Great White Shark Cage Diving: One of those things you think you’ll never do, plan to do at the end of your trip (if something goes wrong, at least you got to experience everything else first), and think you’ll chicken out on, once you get on the actual boat.
South Africa is the Great White capital of the world, and so when in Rome…blaa blaa. We were promptly picked up at our hotel at 4:45am, for the 2 hour drive to Gansbaai Harbor-where the Atlantic and Pacific collide, for our day of cage diving. We ended up paired with Brian McFarlane and his fabulous crew, unknown to us at the time, but somewhat of a Great White legend and expert, seen on Dirty Jobs and National Geographic among others. I would highly recommend his company for diving in Gansbaai: Great White Cage Diving.
We signed our life away, dressed in our waterproof orange suits, boarded the boat, and off we went. I felt so much more comfortable than I thought I would, because you really do not have to go far out to sea at all. Being able to see land, was a comfort for me. The waters, which were calm, also another selling point. It was so cold, and a little drizzly, with water temps around 48 degrees-so a bit of a shock when it floods your wet-suit I’d decided based on how cold I was that I was content just viewing the great whites from the boat (aka chickening out)…but seriously, when will I ever do this again? So I volunteered for the third group (Seth and I went individually so we could take pics of each other’s experience).
Once it’s your turn, you drop down into the cage (with about 5 others), and hang on (in very specific areas so your arms and legs are not outside the cage). Spotters on the top of the boat chumming and using decoys, will let you know when a shark is coming, and they’ll tell you “Down, Down! To the left! Down! To the right!” so you know where to look. And then they just sail on by, majestic as ever. Really not as scary as you’d think, and totally awesome animals. Unbelievable. There is no adrenaline rush comparable to a 4 meter 1 ton great white, thrashing against your boat!I still cannot believe we did it. I’d even do it again! Completely worth it, and a lifelong memory for sure.
This experience had special significance for me, as it also happened to be my 6 year diagnosis anniversary with type 1 diabetes. If diabetes has taught me anything, it’s to seize every moment, which I try really hard to do, great white shark cage diving, included 🙂