Alongside other polarizing, adrenaline-producing extreme activities like BASE jumping and spelunking, even a single mention of the act of shark cage diving can leave some folks trembling with anticipation and leave other normally adventurous folks shaking their heads and muttering “not for a million bucks.” It’s just one of those things.

For those who do find enormous appeal in suiting up, diving in and spending some quality time with the ocean’s most magnificent and misunderstood creatures, shark cage diving is considered an increasingly popular form of bucket list-worthy ecotourism that’s all about location, location, location (and safety, safety, safety).

So, to help usher in Shark Week 2011, we’ve rounded up a few primo shark cage diving spots from around the world ranging from multiple-day, all-inclusive shark diving expeditions off the coast of South Australia to one-day adventure-fests off the coast of, umm, Long Island. With each location, we’ve listed a reputable operator, the cost, the ideal time to go, the type(s) of sharks you can expect to commune with and a good place to grab a post-dive cocktail because, after all, you may or may not require a stiff drink after spending a good chunk of the day underwater in a protective metal cage surrounded by apex predators.

That said, this certainly isn’t a definitive list … are there any shark cage diving spots that you’ve experienced firsthand? Tell us about them in the comments section!

 

Montauk, N.Y.

Season: June-September

Potential chum mates: Mako, blue (right) and thresher sharks

Preferred cage provider: Sea Turtle Dive Charters

Cost: $200 (certified divers), $250 (non-certified divers)

Celebratory post-dive libations: The Sloppy Tuna

 

Farallon Islands, Calif.

Season: September-November

Potential chum mates: Great white sharks

Preferred cage provider: Great White Adventures

Cost: $775 (includes meals and beverages)

Celebratory post-dive libations: The Albatross Pub, Berkeley

Point Judith, R.I.

Season: June-September

Potential chum mates: Blue, mako and basking (right) sharks

Preferred cage provider: Snappa Charters

Cost: $225-$250 (individual divers, 10-hour or 12-hour)

Celebratory post-dive libations: Charlie O’s Tavern, Narragansett

“Shark Alley” via Kleinbaai, South Africa

Season: Year-round; best viewing is from March through September

Preferred cage provider: Great White Shark Tours

Potential chum mates: Great white sharks

Cost: About $217 for adults

Celebratory post-dive libations: The Lighthouse Tavern, Gansbaai

Tiger Beach, the Bahamas

Season: Year-round

Potential chum mates: Tiger (right), reef and hammerhead sharks

Preferred cage provider: Incredible Adventures

Cost: $875 (includes meals and refreshments)

Celebratory post-dive libations: Sabor

 

Guadalupe Island, Mexico

Season: September-October

Potential chum mates: Great white sharks

Preferred cage provider: Islander Charters

Cost: $2,795; five-day, all-inclusive trip includes meals, accommodations at sea, etc.

Celebratory post-dive libations: A Dos Equis aboard the M/V Islander

 

Neptune Islands, Australia

Season: Year-round

Potential chum mates: Great white sharks (right)

Preferred cage provider: Rodney Fox Shark Expeditions

Cost: About $2,700 (four nights), $2,200 (three nights); includes meals, accommodations at sea, etc.

Celebratory post-dive libations: A Coopers ale aboard the Princess II

Inset photos: Blue, basking, tiger sharks/ZUMA Press; great white shark: Mshai/Flickr; MNN homepage photo: ZUMA Press