Life is about the journey - some roads are not always what they seem but you sure learn a great deal from them!
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Published April 12th 2013
Swim with Great White Sharks
Since the release of Jaws, Great White Sharks have taken a heavy beating. I for one am very hesitant to swim in the ocean because of my fear of sharks. So, if there is one thing I have learnt through the years is that the only way to deal with a fear is to challenge it face on.
When travelling along the Garden Route (Cape Town, South Africa), I saw an opportunity to Cage Dive with Great White Sharks. My heart picked up a few beats at the thought of entering into the water knowing that these creatures would be swimming in close proximity. However, I decided that there was no time like the present to deal with the fear.
So I booked a Great White Encounter with White Shark Africa which is based in Mossel Bay. Mossel Bay is one of the fishing harbours of South Africa and is about a 4 hour drive south of Cape Town. Of course, White Shark Africa was bombarded with a million questions I asked in regards to safety and equipment. But, in the end I was satisfied with the answers.
I received an SMS the night before to remind us when we were to meet the next morning, and what to bring on the day. On the day, when we registered all our details, we were offered coffee, tea, juice and breakfast. Of course, my stomach was not up for the breakfast part, but was happy to have a cup of coffee.
After watching an introduction to what to expect on the day, we strolled down to the Pier to board their boat. The ride out of the harbor was amazing. The water was still, and we soon saw Seal Island where many sharks swim – of course.
The water was particularly clear, and the boat soon set anchor. There was a huge buzz of excitement, as the main staff member by the name of Chris, started to explain about the "chumming process". This was a mixture of fish remains, blood and water which was thrown overboard. The Shark Cage was then released down one side of the boat.
It was not long before we saw the first shark, and Chris took one of the Salmon heads and threw it into the water. Surprisingly the sharks were very shy and even thought the fish head was there for taking, the sharks ended up just nudging it. After a while of coaxing, one shark decided to take the bait, and semi jumped out of the water to do this.
The time arrived for us to enter into the cage. I put my hand up to go first. I thought: "Might as well get over this as soon as possible."
I climbed into the wet suit they supplied me, and entered into the cage. The water was freezing at first, which winded me a little. However, my attention quickly turned to the many sharks circling the cage. I was very surprised at how relaxed I was, and amazed at how very shy this creatures were. I was in the cage with 4 others, and we had an amazing experience of witnessing a shark jumping out of the water and taking hold of the salmon head.
The whole experience was amazing, with all the staff teaching us about Great Whites, their habitat, the way they hunt, and basically everything people really need to know about these sharks. Apart from this, we were supplied breakfast, coffee, and snacks on the boat. And of course they videoed the whole event which we had the option to purchase at the end of the trip.
I would rank White Shark Africa as one of the best businesses in the world in regards to professionalism, service, product, and quality. I have referred them to many of my friends because this trip is not only eventful but also educational, and you walk away with more than you invested in.
Thanks. Not sure at the time if I was Brave or just plain stupid. But in the end I was completely 'gob smacked' at how awesome it really was. Would definitely do that again...was the best thing I ever did.