the sharks. Common catches of Silver Trevally and Swallowtail are mostly returned to the water, however you are welcome to take some home for dinner, just ask the friendly crew.
Our crew are well trained and experienced and at all times strive to provide you with the most satisfying and safe Shark Cage Diving experience possible. Our license conditions also set out guidelines as to how to handle the Great White Sharks, obviously with great care. Our tours are operated to cause no stress to the sharks and minimise any impact on the marine environment. We strive to impart our vast knowledge of White Sharks to our guests onboard every charter. Not only will you have a day to remember but you will gain a better appreciation of this often misunderstood creature of the deep.
Calypso Star Charters is proudly involved with the CSIRO who conduct extensive research into Great White Sharks around Australia. This support includes deploying tags and vessel assistance to deploy and service acoustic listening stations at the Neptune's. As a license condition, we are required to provide data to the Department of Environment and CSIRO regarding shark sightings, weather and water conditions, vessel location and berley (chum) usage.
We understand that while you are onboard with us you are on holidays so we won't overload you with information. On the boat you can be as involved as you like, our crew are always keen to talk about sharks, fishing and life on the beautiful Eyre Peninsula.
Photos right: Tagged Shark, Acoustic tag shown up close and Listening station.