Thursday, 10 December 2015

Shark Cage Diving, South Africa

As part of our trip to Cape Town we took part in a shark cage dive with the White Shark Diving Company. We chose to include transfers as the drive is over two hours from the centre of Cape Town. The start was also very early! We were collected promptly at 4:05am in a clean mini bus and driven with several other guests to the dive centre. On arrival we could use the toilet (one for men and one for women) and the hot showers, again one each. Tea and coffee were provided along with orange juice and water for breakfast. There was white and brown toast, breakfast muffins and fruit to snack on whilst everyone paid, filled in the forms and had the safety briefing.

Next it was time to board the boat, which is then driven into the water before a short but choppy fifteen minutes ride into the ocean. Once the boat anchors up everyone is helped into wet suits and given snorkel masks. There is bottled water and crisps on the boat too as well as one toilet. The cage is lowered into the water and the crew start throwing in the chum. It can take up to one hour to spot a shark but within ten minutes an incredible great white made an appearance.

The first eight divers were lowered into the cage where they waited. Each time a shark was sighted the crew would shout down so you could grab an underwater glance. In total the group saw five different sharks on several occasions with the largest at just over 3m long. The water is cold at around twelve degrees. The winter temperature is around eighteen degrees. However, the water is bearable due to the adrenaline of seeing the sharks. There were around twenty two divers and three observers on our boat. Each guest will get two to three turns in the cage depending on the frequency of sightings.

The crew are amazing and make you feel very safe and secure. They also film the whole experience for you to purchase on dvd at the end. The dvd is pretty pricey at 350 ZAR but is a great memory of our trip and our friends and family have loved watching it.

After the last dive everyone changes back into warm clothes. On arrival at the dive centre we were served lasagne and salad whilst watching the dvd! We were then driven back in a minibus, which included wifi so we could start sharing our experiences with others back home!

All in all this was incredible. The sharks are not interfered with or fed so this is completely sustainable. There is so much to learn about these great predators and to see one up close and in the wild is an experience words cannot describe. I urge anyone visiting this area to give this a go! It costs 1,450 ZAR per person as well as 350 ZAR per person for return transfers.