Friday, 12 August 2011

Literally! A SHARK in the water!!

 Finally!  The title of this blog makes sense, other than it being my favorite song and the only line I sing of it.  This Tuesday (a national holiday celebrating women) I went . . . SHARK CAGE DIVING!!

It was absolutely amazing.  So so so fun!  First off we had to get up before 5am and be ready to go by 5:15 to get to the sea town of Gans Baai.  I slept most of the way but woke up during the second half of the journey as the sun was coming up.  Everyone else in my car was still asleep (we got drivers to take us- livin’ large!) which was a good thing b/c there were a few hills with horses on them and without fail I would say, “look horses!” nobody heard me luckily- thanks family.
Our vessel that kept us out of the mouths of sharks

There were sea gulls everywhere- we were all "lucky" because birds pooped on you left and right.  I saw an albatross which is pretty rare, apparently.

When we got to the town they had shark themes everywhere.  Every café, libraray, shoe store all had some pun about sharks as advertisements.  It smelt like the sea as soon as we got out of the car and I could barely stand my excitement.  They put us in life jackets that looked like they would help us sink more than float and giant orange fisherman jackets which were a life saver b/c it was pretty windy on the high seas!  Our first minute away from the dock and the boat got air going over giant rolling waves.  I would have yelled for them to go faster but they were going pretty fast and the waves really were massive so I was pretty content. 
 Everyone looking at the Beautiful shore-- it was cloud at first but the day turned and the beaches were beautiful in the sun

All the women on the Shark Diving Trip!

Once we got out into the bay we had to change into wet suits.  I previously had no fear about sea sickness- until then.  Trying to shimmy my body into a suit that made me look all too much like a seal on a rocking boat will make anyone a little uneasy.  After we got our wet suits on we looked really similar to the seal cut out they would throw into the water to tantalize some nice great whites to come and chomp on. 
I KNOW that this shark thought the cut out was human

After about 2-3 hours there were still no sharks.  By this time I had given up trying to suck in while being squished by my wet suit and was sitting on top of the boat with a basket ball for a belly and intermittently biting into my sandwich and throwing bits of it into the water to get anything to swim by.  Finally we moved to a new spot b/c another boat was leaving and they had seen at least 3 sharks swimming about.

After we moved the real fun started.  I was still on top deck and next to a man who had been standing there the whole time.  After 2 minutes he gave a shout and pointed out into the waters where there was a HUGE shadow of a shark!  Who knew that guy was the look out?  Anyways after that two more sharks came by and it was crazy how big they were!  You could see them swimming by and they were almost, if not, as big as the boat!  The crew would throw a bait line that was about 10 fish heads attached to a rope to guide the sharks closer.  There was also that seal cut out which they would throw but I did not approve of it- it looked nothing like a seal and very much like a squat human in a wet suit.

The sharks would throw their heads out of the water with their mouths gaping going after the baits and then would turn on a dime and swing around in another direction.  Every time I would see a shark I would squeal in delight and practically hurl my body over the railing to try and get closer- I think there is something off about my survival instincts.
The Chum that was literally poured on our heads

the shark cage

a shark

So I was the third group to go into the actual cage to be NEXT to the great white sharks that were bigger than the cage itself!  I was the first one in and I did get really scared once I was actually in the water.  It was pretty cold and the water was really choppy so the cage would sometimes swing a little bit and hit the side of the boat- all adding up to a terrifying situation.  Since I was in first I was at the end so two sides of me were next to open ocean while the other two were next to the boat and another girl from my group- who was more scared than I was so I could pretend like I was cool, calm, and collected- I was none of these things.  While I was in the cage a shark swam right by the side of it!  I ducked down to see (the water was pretty murky so you couldn’t see too much, but I did see this!) a giant shark swimming right by me!  Its head was right next to the cage so I was screaming my heart out underwater and had to come up for air only to see its fins inches away from the cage swimming by- AMAZING!!  The cage didn’t get any easier b/c the fins would go right by you and the cage would smash up and down and against the boat so you were flung all around and water in your face.  We didn’t have any underwater equipment other than goggles so to go underwater you had to hold your breath and grab onto the bars of the cage to dive under- you also had a weight attached to you but sometimes it would get stuck onto the cage which was more scary than the beast swimming inches from you. I have two bruises on my shin from ducking under and pushing my legs against the cage to get as far away from the open water as possible.  The crew thought it was hilarious when they asked us if we wanted them closer and we all cried a jolly “yes!!” so they pour some chum (fish guts) onto our heads inside the cage. I have never screamed so hard in my life. They also would swing the fish heads at us to get the sharks to come closer.  The water was really murky so realizing that sharks could be swimming right by you and not being able to see them is a notion I wish I did not take away from the experience. 

Getting the wet suit off and onto dry land was bittersweet but necessary after having guts poured onto your body.  We took the scenic route home, which was beautiful, but got my pretty confused about the whole geographical lay out of the western cape.  I’m very excited to see some more harbor towns because they all looked pretty darn cute!  We finally got home around 6 to have our neighbor come over (he was in the house the I proclaimed myself braai (aka grill) master of) to tell us about our spring break trip which he is running.  So after seeing sharks all day I set up my trip to Botswana to see elephants and waterfalls!  I LOVE animals!!

Still have all my fingers and toes, arms and legs.

This is not the best vid, but it took me forever to upload and so i'm leaving it


  1. Soooo cool! I would absolutely love to do that. Awesome pictures as well!

  2. OMG MARG! AWESOME!!!! I mean if anyone could do that it would be you! AHHHH!!! Im so JEALOUS!!! LOVE YOU!

  3. that is TERRIFYING!! they would put a WEIGHT on you when there was nothing but open water underneath you??? Are they crazy??? And I can't see your video :( tear