Hammerheads can grow to 20 feet long, they’re easily spooked, and they tend to swim in large schools. And, yet, divers still seek them out, without the safety of a cage. The truth is, the world’s funniest looking shark is a bit of a scaredy cat and rarely attacks. Top tips for leaving hammerhead-infested waters with the same number of limbs you dove in with: remain as calm as a Buddhist monk, avoid blowing scuba bubbles toward them, and try to stay in one spot as you observe them.
Best place to see them: Cocos Island off Costa Rica is famous for its hammerhead schools. Have your dive buddy snap a photo of you swimming among the giant swirl of hundreds of these unmistakable beasts, throw a yellow border around it, and you’ve got yourself a National Geographic cover shot.
Fear factor: Medium. Assuming you have plenty of dives under your belt, hammerhead encounters shouldn’t rattle you too much.
Danger factor: Medium. Because of their skittishness, hammerhead sharks are much more likely to bolt than bite.