It’s common amongst us humans to have mixed feelings when it comes to “sharks”. I myself had my doubts about them, mainly because they look like they are constantly hungry and you are on the menu.
But I recently had a change of heart towards my friends from the ocean. I was privileged enough to get an experience of a lifetime: I went Shark Cage Diving.
Outline of the day's activities
The day starts with an early pick up in Cape Town at your accommodation between 4 and 6 in the morning. We then had a 2-hour drive to Gansbaai; once we got there we enjoyed a lovely breakfast and a briefing about the dive. We got into our diving gear, which consisted of a wetsuit, goggles, and boots (the company provides all the gear you need – you just wear your swimming costume). The water can be anywhere between 12º C and 20º C, so the wetsuit and boots help you keep warm.
The cage is attached to the side of the boat, so 8 persons at a time can get in the cage and go below the water to see the sharks as they swim by. Visibility is usually 6 - 8 meters underwater. Those not in the cage still have a great view from the boat deck of the passing sharks.
Snacks, drinks and hot chocolate were served on board to the guests, which is a nice addition. Once everyone had seen the sharks more than a couple of times, we headed back to the shore. Before we got on the bus again to head back home they served us with some nice hot soup and some bread to warm us back up. All in all, we were out on the water for about 3 hours.
But the sharks weren’t the only thing that stood out in this experience. What also caught my eye and stole my heart was the brilliant staff of the shark diving company Marine Dynamics. Every single person who I came into contact with was informative, helpful, professional and just down right friendly. What really stole my heart was the sincere passion and commitment these people have towards their job and I could see that every person took pride in his/her position whatever it may be.
I am Franzio Fortuin, up close and personal with the great white of the ocean.