I loved South Africa so much that it gets yet another post. This time LOTM’s trusty assistant Chris has made a video of our shark-cage dive with Great Whites in Gaansbai, South Africa.
As you may or may not know, the waters off the coast of South Africa are, quite literally, shark-infested. I stayed a few weeks in St. James, a quaint little town not far from Muizenberg to the south of Cape Town, and loved the fact that a gorgeous, tourist-free beach was right across the street. Only problem? You see signs like this on your way to the water:
I even heard stories from my B&B about a German lady getting swallowed whole. Not that I’m buying that – I’m not quite as gullible as my blond head might suggest. And I think it’s important to keep in mind that every year, far more people are killed by cows than by sharks. So there.
What’s interesting, though, is that the beaches around Cape Town have shark-spotters – people who sit in the hills with binoculars and watch out for sharks. Great whites are spotted several times a week. Yes, I swam anyway. And I lived to tell about it.
But merely swimming in the same waters wasn’t enough for Chris and me; we wanted to see a shark up close and personal. On our Garden Route road trip, we stopped off in Gaansbai for a shark-cage dive and headed out into the bay.
If I have one piece of advice, its to take your own wetsuit. It turns out the shark-cage dives don’t entail actual scuba diving – you just get in a cage attached to the side of the boat and, when a shark comes, duck your head below the surface of the water. Because it’s not actually a dive, they don’t take the wetsuits very seriously. As our captain told us, the sizes are “too big” and “too small”. Too small wasn’t even going to fit over my legs, let alone my whole body, so I had to go with too big. And if you’re a diver, you know that an over-sized wetsuit means more water flowing through it, which in water temperatures of 15°C/59°F means you will freeze. By the end of it, I couldn’t feel my hands.
Now to the great part: YOU GET GREAT WHITE SHARKS ALL UP IN YOUR FACE!!! Check out the video to see our shark action, and stick around until the 4th minute, when it gets really interesting.
Apropos sharks: more to come VERY soon on this lovely lady in the Seychelles and my (actual scuba) dives there with my friend Molly: