This weekend we are heading to Mossel Bay, South Africa for a White Shark Adventure with White Shark Africa.
If you have found it a little intimidating to step into the big blue ocean because of the ‘unknown’ that roams the waters, then this is adventure you should definitely add to your list. The reasons:
- Face Your Fear
- Educate Yourself
- Understand the Environment
Like many, I have fell under the spell of the Jaws Movie. Of course my personal brush with one of Jaws relatives added another reason NOT to step into the blue terrain. And, seeing these creatures cruise behind the second wave while in a helicopter ride set the whole fear factor into stone.
However, one can miss out a great deal from a misunderstanding of these magnificent creatures. Something that I learnt a great deal when on this voyage into shark territory.
White Shark Africa has one of the most impeccable records for safety and education. They are part of the tagging and education program to preserve the species that are on the endangered list. Booking is required for an experience like this and I highly recommend that you take a great underwater camera or just a great camera for above water shots.
A typical adventure like this starts with an early start that includes breakfast. Of course, as I was unsure if I was to ‘hurl’ on route to THE little place the ocean I decided not to opt for breakfast but rather a black coffee. Breakfast was combined with a discussion of what to expect together with safety regulations.
We were extremely fortunate as our trip to a place near seal island was on fairly calm waters. We all witnessed a great white breaching – a rare sight – and one where I did not have my camera ready.
By the time we reached our destination, there was an air of excitement. One of the staff members lowered the cage and brought out a mixture of salmon heads and guts which they called Chum. There is a huge debate on the ethics of Chumming as many feel it encourages for more shark attacks. However, there is no significant data to prove this conspiracy theory to be true.
We were all given a wet suit, and thankfully so, as the water was a little on the cold side. We were informed that when we enter the water it would take our breath away for a moment, however once inside the cage we would get used to it. Apart from this, the clarity of the water was exceptionally clear which meant we would see sharks from a fair distance.
What I found interesting that even though they used Chum to lure the sharks to the boat, it was not until they brought out the heads of a massive fish head that the sharks start to show up. Some of them were tagged, and we were educated on each personality and how old they were. One of the interesting facts I learnt about Great Whites is that they have to be a minimum of 4 meters before they start breeding. This takes years to reach.
We were graced with 13 sharks, all which were of different size and age. One of the sharks I “feel in love with” was called Black Gill. Maybe because I thought she swum gracefully and seemed to respect the fact we were there to observe her.
For many, there is a belief that once a human enters the water a shark will come out of no where and attack the cage. THIS IS A MYTH! If it was not for the salmon heads, the sharks would have keep a fair distance giving us the opportunity to observe them. I believe there was a huge sense of respect between both sharks with humans understanding that the shark definitely had the upper hand when it came to water.
Snacks and Drinks were served on the boat, however most of us were so focused on the sharks that this soon became a distant memory. With only 4 in the cage a time, I treasured my time in the cage. I believe we spent most of the day in the water and many of us were bubbling with excitement by days end.
White Shark Africa takes video footage of the whole experience. I seriously recommend anyone to purchase this video. Another piece of advice I will also give is that you tip the staff at the end of the day. I cannot stress enough how tips can impact a staff’s life!
White Shark Africa is worth every cent of your investment into this adventure. Outside of treasured of photos, I walked away with a better understand of sharks, their habitat and the dangers they face to merely exist. More precisely….you can actually find me swimming in the ocean….maybe a couple of steps from the shore – but that in itself is a huge accomplishment! Thanks White Shark Africa!