“You’re gonna need a bigger boat” – Jaws (1975)

The sun kisses your face. A lovely, warm sea breeze brushes by you. The gentle rocking of the boat soothes you. You feel alive. Then you slowly open your eyes, standing on the edge of the stern, looking down at the submersed cage, in the endless dark and murky water. The instructor beacons you to get in. You can’t quite make out what’s in the water, but something, something big, is circling the boat. You get into the water, into the cage. All you see is dark blue water all around. You see nothing. It’s quiet. Tranquil.

Then suddenly you make out something in the distance. You have no idea how far away it is, or what it is, but it is getting closer. Fast.

You finally realize what you are face to face with. It’s dark, empty eyes looking straight at you. It’s huge, daunting and perfectly shaped body, slicing through the water, effortlessly. It’s coming for you. You’re very aware of how brittle and foreign the cage is. The only thing standing between you, and The Great White Shark moving towards you, is this flimsy man-made cage protecting you from one of nature’s greatest killers.

Its great jaws open, to reveal an awesome display of hundreds of razor sharp teeth. The jaws slam down with tremendous force on the protective foam around the cage. The whole cage shakes violently, as the Great White is determined to get to its pray. Your heart is pounding and you feel the adrenaline rushing through your veins, like an electric current surging through your body, telling you to run, to get out of danger -to stay alive.

The shark quickly loses interest. It swims slowly around the boat and cage. You marvel at how large, perfect, frighteningly beautiful and calm it is. It fears nothing. Not even man. Sheer terror, gets replaced by an awe and admiration of a creature so perfectly fit for its habitat that is hasn’t had the need to evolve since the dawn of time. One of evolutions greatest success stories, an elegant hunter of the seas.

 

Cage Diving

Shark diving in South Africa has become increasingly popular. People willingly immerse themselves in a habitat where you become the inferior mammal, where the hunter becomes the hunted, to experience the truly beautiful predator up close and personal.

You might think cage diving is only for adrenaline junkies, which is not the case. It also serves the purpose of being educational and demystifies the undeserved reputation these misunderstood animals have. Experiencing sharks in their natural habitat lets you really learn and appreciate the animals. Great Whites are actually a threatened species and very important to the eco system. While Elephants kill 500 people every year, the total number of attacks ever recorded on humans by a Great White Shark are an estimated 272 people. Great Whites have no natural predator in the ocean, but get killed by the thousands each year for their teeth and fins by humans. If you’d like to help the cause of preserving these wonderful species, a donation to the World Wildlife Fund would be a fine gesture.

Some call it an extreme sport; others call it wildlife observation. Whatever you call it, you will be left with an immense respect for The Great White Shark. Welcome to South Africa, the best place in the world to discover these remarkable creatures and experience something you will never forget.

Cage diving

Shark Attack

Humans are very rarely attacked by sharks, and you are in fact more likely to get hit by lightning. There has never been a fatal accident involving cage diving, and the cages are made to withstand hundreds of kilos of direct and violent pressure. When choosing a tour, you would be wise to pick a serious tour specialist, and preferably one with some marine environment experts in their staff to make the experience complete. The White Shark Diving Company is a tour company exeptionally proud of their proven service record and can answer all your questions about cage diving. No previous diving experience is required; you will not be diving and the sharks are actually scared of the bubbles. Everything is carefully coordinated and the tour includes all the gear you need. There are an abundance of different providers, and devoting some time and effort to research is well worth the time spent. A couple of good tips are:

-       Pick a tour with a large boat, as the larger the boat, the less chance of sea sickness.

-       Bring warm clothes. Granted you’re in Africa, but strong winds, coupled with being wet and the adrenaline might make you wish you brought that sweater after all.

-       Check the weather reports. Choppy seas can diminish the experience, as well as bad visibility underwater.

Hotels offering competent concierge and staff services will always be helpful and recommend a suitable provider. The Radisson Blu Hotel Waterfront and Radisson Blu Le Vendome Hotel in Cape Town both have very knowledgeable staff that will point you in the right direction.

Make the best out of your stay in South Africa, do something you normally wouldn’t do and cross this amazing experience off your bucket list – the ultimate adventure.