5 Star Shark Cage Diving

Just two and a half hours’ drive from Cape Town, you’ll find a company called Marine Dynamics, situated in Kleinbaai… the hub for the Great White Sharks. Upon arrival, my two colleagues and I received a very warm welcome from the Marine Dynamics team and they directed us to the restaurant where a delicious breakfast was ready for us. Kelly, the Marine Biologist from Australia, then briefed us on the company and the work they are involved in. She was very enthusiastic about the work they do and it all resonated in the manner in which she delivered the information to us. She ensured us that we would be safe and there was no need to be afraid. Apparently the most dangerous part of our day was our drive to Kleinbaai!! LOL

Marine Dynamics logo

As we left the restaurant, we started feeling nervous, but quickly ‘convinced’ one another that “we got this”! The crew members assisted us with our life jackets and water jackets before heading out to the boat, Slashfin that was awaiting us for our diving experience. Slashfin was purposely built for shark cage diving. This means it contains similar qualities of the Great White Shark such as “its sleekness, elegance, power and steadiness in order to Dyer-Island-Cruises-Logoenable the boat to slice through water and to endure extreme sea conditions” (Marine Dynamics, 2015). Off we sailed and along the way we experienced great views of the sunrise as well as different birds flying over the boat, pure magic!

IMG_2897

Quickly we arrived at our diving location which was within close proximity to Dyer Island that is renowned for its Cape Fur Seal colony, with approximately 60 000 seals on this Island.

 

With our wet suits on, it was time to decide who would get into the cage first. As soon as Kelly had suggested we should get in first, my immediate response was “yes, of course!”, but my colleague Sofie said “no ways, we’ll rather be part of the second group”. She sounded a little frightened… I must add. While waiting for our opportunity to get into the cage, sea sickness got the best of me and thus I was unable to stand upright. While my other colleague Thami, and Sofie were enjoying watching the other people and their 20150513_SF_Trip1_KBaker_IMG_00220fearful faces, I sat in a corner trying to be strong. After drinking a glass of water, I then told myself, “shake it off Nela and get into that cage!”

20150513_SF_Trip1_KBaker_IMG_00062 (2)

We did it!!! The water was extremely cold, but THAT was the least of our concerns. We had roughly 10 shark encounters with one female and the others were all juvenile male sharks. What an amazing experience to see those wild ocean creatures up close! Once one of the sharks slammed into the cage with its tail and we all jumped backwards as we were frightened from the sudden knock. It was simultaneously scary and awesome! After 45 minutes in the cold water, we were more than ready to warm up. I remained at the front of Slashfin for our return trip as the sea sickness crept up on me again. According to Thami and Sofie, viewing the sharks from the top deck was awesome! Needless to say, I was a tad bit jealous as I could not make it up there. However, the Marine Dynamics team took really good care of me and I appreciated their efforts.

IMG_1147

Before heading back towards the harbour, our skipper Pieter steered the boat towards Dyer Island, for a close up of the Cape Fur Seal colony. Upon our return to the Great White House, warm soup was waiting for us in the restaurant, which was really delicious after being in the cold for four hours. During that period we were able to watch the video of our experience, which was so surreal!

 

Before departing to Cape Town, the team also introduced us to their Penguin and Bird Sanctuary, which opened February 2015 as a marine bird rehabilitation centre for diseased, injured, oiled, abandoned and displaced marine birds and African penguins.

20150513_SF_Trip1_KBaker_IMG_00230

Until our next adventure! Nela20150513_SF_Trip1_KBaker_IMG_00002