So this Wednesday, I wanted to share an experience I have already had, but that I would do again in a heartbeat.
Cage Diving with Great White Sharks off of Seal Island in South Africa.
If anyone else watches Shark Week as religiously as I do, then I’m pretty sure you’ve seen this couple…Chris and Monique of Apex Predators in False Bay, South Africa.
They are the foremost experts on South African Great White Sharks and Chris’ photos of the breaching Great Whites have been featured everywhere from newspapers to National Geographic, and their expeditions have been a feature on Shark Week’s segment “Air Jaws” (1 and 2) and BBC’s ‘Planet Earth’.
You can watch a YouTube copy of the BBC ‘Planet Earth: Great White Shark Attack‘ special with Chris Fallows to get an idea of our expedition…here.
Basically, these specific Great White sharks in this region exhibit an extremely rare predatory behavior in which they actually BREACH, lifting their whole body out of the water, to catch their seal prey. A behavior they learned from chasing seals who would jump out of the water to catch fish off of fisherman’s lines.
April through September is prime viewing for this spectacular phenomenon, and I was lucky enough to experience it last April with my dad, another adrenaline junkie with an appreciation for all creatures that are extremely dangerous and majestic.
We decided to go with the best..and chose Apex Predators, which was surprisingly inexpensive for a day long dive with about 5 others excluding Chris himself and his crew.
The trip was roughly $200 per person, and for the experience…it was MORE than worth it.
The trip started at dawn, and included watching sharks attack seals during feeding time, breakfast on the boat, and then the good stuff…
getting into a steel cage and becoming a Great White shark magnet.
On the trip with my dad, the morning started off with a lot of predatory activity. We witnessed two attacks and one on a seal “dummy” in the water (pictured above). Chris was incredibly knowledgeable and entertaining, which made the trip extremely personal.
We then anchored near the island while Chris chummed the water with the largest most disgusting pieces of Tuna I had ever seen, but was careful not to feed the sharks, because then it would become habitual for them.
When Chris asked who wanted to go first into the cage, I jumped at the chance.
My dad and I got into the frigid waters, with the cage top open…something I found extremely disconcerting considering I knew full well these sharks jump out of the water…but Chris didn’t seem so concerned…so I decided not to worry either.
Within a minute, my dad and I saw an enormous, gray, graceful creature emerge out of the abyss…gliding as if without effort through the icy waters right towards our cage.
I grabbed the edge of the cage and then fear for my fingers after seeing the hundreds of sharp teeth, peeking out of the shark’s mouth like stalagmites…
The Shark itself was bigger than a Cape Town Minibus (van), yet it moved so lightly through the water, gliding past us and disappearing back into the dark waters.
We saw three other Great White Sharks within the span of 10 minutes, all coming within 20 feet of our paralyzed, adrenaline filled bodies, suspended in fear….like mice dangling from an entertained young boy for his pet snake to eat…a perfect shark buffet…
Two guys on vacation also got into the cage after us and one shark literally rammed head first into their cage, slamming it into the boat!
Overall, a successful day in Cape Town…
Chris and Monique focus heavily on conservation and the study of Great White Sharks and their predatory habits.
Click Here for more info on Chris Fallow’s, his work and his expeditions…
For accommodations in Cape Town….
I cannot say enough of the place my parents stayed (and I stayed for a few nights)….The Atlanticview hotel in Camps Bay.
Featured in Fine Living Magazine and even by the Guardian, the Atlantic view is a surprisingly still to be discovered hotel treasure.
The hotel is a bit of a splurge, but offers 50% off of normal room rates during low season…which is coincidentally prime time for shark viewing!
Camps Bay is the Malibu of Cape Town, and this boutique luxury hotel was a great find. Tucked into the mountain and close to the shops, boulevard, fantastic restaurants and beaches of Camps Bay, the Atlanticview was a personal hotel experience like no other.
With two infinity pools overlooking the Atlantic, views of Table Mountain, amazing suites, a gym, en-suite fully stocked kitchens, free breakfast in bed, included cocktail hour with hors-d’oeurves and a wine tasting at sunset, free wireless, and AMAZING STAFF…this place was a dream.
The bathroom floors were even heated…sigh…
My parents were upgraded for free, and they even allowed me to stay there in a room despite the fact it was a couples-oriented hotel. The staff was simply incredible and knowledgeable.
My mom stayed for an extended period of time and really bonded with one of the staffers, Nabil, who went above and beyond the call of duty on every occasion to make sure we had everything at our fingertips, from personal transport by him when necessary, helping us arrange a safari in Sabi Sands, reservations at the best restaurants, and helping us find local spots…he was the bes
The owner, Greg, was incredibly helpful in our travels, while Andrich and Ashley who worked there also made our stay there unforgettable.
For more info on the Atlanticview Boutique Hotel…click here.
There is so much more to say about South Africa, but I am reserving all the goodies for more Wanderlust Wednesdays…so stay tuned!