Visit With the Apex Predator

So we finally took the plunge. 

After a night of little rest, waking up at 4am, traversing 120 kilometers, and finally having a cup of coffee, we took the plunge. When I say “take the plunge” I mean hop into the murky waters with the apex predator of the ocean, the great white shark. 

We were on the water by 7am, rocking with each and every wave we come across. The waves are big and they jolt everybody on board. We all just seem to look at each other with blank stares, what are we headed to? The clouds are gray. The chances of rain are looking quite high. Is this the perfect setting for a crazy face-to-face experience with a massive shark? I think it is.

We finally find the hot spot and the deck-hands get to work on reeling in the eye candy of the day. We all head up to the top of the boat to have our final speech on safety and what’s about to happen. I’m barely paying attention as I’m looking for big movements in the water, and I can barely stay on my feet with all of the rocking we are experiencing. Now, here comes the bit of rain. Oh it feels bone-chilling mixed with this arctic chill we have.

Everybody rushes to wetsuit up. I stay put as mayhem pursues downstairs. I choose to soak in the setting, the bustling waters beneath me, the mammoth predators somewhere in this vast blue ocean, and the cold rain tapping at my face. It’s peaceful.

Peace is suspended though when I go back down to find a wetsuit and people are going crazy as we see our first sucker come up to play. I quickly grab a suit and slip it on quickly (not so quick as this suit is so tight!) in order to get out and see some of the people submerse themselves with the shark. Needless to say, I’m not in the first group, which is fine with me.

The sun starts to come out beyond the gray clouds. The rain stopped. The sky is turning blue. This is turning out to be a rather nice day out on this boat. Now it’s still movin’ and groovin’ around, as one or two girls are now facing over the edge and letting the breakfast go. Maybe that isn’t so pleasant but I find a way to ignore it and focus on keeping my stomach in-line. 

New group, step up. Here I am, last one to make it into the cage and the water is freezing. No wonder they have you wear these suits. The beauty of it is, once the water inside the suit warms up with your body temperature, it’s all gravy. The water is where you want to be at that point. I hop in, dive all the way under and look eagerly for a shark. Are you still around here buddy?

Within a few seconds, I could see one in the distance. It’s headed straight for the tuna head. My goodness, this thing is massive. It’s like one big muscle swimming through the water. It pays no attention to us in the cage. The gigantic animal only wants to know what that tuna head taste like. It’s docile, barely opening its mouth for the tuna. Nothing fierce about this thing at all.

After having the great white pass by our cage a few times, we finally get out in order to let another group down into the water. I watch from the top of the boat because that’s where I can see the best. Just as we are wrapping up our day, the shark finally pursues the tuna head with a little ferocity and snags it out of the water. It comes down with the tuna in mouth directly in front of the cage, and whips around to hit the cage as it swims away with its snack. I was extremely jealous to miss that energy transfer from shark to cage. How awesome!

All in all, good day. When in South Africa, one must see the ocean’s apex predator. It’s well worth the time.