Cage Diving with the Great White Shark

Posted in Africa | September 9, 2010 | Comment Now

Ever wondered what it would feel like to be underwater, in the deep blue sea, and have a Great White Shark along your side? If you just said ‘yes’ to this answer, then let me first of all tell you that you have some seriously ‘wild’ sense of imagination going there! Secondly, I may have good news for you. This desire of yours, to be underwater with a Great White Shark may not be far from reality any more.

Cage diving with the Great White Shark may be a relatively new entrant into the adventure sports arena in South Africa, but it sure seems to have a lot of operators jumping at the opportunity.

Being underwater with the Great White Shark has often been equated with being as exciting as watching the Mountain Gorilla in its real and natural environment.

Where Can I go Diving with Great White Sharks?
  • Dyer Island:
    This is known as capital of the Great White Shark diving world. The stretch of water which lies between Dyer Island and Gaansbai is known as the ‘shark alley’. Gaansbai is said to lie around 100 miles away from Cape Town and is said to be a 2 hour drive from there. Gaansbai is also just a half an hour drive away from what can be called the best spot for whale-watching in the whole of South Africa – Hermanus.

  • Mossel Bay:
    There is one lone Great White Shark Diving operator who operates out of Mossel bay and is known to give reasonable rates.
  • False Bay:
    There are a couple of operators who operate out of False Bay, which is located pretty close to Cape Town. The operators in False Bay will require you to have some sort of basic certification in scuba diving; and they’re ready to offer it to you on site.
How does it Work?

The operator boat will take you out to sea and then the crew will try to lure the sharks by giving them some tasty livers and fish heads. This entire process is dubbed as ‘chumming and baiting’. Once the sharks begin to circle the boat, it’s time for you to hop into the cave which is specifically designed for this sort of diving.

The Design of the Diving Cage:

This entire concept of having a diving cage can be credited to Rodney Fox, who is an Australian diver. Rodney ended up unintentionally become bait for some shark while he was spear fishing in Australia. Once he got sewn back into the shape he possessed earlier, he decided to turn his attention to studying the animal that had created havoc in his life. In order to avoid the whole idea of being bait again or undergoing an attack, he designed the first ever observation cage that could be used underwater.

The cage is designed to be able to withstand any bites from the Great White Shark. The truth of the matter, however, is that there have never ever been any reports of the sharks attacking the cage. Being inside the cage will give the diver a very good view of the great white beast. These cages are created using 12 mm of galvanized steel.

Easy to Use:
In most cases, you do not need to specifically know how to scuba dive in order to experience this adventure. You could know just snorkeling and that should do. False Bay is one of the sites that specifically ask for scuba diving as a pre-requisite. The shark cages will be fitted with tubes that go up back to the boat; and this means that the divers would have to just suck on these tubes to get that breath of fresh air while they watch the breathtakingly beautiful Great White Sharks.

High Capacity Cages:
Cages are built in different sizes; but most of them are built for twos or fours. Some might even accommodate up to 6 people. So this would mean that this sort of an experience could turn into a family experience.

Close to the Exit Point:
This is perhaps another point that makes the whole experience a little more reassuring. All Great White Sharks are surface feeders, so it needs the cage to float and not go too deep. This would mean that it is easy for the divers to be in touch with the crew members on the boat; and they can be pulled up to safety in the scenario of things going a tad awry.

How Long does the Adventure Last?

The dives are generally known to last for 10-15 minute durations; and if the weather is on your side, you could try pushing in a few dives in each day. Although you might be diving only for 10-15 minutes, the entire trip could take up to around 4-5 hours. The first hour is generally spent playing out the entire chumming and baiting activity.

Viewing Great White Sharks:

Alright, so you’re not a big fan of getting deep down and dirty; and you’d prefer just getting some great shots of the big white beast! Then you could have a go at some of the special platforms which have been created on the boat; and these give some spectacular views of the sharks, especially when the whole chumming and baiting activity is in play. Given the fact that this species is a surface feeder, you’ll be able to get some great shots of those 16 rows of teeth.

Leave a Reply

CommentLuv badge