Monday, 12 October 2015

Taking a dip with the great whites

I should probably start this off by letting you all know that I have never seen Jaws and therefore do not share that same crippling fear of sharks.  I did however see all the footage of Mick Fanning being attacked by a shark twice this year just before I left.  So, I probably should've been a little scared to get in shark infested waters, right? 

Instead, I was one of the first to volunteer to hop in. (Mom, please stop crying.  I'm fine)

I was picked up in Cape Town and driven 2 hours up the coast to the Marine Dynamics office in Gansbaai.  We had breakfast, signed in and got measured up for our wet suits.  We had a little bit of a wait as the previous group was slow to get a shark sighting.  Once the boat had returned it was a quick switch as we put on our life jackets and headed down to the dock. 

It was cold and windy and the thought of being on a boat in the middle of the ocean on choppy water was less than thrilling.  I took two Gravol and thought about the sharks.  It would be worth it for the sharks.  

We went about 20 minutes out before the boat anchored and the bobbing began.  Up and down, side to side.  It wasn't long before some of my new friends weren't feeling so hot.  Then they gave us our wet suits.  Have you ever tried to put on a wet suit while desperately trying to keep your balance on a teetering boat?  It is no easy feat.  The lady I half sat on can vouch for that.  Oops! 

In any case, I was successful and when the sharks came around I was eager to jump in.  

I got in the cage with seven other brave souls.  Whenever a shark approached we were advised to get underwater.  So, with a deep breath I pulled myself into the 13 degree water.  13 degrees is cold and I was shivering, but it was so worth it.  The water was so clear and sharks passed so close you could see the details of their skin. I probably could've reached out and touched one.  I didn't.  I'm adventurous, not stupid.   

The crew was waiting with warm towels and hot chocolate when I finally got out of the water.  Both were much appreciated.  I then got to watch as others got in the cage and more sharks visited.  We saw six sharks that day with the largest measuring about 4.5 meters.  That's a big shark! We got to see the sharks come up out of the water and chomp at the decoys.  It was exciting and amazing.  

Once everyone had had their chance in the cage, we headed back to shore to sit by the fire and sip on hot soup.  I napped the whole drive back to Cape Town.  Too much excitement for one day.