Inspired by Australia's natural, developing and fun environments.
Get some inspiration.
Published October 9th 2016
Are you game ?
The heart rate was leaping, the adrenaline flowing, the eyes wavering and the mind racing, and yet I was still firmly anchored on the mainland at the Port Lincoln. Perhaps it was me, or just perhaps it was the thought of getting up close and personal with one of the most feared creatures on earth, the great white shark.
Calypso Star Charters Shark Cage Diving Tours depart the Port Lincoln Marina several times a week taking would-be thrill seekers on the trip south to the Neptune Islands Group Marine Park where the sharks are protected species and visitors are encouraged to observe.
We board the Calypso 2 at 630am at the Port Lincoln Marina and set a path towards the sunrise across the beautiful and sublime Boston Bay while devouring breakfast rolls, fruit, nibbles and bottomless cups of coffee, all the time noting that the nerves are increasingly on edge and the heart rate is continuing to rise.
Passing Cape Donington, the boat heads south between a raft of small islands and the Lincoln National Park across some open waters towards our anchor point in the sheltered Neptune Islands. The slowing of the boat motor coupled with the rigorous activity of squeezing oneself into a full wetsuit is momentarily paused when everyone's attention is drawn to the fin that has just appeared in the water and starts circling.
Unperturbed by the water action, the crew continue with their well tuned process of anchoring the boat, and lowering the shark cage into the water in readiness for the first batch of anxious yet excited visitors. I double check that the cage is still attached to the boat, roll down the wetsuit hood, put the face mask on, insert the breathing regulator and step forward.
Despite the pre-entry warning from the crew, one of the first things I notice as I enter the water is how cold it is. I guess I shouldn't be surprised given that the South Pole is the next suburb south, but the rush of cold water gives the heart rate another reason to spike to new levels. Head now underwater, I join the throng of go-pro cameras lined up like the paparazzi on the red carpet awaiting the arrival of a superstar.
The kingfish entertain us for a while, and the odd tuna swims by as the cameras remain on standby with eager eyes remaining stuck open in anticipation. And it doesn't take long before a sleek 3.5m creature arrives on our left, initially staying a cautious distance away from the cameras before finally circling in closer to the cage where us humans in seal-like uniforms bobble up and down in the drifting waters like berley in a basket.
The great white shark is one of the most beautiful yet feared animals on earth, with its grace, sleekness and style countered by its wicked smile, partially scarred body and razor sharp teeth. However all of this becomes matter of fact while the mind continues to race and ponder how strong this cage really would be if this circling shark was on its final days of a self-imposed hunger strike.
After 45 minutes and a couple of great whites, it is time to exit the cage, get the wetsuit off, jump in to the warm shower and make our way back inside the boat to share the tales of shark encounter while the next group of visitors brave the cool waters for a glimpse of a great white. The generous lunch followed by the opening of the bar on the trip back to Port Lincoln and the fishy stories get bigger as the adrenaline fades and the achievement sinks in.