The Great White Shark (Carcharodon Carcharias) is the most feared creature on the planet, beautifully streamlined to slip through the ocean with the minimum of effort. Its immense size, jet black eyes, row upon row of razor sharp teeth and extendable jaws make this the ultimate super predator and the ultimate adventure experience for tourists.
For an adrenaline rush, the safest way to get up close and personal with White Sharks in their natural environment is Shark Cage Diving. White Shark Projects, located in Gansbaai near Cape Town South Africa is the most successful White Shark Dive Organisation in the world and has logged more contacts with Great White Sharks than anyone else globally year on year.
Tourism Tattler spoke to Charmaine Beukes, Sales and Marketing Director at White Shark Projects (WSP), to find out what a cage dive experience entails.
How the shark diving day begins
“We will collect you from Cape Town or Hermanus and take you on a scenic drive to ‘White Shark Lodge’, our home base in Kleinbaai, to enjoy a delicious continental breakfast. While eating, we’ll discuss current sightings, and explain the indemnities, wet suits and equipment.
“After the meal and briefing, we’ll head off to board our custom-built 36 ft, 4-tonne white shark dive catamaran – ‘Shark Team’. We limit her 30 passenger capacity to 20 plus crew to ensure your comfort and viewing pleasure throughout your adventure experience.
“You get to meet one of our intrepid skippers, a qualified paramedic, a Dive Master and our friendly crew and enjoy a short talk on shark anatomy and behaviour.
“We explain how White Shark Projects works with the sharks in the area and how you will spend the next couple of hours diving and viewing these wondrous predators in their natural habitat.
As the day unfolds
“You are fully briefed on all procedures and the action begins as our crew ‘chums’ the cruise area and you wait with bated breath for your initial glimpse of the first shark fin.
“Sharks are usually wary at first and we wait a while for them to settle and then lower the dive cage. Our first guests enter the cage (takes 4 – 5 people) and spend about 20 minutes face to face with the sharks!
“We will work with individual sharks and you can enjoy topside viewing during your wait as shark activity is often close to the surface. In fact Great Whites are also known for their ‘spy hopping’ – breaching right out of the water in pursuit of prey ! Topside viewing can yield a lot of those action shots !
Lunch and refreshments
“Our lunch boxes are hearty, offering a variety of fresh sandwiches, crisps, sweets and assorted soft drinks and juices for you to enjoy at leisure whilst on board enjoying the fine South African weather.
“On our return to the harbour we treat you to tea and scones at the lodge giving you a chance to regroup and share the day’s experiences after which you will be driven back to your original meeting point.
“We provide all necessary diving and safety equipment for you to enjoy your cage diving experience in South Africa in comfort and security. We only ask that you bring suntan lotion, cap and sunglasses, a warm jersey/jacket and of course, a swimming suit and towel.
If you know you are prone to motion sickness or even if you are unsure if you are, we advise you to take medication before we depart so as not to spoil your adventure! And the last tip – don’t forget your camera!” says Beukes.