– Independent review by our client, Grant Dreyer
Being an ardent surfer and all round ocean lover going shark cage diving has never been high on my priority list of things to do. With names such as Great White, White Pointer, White Shark or White Death, reaching lengths up to 20 feet and weighing in close to 2 tons, you may understand my apprehension in getting into the water with these mammoth animals.
It is said that after the Kruger National Park, Great White sharks attract some of the highest number of tourists to South Africa for any singular activity, so on a recent trip out from the United States my brother in-law indicated that this would be a great experience, especially since Gansbaai (a 2 hour drive from Cape Town) is the world’s most notorious breeding ground for these impressive beasts.
The Shark Diving Unlimited team were absolutely great. Boasting visitors such as Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Leonardo Di Caprio, Halle Berry, Jeff Corwin and Prince Harry to mention just a few, you can be rest assured that you are in superb hands.
We arrived at the Shark Diving Unlimited team’s HQ at 12h00 and were greeted by some nervous faces from other unsuspecting victims. The breakfast was welcomed after the drive from Cape Town with very little beating a fresh pot of coffee and the ocean breeze. After a quick meal the party watched an educational movie on sharks which features Mike Rutzen also known internationally as the shark whisperer – who regularly features on the Discovery Channel and numerous National Geographic documentaries.
Once the safety briefing was completed we headed onto the ocean steed, the Barracuda, which is especially designed for shark cage diving and features the most sophisticated navigation and safety gear.
On the boat we realised that there was no backing out of this experience. However it was only until we reached our destination and spotted a few circling shadows, that the fear and reality of what we were about to do, started setting in. At this point we got told to suit up and the first batch of divers entered the water. The nervous expressions of the people in the cage looking through tiny windows into the ocean’s depth, the smell of the chum and the crew slinging fish heads to lure the giants closer, made one question whether this was a good idea.
Finally our turn came and in we went. After only a few seconds came our first encounter with these majestic animals, poised with the grace of a chess player, knowing that in the next move he will be victorious, its elusive speed only shown at the chance of a tasty snack. The essence of what was happening around us was brought to a halt as time seemed to freeze when the sharks glide past the cage. We could see straight into the abyss of its big black eyes, assessing each one of us and weighing up the chances of a meal in a calculated manner.
With every sling of the fish heads to lure the sharks closer, the excitement in us was stirred and we were again forced into a state of frozen fear and excitement, but with every sighting you realise how magnificent these animals are and find yourself being drawn closer to them.
We were fortunate in that although it was the low season as far as shark viewings were concerned, we had about 30-35 sightings in our one trip alone, which is incredible.
The experience was truly amazing and we walked away with a newfound respect for these amazing creatures and a better understanding of how wrong the perceptions created by movies and Hollywood are.
- R1350 per person
- Breakfast (before trip)
- Picnic lunch (during trip)
- Soft drinks and water (during trip)
- Lunch (after trip)
- All diving equipment
- Dry towels
To experience what Grant experienced…
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