Shark Cage Diving

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August 18th 2007
Published: August 27th 2007
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Getting readyGetting readyGetting ready

Us looking tired and ready to get on the boat
Today we fufilled my long-time wish of going shark cage diving with Great White sharks. We rustled out of bed around 4:30 A.M. I was in a total fog and couldn't think and barely managed to dress myself. I was not very helpful while driving. I'm horrible at reading maps and there was no light inside the rental car. The road was extremely dark and the car didn't have brights. It was a strange drive.

A few minutes before 7 A.M. we arrived at the Great White Shark House. Inside they gave us coffee, breakfast, and a short briefing on shark ecology and conservation. Then we were off. The boat was extremely bumpy and I was grateful we had each taken two motion sickness pills (one the night before and one two hours before going out...I highly recommend this to anyone who plans on going cage diving). We anchored and the shark wait began. The boat rocked back and forth and after about two hours we still hadn't seen anything. There was very little wind so the chum scent couldn't spread in the water and attract sharks. I was getting nauseous so I tried concentrated on the horizon. We stayed on the top part of the boat where supposedly it was less rocky.

We ended up moving to a place where some other boats had sighted sharks. We saw two sharks! Dale and I hurried to get in line to go down in the cage. Right before we did my sea sickness vanished and my heart started pounding with nervous excitement. We got in with three other people. However there was no time to be nervous, either you got in the cage or someone else did. The water was icy cold and kept slapping us in the face. It was difficult for me to hold my breathe under the water since I was so excited. I was too short to hold on to where I was suppose to and kept floating around. When sharks would come the people on the boat would yell "Shark decoy!" or "Shark bait!" to tell you which way to look.

Seeing sharks at eye level in the wild was a great experience. In no way did they seem predatory or harmful they were more like curious fish. They are graceful swimmers and move purposefully through the water. This trip definitely strengthened my love and appreiciation of the great white shark.

After everyone was in the cage we went to
Shark Alley between Geyser and Dyer Islands. There were tons of seals on the two islands but unfortunately we didn't see any more sharks in the water.

We then walked around Gansbaai, it was the Great White Shark Festival. There was food, music, and information about conservation and protection of sharks.

We drove to
Hermanus along Walker Bay to watch whales. You could see them right from the beach! We didn't have binnoculars but we were still able to enjoy the whales. There were lots of Southern Right Tips and I think we saw a Humpback. We ate dinner at a seafood restaurant there, we had fried hake and prawns. Back at Stellenbosch Anna was having a braai for her birthday. Dale and I planned on taking a nap and then going. This nap turned into us sleeping all night.

Additional photos below
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It's really hard to put on a wetsuit on a boat that's constantly moving

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