There were specific things that I had made up my mind to do during my stay here in South Africa.
I’d like to believe that I am somewhat adventurous. I tend to put myself out there and experience things that I have never done before. Last weekend I had the chance to do the unthinkable; shark cage diving. This is usually one of those crazy adventures you see on National Geographic, but I never imagined I would end up doing. Come to think of it, I think I am slowly becoming an adrenaline junkie.
There are different types and methods of shark cage diving. But the main point is to get into a well secured cage, that’s shark proof and able to examine dangerous types of sharks up close. This can include various species of sharks, but the most commonly observed within the confines of a cage are the great white shark and the bull shark, which are both known to be aggressive at times.
For this specific adventure, my group and I decided to do it at Gansbaai which is a 2 hour drive from Stellenbosh. This area is well known as the Capital of The Great White Shark. If your a big fan of National Geographic, this is also the same place where they come to view the great white sharks and where some of the episodes have been filmed. There was no doubt about it that it would be the best location for us to get the full experience.
Normally when booking for a shark cage diving or tour, it’s advised to book at least one day in advance. We left early in the morning and got to the to the site where we we got free breakfast and safety tips before the trip. At around 8am we launched. For shark cage diving, most places do early mornings or just before noon. I am guessing this because of the tides or that’s when the sharks are more available. Not really sure.
Initially I was somewhat hesitant about doing this adventure just because you are never guaranteed that you will see any sharks. According to our tour guide, their has been times where they have gone for tours several days in a row but never saw anything. So this was almost a financial risk just because you do not want to pay for something like this and not get the full experience. But to my understanding most places offer you a free pass on your next visit just incase you don’t get to see the sharks.
The trip to the diving spot, which is in the middle of nowhere, takes about 25 minutes where the preparations start. Once we got there, the cage was lowered into the water and the chum (bait) is dumped out to sea and made to lure the sharks. The cage floats in the water next to the boat with the bottom of the cage about 6ft deep under water and the top of the cage about 1ft above the water.
At this point, I started getting sea sick because of the rocking of the boat due to the winds and tides and the worst part, the fish smell. Trust me it was not a good look especially the fact that I threw up a couple times.😫😷.
At this time, we were all instructed to change into our wet suits and be fully ready so when the shark comes by there wouldn’t be any time wasted. This is because the shark necessarily doesn’t have to hang around. They can literally swim by and never come back again if they feel endangered. About twenty to thirty minutes or so of waiting, our first shark came by. The first group was instantly put into the cage. After 10 mins the 1st group got out and then the second group got in. In total we got to see two sharks that both came by. All in all each group got ample time to see the shark up close and we were all ecstatic that got to see them, like I said before it’s never fully guaranteed that you will see that sharks.
Surprisingly during this whole experience I never got scared. Not even once. It was a pure adrenaline rush. I still can’t believe that I got to do this experience.
Right now my limits are set so high that I can’t wait to see what I do next. My new motto is to replace fear of the unknown with curiosity.