According to Eleanor Roosevelt you're meant to "Do one thing every day that scares you". When working a normal nine to five job that can sometimes be a bit difficult to do, so whenever I travel I always try and do something that's a bit adventurous/scary. I've sky-dived, bungee jumped, petted tigers & cheetahs, ridden elephants, ridden helicopters & hot-air balloons, jet-skied, parasailed. The list goes on. HOWEVER I have, well up until recently, had never cage dived with sharks before. When I visited Cape Town last year I booked myself and a friend onto a Great White Shark Cage Dive but the weather wasn't too good and the sea swells were "too dangerous" for the boat to sail in so ultimately it was cancelled. As the weather is better in April, I was in much better luck this year and I was able to see the sharkies up close and personal albeit missing my friend from my previous trip.
As I was flying solo this time around I had a lovely driver pick me up from my hotel at 5:30am to transport me to Simon's Town which is where the boat was docked. At the time of pickup it was pitch black, but as we set sail the sun decided to wake up and greet us with it's presence.
We then had an early morning meet and greet session with a pod of dolphins.
As we sailed closer to the dive sight, the dolphins rather wisely disappeared though.
The skipper took us to Seal Island, which is home to roughly 60,000 Cape fur seals. All of these are up for grabs on the Great White Sharks' menu as they circle the island waiting for their prey to slip up and make a deadly last splash in the water.
After sailing very close to the island with a few rogue waves we had our first casualty of the day. And no it wasn't a seal. It was a poor English woman who became sea sick and threw up her Frosties over the side of the boat that she had eaten for breakfast that morning. Delightful to watch and listen to. On a more positive note, it was then time to anchor the boat and staff briefed us on the cage dive. Three simple rules were shared. Number 1 - keep your hands inside of the cage. Number 2 - keep your feet inside of the cage. Number 3 - enjoy. When it came to asking for any volunteers to go first, I obviously put my hand up like an eager school boy. As I was on my own and you had to go in the cage in pairs, I had to share the cage with an old French man who didn't speak a word of English. C'était parfait!
My dive attire was very flattering...
said nobody. Chuckles were had all around at my expense.
This lovely smelling fish guts was thrown in to the sea...
by this guy to bring the sharkies to the party.
As the sharkies turned up...
I took, what could have been, my final selfie.
I then entered this very cosy cage...
whilst these big fella's swam around me.
And just to give you guys at home a view of what I saw, here with the help of my underwater camera, you can see Jaws and his mates a bit more up close and personal.
After a couple of hours out at sea, with people taking it in turns to go down in the cage, we then retreated back to shore, passing many little fishing boats along the way. Today's life lesson was that sharks aren't really as ferocious as they seem. Maybe if you pissed them off, then they'd bite a limb off to recompensate, but otherwise they seem a pretty chilled member of the aquatic family. Another thing ticked of the bucket list.