I have quite the laundry list of bucket list items. Who doesn’t? My list includes some life-risking things such as sky-diving, Devil’s pool, swimming with whales and cage-diving with sharks. I finally got to check that last one off in Cape Town, South Africa. Cape Town is known for being the home of shark alley, where shark week is filmed each year. Gansbaai Bay is where the sharks come to play. Hence, why Cape Town has some of the best Great White cage diving out there.
We started our day early with a drive to Gansbaai Bay. It’s about a 2 hours from Cape Town, but it was so early we were happy for the extra sleep. We chose to dive with the company Marine Dynamics. When putting your life on the line with sharks, it’s necessary to make sure the company you use is 100% safe in their practices. We were given a poncho, a life jacket and set off for the boat.
Let me tell you what.. The boat ride was BUMPY. Fair warning. Rough seas. It’s a short boat ride out to the shallows, where the sharks spend their afternoons. Before we got on the boat, we were warned that the chances of seeing a great white were unlikely. Last year, 2017, a group of Orcas teamed up to kill a few Great Whites. In turn, the great whites let off a scent to others in the area to stay away. Great Whites were spotted on and off in the area throughout 2017 and 2018, but the Marine Dynamics team hadn’t seen a Great White in the area since November 2018. Fear not, there are other sharks in the bay. 10-12 foot Bronze Whalers flock to the boats in numbers.
The water was chilly, so we put on our wet suits and waited our turn for the cage. Shark cage “diving” can be considered a loose term. It’s more like snorkeling or short bits under water. You’re wearing a snorkeling mask that covers your eyes and nose. The cage has a few bars – one for you to stand on and two to hold onto. You’re in the cage with 6-8 other folks. The guides chum the waters and in come the sharks. At one point, I think 8 bronze whalers were swarming our boat, along with a very large manta ray. The guides yell “DOWN” at various times to signal to you to go under to watch the sharks. You can see from the pictures, they came VERY close for comfort.
All in all, I highly recommend shark cage diving. Getting up and close with these beautiful creatures is a once in a lifetime experience. Even though we didn’t see a great white, it was worth it. Although, I can’t imagine seeing those great white teeth coming so close to my face. Maybe I’m glad we didn’t see one 😉 Press play below to see some sharkies in action.