The day had finally arrived.
After months of anticipation we were only a few hours away from coming face-to-face with quite possibly the world’s most feared predator – the Great White Shark.
We were awake at 7 a.m. on Thursday so we could be ready in time for our driver to pick us up at 8 a.m. to take us out to Gansbaai where the shark diving boat leaves from.
Once we climbed aboard our tour van, we had a couple more stops at some other backpackers around Cape Town before we were on our way to Gansbaai and the Great White Sharks.
The journey to Gansbaai is very similar to the trip we took to Cape Agulhas, just not nearly as far.
After a two hour ride listening to our iPods and taking a quick snooze on each other’s shoulders we arrived at the harbor in Gansbaai.
The first order of business was a light snack and some much needed coffee before we were briefed on how to maneuver about the cage when it’s in the water.
As soon as the briefing concluded we headed down to the water’s edge to board our vessel, the Megalodon II.
We set sail at about 12:15 p.m. with a short 15-minute boat ride out to the dive site.
At this time of year, summer in South Africa, the best shark diving is not at Seal Island. The reason for this is because sharks only hunt seals at the specific time of year that baby seals begin to venture out into the water. Adult seals are fast and outsmart the Great White Sharks by zipping around dodging the shark before drafting closely behind the shark. The shark has little endurance, therefore doesn’t fancy engaging in this game of pinball and will avoid Seal Island when there are no babies to prey on.
During the summer the Great White Sharks move to shallower water where they can feed on smaller sharks that are easier to catch than the speedy quick adult seals.
Because of this. our dive site was an area known as Shark Alley.
Upon our arrival in Shark Alley we were immediately graced with the presence of a baby (2-3 years) Great White Shark, approximately 2 meters or 6.56 feet long.
After about 30 minutes of watching the baby shark swim around the boat and check out the bait we were offering, the main attraction arrived…
This was a female adolescent (6-7 years) Great White Shark about 4 meters or 13.12 feet in length. It was the largest shark we saw on the day and both Tarynne and I were able to dive in the cage alongside her. She even spoke to Tarynne by letting out a loud bark as she cruised by her in the cage.
Apparently Tarynne is a shark whisperer, because she was the only diver a shark tried to speak to the entire time we were out on the water.
Anyway, I’ll shut up and let our video do the talking…
In total we were at the dive site for about three hours and saw a total of five sharks, the largest being the female Tarynne and I had the chance to dive with. It turns out that 4 meters is about the average size of the sharks people see when shark diving, but if you are extremely lucky you can see sharks up to 6 meters or about 19 feet in these waters.
Just before we left the dive site, a hungry shark put on a show and was able to grab a hold of the bait. Unfortunately I didn’t get any video, but it was pretty cool too see her sink her teeth into a dead fish’s head.
On that note we headed back into shore where we ate lunch and learned a little bit more about the sharks we saw out on the water.
After lunch we piled back into the van for the two hour drive back to Cape Town. We arrived home at around 6:45 p.m.
We went for a late dinner down the street at Hudsons – The Burger Joint before going to bed early, exhausted from a day of diving.
We plan to spend Thursday and Friday hanging around Cape Town. enjoying out last few days in the city before we head out on out overland journey, which kicks off with a meeting at 6 p.m. on Friday night.