Cape Town Diaries: Great White Shark Diving

October 12, 2013
When planning our trip to South Africa, the #1 thing my friend wanted to do was to go shark diving.  I was a little wary about going and wrote a post about the pros and cons here.  Eventually I just decided to go because I would have probably regretted not going more than if I went and didn't like it.

We got picked up from our hotel in Cape Town and headed on down to a place called Gansbaai where there are plenty of Great White Sharks and several companies that you can book cage shark diving through.

Our driver was nice and professional, but on the way there all of a sudden the passenger's window broke and glass was everywhere.  I almost sat up front, and I'm so glad that I didn't because there was a far greater possibility of getting injured.  I'll show you some pictures so you can see what I mean.  From where I was, I just ended up with pieces of glass in my hair and on my lap, but thankfully I wasn't hurt at all.  I did end up really sick the next day and pretty much for the rest of my trip.  I swear it was because I was ice cold for more than an hour from having the wind blow on me since we couldn't get the window replaced right away.   

When we arrived, we were given instructions on how to work our life jackets and got talked to about safety.  We headed out on the boat and my friend and I got seated right by the chum (pictured below), which was used to attract the sharks.  It didn't smell the greatest and there were lots of flies, which I could tolerate at first, but once we got out into the water, I couldn't even go near that without getting sick.

As you can see, my pal really loved sitting so close to the chum.

There were other groups out cage shark diving as well.

The volunteers on board started chumming the water.  This was the last picture I was able to take because I started feeling incredibly seasick!  I have been on a ton of boats before and only ever got sick once before, but being out on this boat was kind of like torture for me!  The two other people I went with also felt sick, and so were others that came in different groups.  People were puking on board and over the side of the boat...This one volunteer was so nice to me--she got me a lollipop, which I guess is supposed to help with seasickness and instructed me to look at the horizon.  I was so sick that I couldn't even get my wet suit on properly.  She basically did it for me and I felt pretty embarrassed and like an invalid!  Since I didn't get my wet suit on until later because of feeling queasy, I was the last one to get into the cage, which was attached to the side of the boat.  Once I got into the water, I actually felt a little better, which was surprising since we were basically floating around in chum.  If you are claustrophobic in the slightest sense, I would NOT recommend cage shark diving!  I'm not claustrophobic at all, but even I felt a little uncomfortable being in that confined space.  At the top of the cage, there are bars for you to hold onto.  Your head is above the water until they call, "SHARK!"  Then, you're supposed to grab onto a bar at the bottom and hold yourself down so that you can get a closer view of the sharks.  (Goggles are also provided.)  I felt way too chicken to go all the way down because the volunteers yelled at my friend for accidentally grabbing the wrong bar.  We were constantly told to only grab the top bar or the one on the inside of the cage because otherwise a shark might get our fingers.  I didn't really understand this logic because our toes were hanging off the edge of a bar directly into the open water!!  When I went underwater to look at the sharks, I always held onto the top bars and I could see just fine.  We did see a few sharks up close and personal.  

My friend took a video of the experience, so I'll let you see for yourselves!  It was his first time ever using a camera underwater and it was kind of terrifying being under there, so please excuse the choppiness!

The bad news for me is that the seasickness never went away, and I pretty much felt terrible the whole time we were on board, which was ALL DAY.  When we got back, they had us wait around for awhile and showed us a video that they took of our experience to try to get us to buy a copy.  Finally, I started feeling better, but then we were served soup that looked exactly like chum!!  Hahaha...

I'm linking up with Bonnie @ A Compass Rose for Travel Tuesday.

Would you ever go cage shark diving? 
4 comments on "Cape Town Diaries: Great White Shark Diving"
  1. Wow, what an experience! I'm sorry you felt so sick all day! I imagine I'd get seasickness, too.
    It's funny, I was just discussing cage diving with my friend! I think I'd like to do it.


    1. My friend took some medication beforehand, and he just felt a little sick. I think that really helped him. I should have taken some, too, but I didn't think I'd feel the way I did.

  2. Kudos to you because you were sick and you still did it! That's brave. : )

    Louisa @ My Family & Abruzzo

    1. I figured that I was out on the boat already and had to pay either way, so I was determined! I felt so much less seasick in the cage than I did on the boat, but being in that cage was also frightening!