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Published: November 4th 2013
Yet again I had another early start, this time it was 04:50 to get ready before being picked up for the cage diving in Gansbaii with the great white sharks. I had booked the diving with Hermanus Backpackers who were extremely helpful in organising the whole thing for me. The backpackers deal with Great White Shark Diving company ( http://www.greatwhitesharkdiving.co.za/
). The guy leading it was brilliant, he was very knowledgeable and extremely patient, far more than I’d ever be, throughout the day he had to listen to moronic questions from several members of the group in addition to being asked the same question 2,3 and 4 times during the day. The added bonus with this company was that they were the cheapest – nice! Most of the packages involve them picking you up from your hostel in Cape Town at an ungodly hour and dropping you off after the tour.
Initially there was a 15 min journey in the boat to the designated area for this activity, we were surrounded by 4 other boats all doing the same thing. Once we had weighed anchor, they started to chum (if you can’t remember Jaws) this involved chucking water mixed with off-cuts
from dead fish into the sea to give the sharks a taste of some grub to draw them to the boat. Very soon after was the first sighting of a great white and the cage was lowered into the sea and five of us got into it. It was bloody freezing despite wearing a wet suit. The visibility was very low – around 1 metre, so the experience was not as enjoyable as I’d hoped, as you only saw a shark underwater if he was brushing against the cage and I did give it a little stroke as he glided by. In total we saw 4 sharks ranging from 2 metres to 3.5 metres in length, all juveniles but impressive beasts.
There is a lot of controversy flying round about Cage Diving but the compant was at pains to explain that they don't actually feed the sharks which is one of the issues that has been aimed at the companies.
I had a total surprise on the way back as the transfer stopped at the side of the bay opposite Hermanus and we spent half an hour watching around 30 southern right whales playing in the bay. By
mass these are the third largest whale. These were all mothers with their calves and they were at times within 10 metres of the shoreline which made for great viewing. But the highlight was a mother with an albino calf, which is a very rare occurrence.
The rest of the day I spent wandering round Hermanus, I really liked Hermanus, it was a lovely little town, it reminded me of Husavik in Iceland but with flora. There is a nice walk round the clifftops and if you are lucky it is possible to see the odd whale as I did on one of my walks.
The following day I was going out to the bay with Southern Right Charters to do some whale watching. As I had seen so many whales the previous day I was worried that it would all be a waste of time on the boat trip but that didn't turn out to be the case as we got really close to them and it was magical.
On the trip out to the bay we passed several seals and penguins and found a mother and her calf who put on a show for us
and then found the albino calf of the previous day and got so close to it that I was worried it was going to bump into the boat. We were out on the water around 2 hours and it was a great experience.
Shortly afterwards I was back on another bus to return to Cape Town where I was staying at Cape Town backpackers for 3 nights.
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