The diving company: http://www.sharkdivingunlimited.com/
A Once In A Lifetime Experience Cage-Diving with Great White Sharks in South Africa
Despite the shark stereotypes (yes, I was constantly thinking of ‘Jaws’), seeing Great Whites in their element, at eye-level, both challenges what you think of them and leaves you in awe. Here’s my 3 takeaways from cage-diving with Great White Sharks in Gansbai, South Africa.
Take the motion sickness medication. You will need it!
The world’s largest predatory fish doesn’t show up on cue. You have to be patient and wait. And as you wait, your boat is rocking. TAKE MOTION SICKNESS MEDICATION. As directed, I took motion sickness medicine the night before and the morning of, and I was so grateful I did. Even though you are in a bay (and can see land), the rocking of the boat is REAL. Almost everyone on our boat got sick, except for those who took medication as recommended by the boat operator. Even then, there was a point in the trip where I wondered why I decided to do this! And surprisingly, it had nothing to do with being in the water with massive sharks.
Find a notable operator and dont be distracted by glitz – go with experience..
Experience and passion over the fancy boats makes all the difference. I found Mike Rutzen on Instagram of all places, and we just happened to get linked-up with his company when 2 spots opened up on his boat. Routzen works to bring attention to shark conservation and he’s done some incredible work over the years to protect these amazing fish. Shark Diving Unlimited, did not have the fanciest boats, but his team clearly knew the water and the sharks. Plus, I felt good supporting a company that actually cared about sharks versus simply running a tour guide operation. Of all the other boats out in the bay that morning, I think our boat looked the least impressive, but we were one of the few that actually saw the sharks. It would be a terribly disappointing experience to spend the time, money, and energy to travel to the location, get suited up, and not see any sharks at all, but it can happen. Sharks are wild and unpredictable by nature. You have to realize that is a real possibility they don’t show up at all. And if seeing Great Whites is something you absolutely want to do, I’d build in 2 days into a travel itinerary to do it just in case you don’t see them the first trip. Also, ask around a few days ahead of time about where the shark sightings have been and where to go.
What you won’t see?
The Great White Shark give birth. No one has every witnessed it in nature and no Great White has ever survived in captivity. I learned so much about these incredible creatures on this excursion. And although I still don’t love swimming in open water (and I am not sure I ever will), this adventure instilled in me a truly unique respect the beauty, grace and power of sharks. And if nothing else, it make me realize how little they are interested in us!