Shark Cage Diving Experience with White Shark Ecoventures
This is Melinda's account of her experience,
I attended a Shark Cage Diving Tour with White Shark Ecoventures, accompanied by our guide Wiehann Myburgh, our skipper Hansie Van Der Merwe, and our crew members Lukas and Alfred.
White Shark Ecoventures was established in 1992, and they offer daily shark diving and sighting tours off Gansbaai, which is about a two hour drive from Cape Town. The company arranges pick up from various spots around Cape Town. I chose White Shark Ecoventures because of their conservation efforts. They work in close association with the South African National Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds. The company rescues oil stricken and injured penguins (and other birds) from Dyer Island. The crew is trained to administer medicine on-board to sick birds, the birds are then transported to a rehabilitation facility in Cape Town.
After our pick up in Cape Town we traveled to Gansbaai and boarded our boat in Kleinbaai harbour. After a short trip out to our anchorage point in “Shark Alley” between Dyer Island and Geyser Rock, five divers at a time were lowered into the steel cage in the open water.
The crew attracts the Great Whites to the boat by "chumming" into the water, and they keep the sharks around the boat by using tuna heads as bait. By law shark cage diving companies are only allowed to use 23kg of bait which is approximately 7-8 tuna heads.
I was surprised at how calm the sharks were. They would swim right next to the cage, and at one point I actually looked a great white in the eye, and the shark just continued to swim by. Our guide Wiehann Myburgh said the reason sharks never try to attack the cage is because they don’t see the humans in the cage as being alive. He said that the metal surrounding the divers gives them this impression, even though we are moving around inside the cage.
During our dive we spotted five individual sharks. They were all juvenile sharks ranging in size from 2.5 to 3 meters. The younger sharks appear much more inquisitive than the older sharks, possibly due to their inexperience.
Overall I really enjoyed my experience shark cage diving. Our guide Wiehann Myburgh was very knowledgeable. Shark cage diving changed my view of great whites. I used to hold the common belief that sharks are predatory creatures that will eat anything or anyone that crosses their path. I now have a different view of sharks, I now believe they are just inquistive and they are often misunderstood.
"White Shark Diving and Marine Conservation." Great White Shark Diving South Africa. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 July 2012. http://www.white-shark-diving.com/conservation.htm